I have often been asked what value does the Service Acceptance Criteria (SAC) provide? Along with other criteria and elements, the Service Acceptance Criteria forms what is described in ITIL and the Service Design Package. With so much importance on Design, Development and Deployment, the significance of the SAC increases as we look to optimize service value. Do you want to increase value to your business and customers? First let’s understand what the SAC is.
Service Acceptance Criteria:
A set of criteria used to ensure that an IT Service meets its functionality and quality requirements and that the IT Service Provider is ready to operate the new IT Service when it has been deployed. This set of criteria is in the form of a formal agreement that an IT Service, Process, Plan or other deliverable is complete, accurate, reliable and meets the specified requirements.
In the past, this has sometimes been thought of and enacted on at the end of the value stream. High performing service providers will frequently apply other methodologies such as lean, agile and ITIL process improvements to ensure that the SAC is defined and improved throughout the development/deployment lifecycle. This is how ITIL intends it to be utilized.
We must understand that all design activities are triggered by changes in business needs or service improvements. In order to design and deliver IT services that meet the changing needs of the customers and the business, we must ensure that the contents of the Service Acceptance Criteria are incorporated and required achievements are planned into the initial design. What? Does this mean that the SAC starts in the requirements gathering stage and evolves throughout the delivery? Yes, and in doing so, a service provider could help to shift their organization to focus on value from a customer’s perspective rather from that of the IT service providers view point.
The SAC is the document that will ensure the Service Provider is ready to deliver the new service by answering the following criteria:
- Has the go live date been agreed to with all parties?
- Has the deployment project and schedule been agreed to and made public to all stakeholders?
- Have all SLR/SLA’s been reviewed, revised and agreed to with all stakeholders?
- Has the Service Catalog/Portfolio been updated and all appropriate relationships established within the Configuration Management System?
- Have all users been identified/approved and appropriate accounts created for them?
- Can all SLR/SLA targets be monitored, measured, reported and reviewed?
- Can performance and capacity targets be measured and incorporated into the Capacity Plan?
- Have incident and problem categories and processes been reviewed and revised for the new service?
- Has appropriate technical support documentation been provided and accepted by Incident, Problem and all IT support teams?
- Have all users been trained and user documentation been supplied and accepted?
- Have appropriate business managers signed off acceptance of the new service?
Consider now how the flow of work, the velocity of your team and value to the business and external customers could be optimized with a focus on the SAC early in the value stream. With these documented criteria in hand we can insure that the Service Provider will meet the agreed needs of the customer and the business. It will insure that availability, capacity, security and continuity can be assured and thereby deliver value to the business.