More than ever, organizations understand the importance of a high-performance digital workplace to driving transformative business results. This has led to increased demand for services that simplify IT delivery and support workforce flexibility by leveraging cloud infrastructure, SaaS applications, file sharing, round-the-clock IT support and 7 days a week and much more.


As the demand for IT services has grown, so has the vendor landscape. To thrive in an increasingly commodified marketplace, providers of managed workplace services must modernize their vision of what it means to deliver customer value. It's time to move from old availability SLAs (which have become an expectation, not a differentiator) to Experience Level Agreements (XLAs). By making this change, vendors can align their offerings to better support customers' business outcomes, demonstrate the value of their services, and increase profitability.

As part of the presentations during the trainings I lead, a running icebreaker that I use is the worst race sharing experience.

EUX Score Average Productivity Impact*
Excellent 97%+ 98.5% - 0.6 hours per week
Good 90-97% 93.5% - 2.6 hours per week
Fair 80-90% 83% - 6 hours per week
Poor 80% and below 70% - 12 hours per week


For the most part, attendees will talk about drivers (rude, smelly, scary, crazy) instead of talking about issues with the ride sharing or billing app. Some stories are hilarious, others downright depressing. Yet almost all of the participants have a special emotional connection to their experience. And that connection has become a very strong determinant of how they perceive the service and how they market it to everyone else.

It shows the importance of experiences to customers and why those experiences should be important to the service provider. This is where XLAs come in handy.

What is XLA

To understand XLAs, let's take a quick look at SLAs.

In service management, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) have been the primary benchmark in determining whether the service provider is meeting customer expectations. The ISO 20000 standard defines the SLA as a documented agreement between the organization and the customer that identifies the services and their agreed performance.


SLAs were primarily based on service metrics such as:

Availablity Capacity Reliability

However, a major flaw is that the source of the metrics may not capture the overall end-to-end customer experience. For example, metrics such as application availability or transaction success rate can be meaningful to a service manager. But in the eyes of a customer, these metrics fail to:

This explains the slowness or poor performance during a critical period. Capture issues resulting from interactions with support staff.

This is called the watermelon effect - metrics are green on the outside (good) but red on the inside due to the mismatch between the service provider and the customer regarding their perception of performance. of service.

How to Measure XLA

"Experience Level Agreements (XLAs) help improve IT experiences by leveraging the elements of digital experience monitoring (DEM), sentiment analysis, and traditional service level metrics that track speed and the effectiveness of support processes", wrote Gartner researchers Daniel Barros and David Groombridge at Gartner.

Gartner had the XLA on the "Innovation Trigger" stock, meaning it is "a breakthrough, public demonstration, product launch, or other event (which) generates significant press and industry attention."

The goal of XLA in the early stages of adoption and maturity, the researchers wrote, is "to measure the end-to-end user experience within a given business process and then optimize it so that employees continually upgrade their technology experience across many different workplaces, including home offices."

Benefits of XLAs

While the definition of XLA may vary from person to person, the benefits do not. In our blog, we wrote an article about the benefits of XLAs and summarized the main benefits below:

XLAs measure the business value of the service desk XLA measurement increases cooperation XLAs motivate service desk teams XLAs drive business value XLA goals can be updated regularly to encourage continued development.

As you can see, the benefits of XLAs differ greatly from the benefits you will be familiar with with SLAs. However, when adopting XLA in their organization, many teams will struggle with a number of common mistakes.


We'll conclude with a story about how one service provider used SysTrack to define XLA and deliver more value to their customers. Prior to the implementation of SysTrack, the vendor had limited visibility into the problems occurring in the customer's environment and the quality of the user experience it offered. Within weeks of implementation, they discovered many underlying problems that they were now able to diagnose and resolve within months.

These issues included slow logon processes and Group Policy, suboptimal performing Windows 10 machines that weren't updated with SSDs, and persistent latency issues caused by incorrectly mapped drives. The vendor used SysTrack's EUX score to establish the XLAs for their customer. As they solved the problems discovered with SysTrack's detailed analysis, the EUX score steadily increased, allowing the vendor to clearly demonstrate the value they brought to the customer. In one year, the supplier was able to improve them on all systems by an average of 67% to 84%, saving the customer thousands of production hours.

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