Why IT Service Level Management Fails (And How to Fix It)

Gap #4 – The “Internal Communications Gap”

Gap 4 comes from miscommunications between actual service delivery and external communications about service delivery to customers. Gap 4 occurs with inadequate communication between supplier and consumer; inadequate communication between advertising or service descriptions and what operations can actually deliver; differences in policies and procedures across branches or departments; and the general tendency to “over promise and under deliver.” Aside from resisting the temptation to “say anything” to please customers, Gap 4 resolution requires effective internal and external communications. An IT service catalog and a Service Portfolio Management effort go a long way to eliminating this gap. Service Strategy, and Continual Service Improvement address this gap.

Gap #5 – The “Service Perception Gap”

Gap 4 occurs when the service provided does not meet customer requirements for any reason. Service Operation directly addresses this gap.


Most IT managers would love to remove “99.99%”, “two minutes to repair”, “2.5 second response” and all the like from their SLA’s. Customers hate this techno-babble, too. They have no idea what the mumbo-jumbo means, but over the years, IT has trained them to think that is how you manage IT. The problem is neither group knows how to do a better job. The solution is to operate and deliver IT services within the SERVQUAL zone of tolerance.

SERVQUAL positions IT to finally achieve not only SLM, but also BSM. It offers a new way to measure IT, and at the same time, it provides a self-correcting system for knowing what to do, how much to do (when to stop), and why to do it—all in business terms. SERVQUAL presents a framework for utilizing all the other IT tools including CMMI, ITIL, PMI, etc. Finally, a framework (SERVQUAL) for choosing and using other tools, a framework for using the other frameworks BSM requires … Brilliant.

Oh, and it this is exactly what it takes to improve IT service quality, align with business and control costs, in other words, it just might be how to “do BSM.”

Most recently, Hank Marquis was the director of IT Service Management Consulting at Enterprise Management Associates based in Boulder, Colo. Marquis has more than 25 years of hands-on experience in IT operations, management, governance and operational frameworks. Visit his blog and podcasts at www.hankmarquis.info.