There's a lot of 'talk' about experience level agreements (XLAs), but very little in terms of practical guidance for IT service managers and directors on how to successfully bring XLAs into your own organization. This is where that changes – this in-depth Practical Guide to XLAs provides actionable advice from how to get started, through to common mistakes to avoid.
Last Updated June 2021
SLAs measure the process or the completing of an objective. XLAs on the other hand measure the outcome and value.
"SLAs measure the process - XLAs measure the outcome and value"
In order to paint a greater picture of XLAs, we have compared the main differences between XLAs and SLAs in the chapter below.
|SLA - Service Level Agreement||XLA - Experience Level Agreement|
|Measures the output of IT.||Measures the outcome of IT.|
|Measures the processes.||Measures the added value and productivity of services.|
|SLAs focus on high level objectives that can easily be met. However, they do not paint an in-depth picture of what is really happening within IT.||Brings focus directly to end-users' experience and needs.|
|SLAs show you if IT is delivering projects within the right time frame and budget - ignoring the true success of projects.||With XLAs you can bring business value and increase productivity of end-users.|
|Focus on sanctions.||Focus on rewards.|
|Measurement targets stays the same.||Measurement targets constantly change.|
It is also worth mentioning that you can use XLAs and SLAs in tandem with each other, you do not have to simply rip and replace SLAs with XLAs. The important thing to note, however, is the need for the capabilities and metrics that measure success where outcomes occur and value is created.
HappySignals brings you the process to manage experiences and set experience level targets.Watch this one minute video for the full explanation
|Role||Output focus (SLA)||Outcome focus (XLA)|
|CIO / IT directors / IT management team||SLAs are needed to control what we and partners do. When they are green, we are doing well.||I give focus and direction to my IT department and empower them to deliver good experience to our end-users. This is how we prove our value to business stakeholders, and increase the productivity and happiness of our end-users.|
|SLAs need to be met, because that is what my management team is looking for.||I analyze the experience data together with my vendors and bring solutions to life that improve happiness and productivity.|
|It is the service desks responsibility if people are unhappy with the service. I just run the service with uptime and availability.||I monitor and analyze the experience of my end-users to make sure the service provides what they are expecting. They are my colleagues and I want them to be able to do their jobs productively.|
|I optimize the cost structure of our devices and make policies for them. A dollar saved is dollar earned, right?||I understand different users and their needs with their devices. I try to save their time, which saves the company money and makes our workforce happier and more productive.|
service desk outsourcing
|I outsource to an external provider and make sure sanctions are in place if customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) is not at the level agreed it was two years ago.||We add experience metrics into our contracts as XLAs, with rewards if they exceed the exceptions of our end-users. I work with them to make sure this happens too.|
|Service desk managers||I bring escalated cases to our team meetings and make sure the whole team meets the SLAs that are set. My concern is not the end-user.||I share all the experience data in real-time with everybody on the service desk, 75% of it is positive and I know that I make a positive impact on the motivation of my agents. Agent satisfaction correlates directly to end-user experience and I can prove it with data. We can also talk with service owners on how their service is experienced, showing it is not totally the responsibility of the service desk.|
|IT department employees
|I keep the lights on and systems running. I hate end-users complaining when they don’t understand that I cannot help them.||I come every day to work to provide the most productive IT solutions to our employees, so that they can serve our external customers. This makes me happy.|
employees of your company
|They just want to get rid of me. It is always my fault.
||They are here for me and help me as a colleague. The feedback I give is appreciated and used to improve IT services. This makes me happy.|
Basically after setting targets, you are highlighting all aspects of the end-users' experience in all the views you see in HappySignals.
Here we have gathered case studies that show what the winners in this area are doing and have already been doing for years.
CMSWire: Why IT Is Moving Beyond Service to Employee Experience. An article on why you need XLAs.
Our Learning Center is full of informative videos about the topic!