300+ TOP Service Level Agreement (SLA) Interview Questions and Answers

Q1. Who Can Attend The Change Control Board Meeting?

The meeting is open to all CIO/OFT staff and staff of Customer Agencies. Change owners or their representatives must attend each meeting. Please send an email to OFT Change Board if you wish to participate.

Q2. Does Cio/oft Have A Video Conferencing Service?

Currently CIO/OFT is in the process of piloting this service with several agencies. CIO/OFT will work with any agency to make them a part of this pilot so that they can provide video conferencing to their agency. Please contact your CRM for information. Presently there is no established rate or metric for Video Conferencing.

Q3. Can I Request Reports On The Services I Receive?

Yes. One of the main components of the CIO/OFT SLA Program is to provide more transparency and provide our customers with more information on an ad hoc basis. Your CRM will be happy to provide you with reports helpful to your agency and to assist with your IT planning. However, the number and contents of all possible reports possible for all services can be overwhelming. We ask that you work your CRM to discuss your specific reporting needs and what you may want on a regular schedule. Many reports can be created with the present tools in the standard format. If additional work is requested to customize a report, an hourly rate to do the customization may apply.

Q4. How Often Wills The Service Level Agreements Be Reviewed And Renewed?

Service Level Agreements will be reviewed and renewed every two years by representatives of CIO/OFT and the Customer Agency. This biennial process is designed to ensure the agreement represents the current IT needs of the agency and to solicit feedback on the quality of services offered by CIO/OFT. In addition, the SLA may be reviewed at any time when there is a modification to add new services provided by CIO/OFT or for dispute purposes. Either party can request a review of the SLA as business needs may change within the two-year period.

Q5. Is There A Charge To Reset A Password From The Customer Care Center?

Yes. If a user calls the Customer Care Center to reset a password, the agency will be charged the Security Service rate, which is the lowest cost. This rate and description is described on the website and in the SLA.

Q6. What Is The Purpose Of A Service Level Agreement (sla)?

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is an agreement between a customer and a provider of services. In this case, IT services provided by CIO/OFT as an IT Shared Services provider to state agencies and other governmental entities who are the customers. It provides an opportunity to foster a closer working relationship between the customer and the provider. Expectations for services rendered, how they will be delivered and at what costs provide an open and transparent environment. It fosters smarter consumers and holds the provider accountability for delivering services as prescribed.

Q7. Will Cio/oft Post Network Design Specifications And Requirements For Developers; As Well As A List Of Supported Products And Their Life Cycles?

Posting specific information regarding CIO/OFT networks would be a security risk. In accordance with our policies, information can be provided to Agencies when writing RFI/RFP documents and when entering application development contracts. Please contact your CRM for assistance.

Q8. How Are Critical Issues Handled That Require Long Term Planning And Scheduling?

CIO/OFT will work to meet service availability target levels as defined in the SLA document. However, from time to time there are unplanned and unscheduled critical issues which arise and must be addressed as efficiently and as expeditiously as possible. Critical issues, such as Severity -1 incidents, are closely tracked within CIO/OFT to ensure services are restored as soon as possible. Staffs with the critical expertise in various technical skills are quickly mobilized to focus, diagnose, analyze and resolve the critical issue(s). Long term planning and coordination of follow-up support and changes are facilitated by CIO/OFT and involves all necessary support teams with the required technical expertise.

Q9. Who Will Be Contacting The Agency About The Sla?

Each agency will receive a memo from Dr. Melodies Mayberry Stewart, State CIO and Director of OFT in mid-September. Your agency will be contacted no later than September 22 by a CIO/OFT Customer Relations Manager (CRM). The CRM will set up a meeting to discuss the SLA and will work with the agency until a final SLA is signed no later than December 10, 2010.

Q10. Can The Service Level Agreement Include Penalties For Various Reasons?

While a penalty paid out of profits may work in the private sector, the financial model in the public sector is different. All costs still need to be recovered for services funded by an Internal Service Fund. IT shared services cannot make a profit or loss on an annual basis. If penalties were enacted, it would not reduce the total cost as there is no profit margin; expenses and revenues need to be equivalent each fiscal year for a service.

Q11. What Can I Find More Information About A Particular Service?

Each CIO/OFT IT Shared Service has a corresponding detail document to fully explain the service, the roles and responsibilities for both CIO/OFT and the customer, how the service is supported, how billing information is gathered, the resources available to help the agency and how to contact CIO/OFT. Also, more information is available on the SLA website. CIO/OFT welcomes all feedback. Please let Customer Relations know if you need more information or have suggestions to help us keep the document relevant.

Q12. How Does Cio/oft Estimate Demand For A Service?

CIO/OFT estimates demand for a service by reviewing the actual annual usage from the previous year as a starting point. CIO/OFT then considers the impact on service usage from planned projects, annual agency submissions of the Annual Technology Plans (ATPs), customer discussions, and other external sources. CIO/OFT may also request customers provide information on estimated major changes in annual usage for major services requested. Predicting future demand projections is always a challenge. However, CIO/OFT will use all avenues, and data sources to ensure the rates are equitable, competitive and compliant with the rate principles and guidelines.

Q13. What Is The Process For Reviewing The Sla?

The agency’s assigned CRM and the Agency’s SLA Representative will schedule biennial service quality review meetings. The CRM and the representative will review the adequacy of the services provided under the agreement, discuss the status of outstanding issues to address, and identify new issues or new opportunities.

Q14. What Is An It Strategic Cluster?

IT Strategic Clusters help agencies focus on the delivery of cost-efficient and integrated IT services by eliminating unnecessary and costly duplication of IT investments. And IT Strategic Cluster is a coalition of IT resources, knowledge and experiences, formed to meet related business challenges, goals and services of State agencies and constituents. Seven clusters have been identified, and each will have a Cluster leader, specific goals and performance measurements to ensure accountability and transparency.

Q15. What Services Are Covered In The Sla Document Provided By Cio/oft?

All IT Shared Services offered by CIO/OFT are eligible for inclusion in the SLA. Each service is described in detailed service descriptions in a separate document. However, the current major services provided include the following: Customer Care Center Operations (24x7x365 Help Desk Support) NYS Directory Services (Our Enterprise LDAP Services) Empire 2.0 Web Services (Web Development, Content Management) Data Center Operations (Mainframe, Servers, Storage, Disaster Recovery) NYSeMail (Enterprise Email System) Customer Networking Solutions (Desktop Support) NYeNet Services (State Data Networks) Technology Academy (IT Training – Classroom and Online Distanced Learning) Telecommunications and CAPNET (Telephony Services)

Q16. What Is The Process For Handling A Problem Or A Dispute With The Bill?

Your SLA document will describe the Dispute Resolution process. Essentially, customers must notify the Deputy CIO of IT Customer Relationship Management Services, in writing, of the disputed billing amount and the reason for the dispute within 30 days of the dated invoice. Any amounts disputed in good faith, may be deducted from the invoice, as long as the written notice has been sent to CIO/OFT. The remaining undisputed amount must be paid by the original due date. Within 30 days after final resolution of the disputed charges, all resolved disputed amounts must be paid by the customer or credit will be provided in the next monthly billing.

Q17. Does The Sla Document Contain A Confidentiality Agreement?

Yes. The Data Security section of the SLA document defines the confidentiality provisions.

Q18. What Is The Process For An Agency To Discontinue A Service Provided By Cio/oft?

If an agency has to discontinue an IT Shared Service offered by CIO/OFT, the agency must send a written notice as soon as possible but no later than 60 days from date of expiration of the SLA. The notice should ideally be sent prior to the annual release of the rates to avoid a substantial adverse impact on other customer agencies who share the cost to provide this service. Please be aware, if an agency’s portion is greater than 5% of the total IT Shared Service cost, a written notification of intent to terminate must be provided no less than six months prior to the expected termination date. The agency’s written notice of termination should be sent to the attention of the Deputy CIO of IT Customer Relationship Management Services at CIO/OFT.

Q19. Some Of The Posted Metrics Do Not Accurately Reflect The Actual Time To Completion?

Some processes require work from several business units. The metrics, as reported, pertain to the work within the business unit being reported on. CIO/OFT continues to refine our metrics and streamline processes between business units to better represent completion of tasks.

Q20. How Do You Make Changes To The Rates?

Setting rates is a balance between cost and desired functionality. Periodically, CIO/OFT reviews rates to determine if changes in the rate methodology are needed. This may involve subdividing a service into components so customers can pick which parts of the service they want and only pay a rate for their selected components. This may result in offering more options, such as providing tiered levels of service and support with varying rates based on the level desired. If a major change in rates or rate methodology is proposed for an existing IT shared service, CIO/OFT will meet with customers to review the proposed changes and gather customer feedback. CIO/OFT will then work with the Division of the Budget before proceeding with a change.

Q21. What Happens If A Billing Dispute Presented To Cio/oft Is Not Resolved?

If the normal process for resolving billing disputes does not lead to a resolution within 30 days after the agency’s written dispute notification, the dispute will be referred to the Division of Budget whose decision will be final and binding. If the decision is in favor of CIO/OFT, the customer will be expected to pay the outstanding invoice within 30 days of the final DOB decision.

Q22. What Information Is Contained In A Service Level Agreement?

A Service Level Agreement typically has the following information contained in each agreement: A description of the services provided to the customer; A description of the performance service levels used by the provider to demonstrate the quality of customer service; Service level performance targets which are benchmarked against industry best practices; Roles and responsibilities of CIO/OFT; Roles and responsibilities of the Customer; Rates for services provided and billing process; Dispute resolution process; The process for communicating with CIO/OFT; and The SLA renewal process.

Q23. When Does The Change Control Board Meet?

The Change Control Board meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:00 am at the 40 North Pearl Street facility. The meeting concluded when all items are covered adequately and normally ends at 9:3@Call-in attendance is available via Conference Bridge, but lines are limited and intended for those in other buildings.

Q24. Where Is Information Regarding Cost And Consolidation Of Services?

Please refer to the Charter for Enterprise Information Technology Shared Services between the Office of Taxpayer Accountability and CIO/OFT issued by the Director of State Operations.

Q25. Is There A Charge To Report An Issue Related To The Cio/oft Infrastructure?

No, there is no charge. Customers are not charged for calls that are problems with the CIO/OF infrastructure and beyond the control of the agency.

Q26. Is Cio/oft Considering Offering Voip Services?

CIO/OFT is in the process of upgrading our infrastructure to accommodate a VOIP offering. If you are interested in this service please contact your CRM.

Q27. Currently I Can Get Mainframe Availability Reports. How Can I Get More Detailed Reports, Such As Those On Cics And Mq Series, Db2, Opc And Ibm Cm?

The capability for customers to generate more detailed availability reports is available for IBM mainframe customers through the use of SAS/MXG reports. Sample scripts have been provided to all customers to develop reports reflecting specific agency needs. Contact your CRM if you need more information on this feature.

Q28. Must The Customer Always Be Using The Most Current Version Of A Microsoft Product? Does Cio/oft Post Support Levels Of Products Being Used And Decommissioned?

Customers do not need to be using the most current version of a Microsoft product; however they must be using versions supported by CIO/OFT. Current versions of products used and decommission plans are available via request. Please contact your CRM for assistance.

Q29. Who Do I Contact If I Need To Reset My Password?

NYS Directory Service provides features to allow users to reset their own password. Also, your agency representative or the Customer Care Center can assist with password resets.

Q30. How Is It The Sla Different From The Terms Of Service (tos) Currently Used By Cio/oft?

There are significant differences between the two documents. The new SLA Program focuses on customer service, specific service level performance targets, a clear description of roles and responsibilities for both the Customer Agency and CIO/OFT, a well-defined set of performance measurements and a clear understanding of the services and rates for each service. The former Terms of Service program did not clearly define roles and responsibilities, service descriptions, service level targets, billing dispute process or a clear explanation of rates for each service. The agencies were confused about services and the rates association with each service.

Q31. Can A Customer Agency Request Performance Service Level Targets Above The Sla Performance Targets For A Particular Service?

CIO/OFT is committed to providing service levels which are above the industry average and aspires to reach “world class status” within affordable constraints for all services. The SLA provides standard measures for standard IT shared services. These performance level measurements and target levels were developed with the assistance of industry experts and agency input. If an agency has a need for a higher level of service than the target level and is willing to pay for that higher level of service, please contact your assigned CRM. The CRM will estimate the cost for additional resources to raise a service level and the customer can decide if the additional investment is justified.

Q32. What Is The Change Control Board?

CIO/OFT is committed to provide excellent customer service with minimal impact to ongoing operations for an agency or the customers of other agencies. To ensure an effective program, a governance group was created to fulfill this function – The Change Control Board. The purpose of the Change Control Board is to exchange information regarding any physical or logical changes that may affect the status of any network, computer system, or application that CIO/OFT is responsible for or hosting. It is very important that any changes to the IT environment are clearly understood and the customer expectations are managed to minimize operations. This collaborative process is designed to mitigate those risks and ensure changes are successful.

Q33. What Are The General Guidelines Cio/oft Uses To Set The Annual Rates?

CIO/OFT is required to follow specific rate guidelines to determine the annual rates. In addition, we strictly adhere to the following principles to guide the CIO/OFT rate setting process and are: Rates will be fair and equitable for all customers; Rates will be reasonable for comparable services; Rates will be understandable and clearly communicated to customers; We will continuously pursue and implement strategies to reduce costs and lower rates to our customers; Federal cost recovery requirements will be strictly complied with to ensure state agencies can maximize cost recovery for CIO/OFT services; Reconciliation will be used to ensure revenues generated from rates will fully recover the cost of providing a service, but not result in over-collection of revenue; and CIO/OFT will pursue all avenues to minimize any major fluctuations in rates.

Q34. Will The Nysemail Response Time Be Measured?

We currently measure NYSeMail availability. For the past year it was at 98% on an annual basis. Measuring actual response time for a user involves a combination of both CIO/OFT and customer provided services including email, networks and desktop responsiveness. The tools we currently use do not provide that level of monitoring. As systems, software and new versions of existing tools become available, CIO/OFT will evaluate what additional performance measures can be added to the performance dashboard.

Q35. Who Are The Severity And Outage Notifications Sent To?

Notifications regarding severity or outages are sent to the customers impacted by the relevant issue using the customer agency-managed distribution list. The Customer Agency determines who should be notified and CIO/OFT will ensure all appropriate individuals are notified within the stated timeframes.

Q36. Why Is Cio/oft Implementing An Sla Program Now?

As an IT Shared Services provider, CIO/OFT needed a solid SLA program in place to address the many concerns raised by agencies in the past. This need was highlighted in the Enterprise IT Shared Services Charter executed by the Governor’s Office of Taxpayer Accountability (OTA) and CIO/OFT. The Charter outlines the requirement to implement an SLA Program in conjunction with the expansion of the IT Shared Services Model.