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Improve IT-Business Alignment Through an Internal SLA

Understand business requirements, clarify current capabilities, and enable strategies to close service level gaps.

  • The business is rarely satisfied with IT service levels, yet there is no clear definition of what is acceptable.
  • Dissatisfaction with service levels is often based on perception. Your uptime might be four 9s, but the business only remembers the outages.
  • IT is left trying to hit a moving target with a limited budget and no agreement on where services levels need to improve.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Business leaders have service level expectations regardless of whether there is a formal agreement. The SLA process enables IT to manage those expectations.
  • Track current service levels and report them in plain language (e.g. hours and minutes of downtime, not “how many 9s” which then need to be translated) to gain a clearer mutual understanding of current versus desired service levels.
  • Use past incidents to provide context (how much that hour of downtime actually impacted the business) in addition to a business impact analysis to define appropriate target service levels based on actual business need.

Impact and Result

Create an effective internal SLA by following a structured process to report current service levels and set realistic expectations with the business. This includes:

  • Defining the current achievable service level by establishing a metrics tracking and monitoring process.
  • Determining appropriate (not ideal) business needs.
  • Creating an SLA that clarifies expectations to reduce IT-business friction.

Improve IT-Business Alignment Through an Internal SLA Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should create an internal SLA, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

3. Identify target service levels and create the SLA

Create a living document that aligns business needs with IT targets by discovering the impact of your current service level offerings through a conversation with business peers.

Improve IT-Business Alignment Through an Internal SLA preview picture

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Guided Implementation 1: Scope the pilot project
  • Call 1: Identify the goals of an SLA for your organization.
  • Call 2: SLA category overview and identification of the relevant SLA pilot project(s).
  • Call 3: Create the project charter by establishing roles and responsibilities as well as project scope.

Guided Implementation 2: Determine current service levels
  • Call 1: Review and document the current operational dependencies and maintenance procedures for applications/systems or services.
  • Call 2: Document each SLA metric and establish the parameters of a cost-effective system for metrics tracking and reporting.

Guided Implementation 3: Set target service levels and create the SLA
  • Call 1: Analyze findings from IT and business discussions.
  • Call 2: Create a roadmap to improve current service levels.
  • Call 3: Create a business-facing SLA that reflects the needs of the business.


Frank Trovato

David Xu

Andrew Sharp


  • Chris Dehart, Director of Cloud Framework and Process, HCA
  • Gerry Kestenberg, Director IT Central Services & Store Support, LS travel retail North America
  • Sandeep Sidhu, Manager, IT Service Delivery, Capilano University
  • Penn Richmann, Applications Manager, City of Boulder
  • Gail Koch, Support Manager, IT Service Management
  • One anonymous contributor
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