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Process Classification

The processes can be classified to structure service level agreements. The process classes shown in table [*] have been identified so far in past and current projects. Depending on the concrete service there may be some of the classes missing but the complexer the service the more of them are necessary.

Services must satisfy some quality criteria to reach a service level acceptable to the customer. For example, in the presented scenario the response time must be small enough to query information during the sales conversation. Management processes must reach reasonable service levels, too, e.g. the problem resolution process must fix an error in a certain amount of time.

Table: Process Classes
Class Description
provisioning installation of the service
usage normal usage of the service
operation service management of the provider
maintenance plannable activities needed for service sustainment
accounting collection and processing of accounting data
change management extension, cancellation and change of service elements
problem management notification, identification and resolution of service malfunction
SLA management management of SLA contents
customer care service reviews and user support
termination deinstallation of the service

Before the service can be used it must be installed. The provisioning class includes installation, test, acceptance and if necessary migration processes. Timeliness is an important quality parameter for processes in this class. Usage is the most common interaction. Service levels define for example the response time of the service.

Operation processes are invisible to the customer most of the time, but quality parameters are needed for them anyway, for example, the amount of time to detect a malfunction of a POP for ISDN calls is a quality criteria of service operation. As the service is usually at least limited during maintenance activities the customer wants to limit e.g. the time slot for maintenance. The method used for accounting purposes is an important fact because it influences the price of the service.

Minor changes of the service are not uncommon in long-term relationships. This could be the extension of resources or addition of further dealers in the presented scenario. Thus a change management is necessary. A well working problem management is a very important factor in outsourcing. Problems can be solved faster if both partners are working together smoothly using well defined processes.

Often the requirements of the customer change during lifetime of the SLA. If these changes are known but not the point in time it is useful to specify a SLA management with processes for announcing the need, negotiating and changing the SLA. Communication on strengths and weaknesses of the service, its quality or future optimizations should be some of the subjects of regular customer care contacts. Besides, a help desk or other support offers are usually necessary for complex services.

Termination of processes for a relationship usually need to be specified if equipment of the provider is installed at customer locations or if support of the provider is needed for migration to the following service.

Additionally, it is useful to define some basic processes which are needed in many classes. Such processes are for example documentation, feedback and escalation mechanisms.

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Next: Example of a Modeled Up: Combination of Workflows and Previous: Process Model
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