Using agreements to ensure agreed levels of support

The combination of Response Agreements (RAs), Operational Level Agreements (OLAs) and Underpinning Contracts (UCs) helps you to manage the provision of the agreed level of support to the people that matter most – the supported end-user community within your organization.

For example, if your procurement department can agree a UC with their suppliers to deliver hardware within two working days of receiving a purchase order, then your service desk can agree an OLA with the procurement department to receive required hardware within three working days of submitting the request, and can agree a further OLA with hardware support to provide working hardware within four working days of being assigned the call. This then enables the IT support department to agree an RA with the business of providing operational new hardware within a week of the request being logged.


To demonstrate some of the principles of service level management, consider a typical IT support process, where the service desk receives a request for a new PC. The service desk allocates the user a temporary PC, and assigns the request to Hardware Support. Hardware Support raises a Purchase Requisition and the Procurement department then places an order with a supplier. When the PC is received, it is set up by Hardware Support and the request is closed.

  1. Is the Response Agreement with the customer, specifying the turnaround time for the resolution of the incident?
  2. Is the Escalation added as part of the process, not as part of the Response Agreement?
  3. Is the Operational Level Agreement between the service desk and Hardware Support, where Hardware Support agrees to provide a commissioned PC within a set time of receiving the request?
  4. Is the Operational Level Agreement between the service desk and Procurement, where Procurement agrees to provide a PC to Hardware Support within a set time of receiving the Purchase Request?
  5. Is the Underpinning Contract agreed with the supplier to provide the PC to Goods In within a set time of receiving the order?