Dynamics 365 offers built-in comprehensive Service Level Agreement (SLA) functionality that caters to several different scenarios. In today’s post, we’ll explore this SLA functionality in more detail.
For one thing, SLAs are the first step toward crafting key performance indicators (KPIs) and then tracking performance against those KPIs. Of course, your support representatives see KPIs simply as timers on record forms that indicate the time remaining until (or time passed since) the prescribed (or allotted) amount of time to solve a support request. On the other hand, SLAs also can allow CRM users to pause the KPI timer depending on the status reason of the support request. For example, if a service representative cannot proceed until additional information is provided by the customer, a status reason of On Hold can be used to pause the timer until the status reason changes. It is important to remember that On Hold time, like everything else, can be tracked, measured, and reported. In many organizations, it’s just another KPI.
Within Dynamics 365, the SLA functionality can be configured to consider many different factors, including things like the SLA starting point from which the SLA is calculated, operational hours, holiday schedules, and pause/resume permissions. Prior to configuring an SLA, it's important to note that each one should include an SLA item record that defines the following:
- Criteria for when the SLA is and is not applicable
- What SLA success means
- When warnings should occur and whether a warning notification is sent
- When failures should occur and whether a failure notification should be sent
Note that all SLA records must be activated, and a default SLA must be configured where entitlements are not being used.
To be able to properly configure an SLA in Dynamics 365, you must first configure your organization’s schedule.
Configuring the Customer Service Schedule
Follow these steps to create a Customer Service Schedule:
1. Go to Settings > Service Management.
2. On this page, find Customer Service Scheduleunder Service Terms.
3. You will see all existing Customer Service Calendars. To create a new one, click New in the Command bar.
4. In the popup window, name your Customer Service Schedule, add an optional description, and click Create.
5. Another popup window appears – this is where your organization’s weekly schedule can be customized:
- If the hours Are the same each day, simply click Set work hours. In the popup window, set the start and end times. If desired, you also can set breaks throughout the day, as well.
- If the hours are different depending on the day, click Vary by day. In the dropdown, populate the hours of operation for each day of the week.
- If your organization provides 24/7 support, click this option.
- If you selected Are the same each day in the Work Hours section, you will be able to check which days your organization operates in the Work Days section.
- If 24/7 support was selected in the Work Hours section, these work days will be grayed out.
- If your organization does observe certain holidays, click Observe and then click the lookup icon. A list of all active Holiday Schedules in your CRM will populate. From here, choose the appropriate Holiday Schedule to associate it with the given Service Schedule.
- If your organization does not observe holidays, click Do not observe.
- Simply select the time zone in which your organization operates.
Once all weekly schedule information is completed, select Save and Close. Note that if your organization needs more than one service schedule, simply repeat Steps 3-5. Once the weekly schedule is fully configured, it will look like this:
Configuring the SLA
Now that we have created a service schedule, we can define what our expected response levels should be. Our KPI’s can be based on two metrics: First Response Time and Resolution Time. Essentially, we need to determine what constitutes success or failure for each of those metrics, as well as what actions should be taken when a KPI is close to not being met or has not been met. Let’s look at a scenario where we want high priority cases to be resolved in 1 business day, and normal and low priority cases to be resolved within 3 business days.
1. Navigate to Settings > Service Management > Service Level Agreements, which can be found in the Service Terms
2. Click +New in the Command bar.
3. Name the new SLA (in our case, we’re calling it Default SLA. Identify the Entity to which the SLA should apply. In our demo, we’re using the Case NOTE: SLAs can apply to any Entity; the entity just needs to first be enabled for SLA tracking.
4. Click OK. A new SLA Form will appear on which you need to identify your desired Applicable From and SLA Type options:
Applicable From – From the list of available options, select the field from which the SLA items will be calculated. For our example, we will choose Created On, indicating that we want the SLA timer to begin as soon as the case record is created.
- Created On
- Modified On
- Record Created On
- Follow Up By
- Resolve By
- First Response By
- Escalated On
- Last Time on Hold
SLA Type – You can choose either Standard or Enhanced. What’s the difference?
- Standard – Only failure time is tracked and saved in the case record. A timer has to be manually created and added to the case form. Standard service level agreements are deprecated as of the July 2017 update and will be removed in a future major release of Dynamics 365. Standard SLAs are replaced by enhanced SLAs.
- Enhanced – A KPI record is created for each SLA KPI that is tracked. Timers are automatically created and added to the case form with their statuses and failure and warning times visible. Timers can be paused, and you can see the amount of time for which a case was on hold and the last time it was put on hold. Enhanced is the recommended SLA type.
When the appropriate options have been selected, save the SLA record. It will look like the screen below. Note that fields with the lock symbol cannot be updated once the SLA is saved:
Creating an SLA Item
Once the SLA record has been configured and saved, you can create the SLA Item record. In our case, we’re calling it First Response KPI. This SLA Item defines when the SLA is applicable, as well as its success criteria:
Within the Success Actions, SLA Item Failure, and SLA Item Warning sections, we can define additional actions - like sending an email or changing the status of the record based on predefined criteria. In our example above, we defined Failure after 1 hour and Warn after 30 minutes.
Once the SLA Items have been created and the SLA has been configured, saved, activated and set as default, it will look like this:
Seeing it in Action
Once saved, the SLA timer is displayed within the Enhanced SLA Details tab, and it correctly takes into consideration the business hours, as well as the First response in and Resolve in times for the SLA. When the SLA for resolution has been met, it will display Succeeded; when it has not been met, it displays Expired.
So, that’s how SLA’s work in Dynamics 365. Hopefully you can see how this can be useful in your organization. For more tips and tricks, be sure to subscribe to our blog!
Happy Dynamics 365’ing!