IT SLA Model for Tiered IT Support Services

An IT SLA model for tiered IT support services relies on the SLA requirements, application classifications, and the IT prioritization model. The creation of the IT SLA model is where you bring together the concepts covered in Designing a Software Support Model and Developing Tiered Software Support Services to create the framework of your IT support model for user support and incident management.

IT SLA Model

The IT SLA Model is what most IT departments know as their incident management process model or their help desk prioritization model. The IT SLA model works best when it is formalized and published to the user community. So I am including an SLA example here which you can use to build your own version.

IT SLA Model

In this IT SLA example I have used a 4 Tier support model. Depending on your preference, or your help desk software, you might refer to them using Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, or Tier 4 while others find it easier to refer to them using Premium, Enhanced, Standard, and Unsupported. And of course, there is the classic model of Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

Application Support Tier Classification

Click to Enlarge

Each support Tier has a corresponding set of defined service levels for IT support through the help desk usually defined by the hours of coverage for support. You can also add another column for on-call support or vendor support if it helps clarify things. If you need some IT support, check out Phoenix IT support or a company close to your local area.

I have also shown here how you can incorporate other SLA criteria for Application Availability and application Performance. Feel free to incorporate as many of the other support tier classification factors as needed. But the idea of this example is to keep it simple enough for a single page for the sake of clarity and transparency.

IT Prioritization

Prioritizing incidents and the incident management process are often the only components defined in the IT SLA model. In the SLA example shown here, I have included the IT Priority Level scheme along with the Time to Engage, Time to Repair, and the Success Target which can easily fit into any ITIL incident model.

Not everyone uses an ITIL incident model where the Priority is derived from the Impact and Urgency. When using Impact and Urgency the user provides the Urgency when reporting the incident and the help desk sets the Impact based on your classification criteria. Most help desk software today support Impact being set by default based on the category, type and item (CTI) classification of the incident. This approach also allows auto-populating and auto-assigning tickets from event streams.

Urgency Impact Priority

But, the ITIL incident model and IT prioritization model can be extended to incorporate the Support Tier of the service or application as a way of weighting the final IT Priority.

The reason for weighting based on Tier is to improve SLA performance when the help desk is allowed to set or change the default incident Impact value. When using the support Tier for weighting it is done programmatically in the help desk software and can be used to prevent over prioritization or under prioritization by the help desk by shifting the IT Priority schemes of each Tier.

IT Prioritization

If your help desk software doesn’t support using an Impact and Urgency method to set the IT Priority, you may be able to get by with a simple IT Priority Matrix and a little training of your help desk and support team staff. The IT Priority Matrix is pretty straight forward and is workable as long as your criteria for deciding the Impact are clear.

Of course you can adjust the values in the Priority Matrix to fit your organization as well as use terms like Urgent, High, Medium, and Low if you don’t like numbers. As long as the method you use is understandable and transparent to your users and supports your IT SLA goals it shouln’t matter.

This entry was posted in IT Performance Management and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to IT SLA Model for Tiered IT Support Services

  1. Gledhill D says:

    I wish to say that this post is great and includes almost all significant info. I’d like to look more posts like this.

  2. The Higher Ed CIO says:

    Thanks for the note. I am working n some more items for SLA related posts that I can also includes some templates with.

  3. Kailyn says:

    Thanks for the post!

  4. Dale Steudte says:

    In the above IT SLA Model, neither Tier 2 or 3 respond to “Urgent” priority level issues. What is the reasoning that they would not assist an “urgent” issue that is escalated from tier 1? If not them, then who (as you have Tier 4 availability relegated to as availabile)? Are you suggesting that “Urgent” is reclassified to “High” if escalated?

  5. The Higher Ed CIO says:

    If I understand your question I think you are mixing ideas. The SLA model, and the tiers, relate to the application or service not tiers in a multi-layer support model where issues are escalated between layers. Try your question using Premium, Enhanced, Standard, and Unsupported instead of the Tiers or Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze. IN this way the Tiers, or other names, are no different than the level of support you pay for from any vendor or service provider.

  6. Man Pham says:

    thank for the post ^^, it is useful!

  7. The Higher Ed CIO says:

    Good to hear.

  8. Jones says:

    Magnificent website. A lot of helpful info here. I’m sending it to a few colleagues. And certainly, thanks on your effort!

  9. IT Support Miami says:

    I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and exposure!

    Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve added you guys to my personal blogroll.

  10. The Higher Ed CIO says:

    Thank you for your kind words

  11. foyin says:


    GREAT ARTICLE. i have a question
    1. why does Tier 1 have 18 hours and Tier 2 44 hours?

  12. The Higher Ed CIO says:

    The service level is on Availability expressed as a percentage. To help make that real for people I often include the total number of downtime hours allowed under each SLA. So Tier x Availability translates into y hours of allowable downtime per year. Your question makes me wonder how to make that more clear in the graphic.

Comments are closed.