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How Six Sigma Can Help ITIL Service Level Management
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Written by Tony Jacowski   

Over the past few years, the ITIL has helped many IT companies to form long-lasting and fruitful working relationships with their customers through the use of highly effective tools such as Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Operational Level Agreements (OLAs). Both these tools are quite effective, but the problem is that they deliver the desired results only when they are properly implemented. The inability to use the tools in the prescribed manner can render them completely useless - and in the worst case scenario, can even lead to conflicts between the IT company and its customers.

This is why it becomes necessary to implement proven process improvement methodologies such as Six Sigma that help in deriving the maximum benefits from a proposed change in business processes, which in this case are the SLAs and OLAs.

Why Six Sigma?

It is necessary to utilize Six Sigma concepts and methodologies while drafting SLAs and OLAs because most business processes that are in use are quite complex. It is very difficult to predict the variations in outcome based solely on personal experience, past records, or the gut feelings of the manager.

Since SLAs and OLAs are based on quality requirements of the customers, it makes sense to use a data driven approach such as Six Sigma to make changes in a given business process. This way, IT companies can ensure that the outcome of the proposed changes finds favor with the requirements of customers as well as the promises made by the company itself.

Using Advanced Six Sigma Simulation Tools

If past data related to a business process is available, then an IT company can easily make a few calculations based on exact customer requirements and draft the SLA and OLA. However, the same process becomes quite difficult when the SLAs and OLAs are to be drafted based on a customer requirement that would compel the company to design and use a completely new business process. This is where IT companies need Six Sigma the most, because it helps in selecting the most appropriate solution from available options.

Armed with advanced simulation tools, Six Sigma can easily test the feasibility of the proposed business process. If there is more than a single design proposal, then also it will not be a problem because the Six Sigma simulation tools can easily identify which design will offer the maximum benefits, both to the company and the customer. Once this is done, the company will have no problems whatsoever in drafting the SLAs and OLAs because after the simulation, it is quite certain that the proposed changes or the newly proposed process design will deliver the desired results as specified in the two agreements.

It is not necessary to contest the effectiveness of Six Sigma in ITIL Service Level Management simply because it is something that is common knowledge nowadays. For evidence, you just have to look at the number of IT companies that have successfully implemented Six Sigma alongside ITIL and are reaping benefits such as substantial increase in clientele, customer satisfaction levels, and most importantly - profitability.

Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solutions - Six Sigma Online ( http://www.sixsigmaonline.org ) offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.

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