XLA and IT Experience Management

Transform your business with XLA and IT Experience Management

The experience revolution is here

IT environments are becoming increasingly complicated. More often than not, entire ecosystems are jointly responsible for the delivery of IT products and services. This increasing complexity makes it more important than ever to focus on what really matters: the user experience. 

On this page you will learn why experience matters, what XLAs are, what we need them for and how to get started with experience management. 

Founders of the Xperience Level Agreement (XLA)

Next to conducting groundbreaking research on IT-related experience, Giarte is the driving force behind a growing movement called Xperience Level Agreement, XLA, that is winning praise and buy-in from more and more companies.

What is XLA?

XLA is a powerful new addition to the traditional IT Service Level Agreement (SLA). One that builds on the SLA concept by measuring human sentiment and using this to break down silos and think and act from the perspective of a user. Giarte’s proprietary XLA methodology enables IT departments to design human-centric technology and processes.

SLAs measure deliverables

An SLA is a contract that sets out service requirements that purchaser and supplier think are realistic, workable and acceptable. The focus is on details, tangibles, processes and technology. Statistical output.

SLAs measure vertically. In IT terms, this means they measure IT silos like device availability, service desk support, the development and maintenance of applications, the availability of network services, server and mainframe services, and the availability of cross-function data sources. Each one individually.

XLAs measure impact

An XLA is a completely different beast. It’s a commitment to create a defined experience. This experience is measured with experience indicators (XIs). Unlike an SLA, the focus in XLA is not on details, it’s on seeing the bigger picture in the same way as your end users. In IT terms, that means understanding the impact IT has on people and the human and business outcomes that result.

It’s logical then that XLAs measure horizontally, across the IT silos, to ask how we’re doing on employee experience for example, and whether what we are doing matters to the business.

SLA & XLA

Objective Monitoring

A contract with the necessary technical services, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as the measurements, and punishment’ as a starting point.”

SLA

Subjective Measurements

A commitment to realize a defined experience, with Xperience Indicators (XIs)​as the measurements and reward’ as a starting point.”

XLA

The power of XLA 

An XLA never replaces an SLA, both have a key function. SLAs will remain important, but they don’t measure Xperience (X‑Data)​. Here’s how your business can benefit from XLAs. 

SLAs work from control, XLAs work from feelings
The challenge XLAs solve is that SLAs manage numbers while people run on feelings, emotions, and perceptions.

Overcoming limitations
XLA connects technical performance with customer perception around all interactions with IT

Achieve the desired experience
Through Xperience Indicators (XI), related to the experience themes, we can measure and manage to achieve the desired experience.

Focus on creating impact
From doing what's in the contract to doing things that make a real difference to your customers

The importance of IT Experience Management

We believe that Positive Business Impact comes from having Happy Employees who enjoy a great IT Experience. It includes higher profits, improved customer satisfaction, lower employee churn, lower recruitment costs, a higher net promoter score and so on.

We believe in this formula because research shows that how people feel about a product or service often outweighs what they know about it. Experience builds up over time and shapes our opinions, decisions and actions.

So, experience matters, but what is it?

Bottom line, an experience is the result of dozens or even hundreds of cumulative events and moments over time. Most of these moments never figure in an SLA because most are small or happen behind the scenes. But they do determine the experience. Fixing an incident may involve calling the service desk, determining the issue, attempting repairs, restore attempts, and notification that the issue is resolved.

Yet, most of the transactions happen out of the employee’s sight. Their experience of getting something fixed begins when they report it and ends when it’s working again, with few or no events in between. The IT process and SLA to get to a resolution are out of sight and out of mind. Even the timeframe may not even matter. Sometimes five minutes is too long. Other times, five days may be fine.

In effect you have two perspectives on the same issue. The IT perspective says “we hit all our SLAs so the end user will be happy. Set that indicator to green.” The end user experience says, “I needed it fixed five days ago. No information. No progress reports along the way. I’m not happy at all.” Red frowny face.

This is where experience management comes into play, XLA connects technical performance with customer perception around all interactions with IT.

Experience Management

Moments over time

Experience is the result of dozens or even hundreds of cumulative events and moments over time.”

Driver of behaviour

Experience is the feeling someone has about a product, service or interaction which drives opinions, beliefs and decisions.”

A few words of Experience Management inspiration...

At a Houston airport, travelers were complaining about long waiting times at baggage claim. Increasing the number of baggage handlers cut the waiting time to eight minutes, well within industry benchmarks. But the complains didn’t stop.

The problem was it took only one minute to walk from the arrival gate to baggage reclaim. As employing yet more baggage handlers would be insanely costly and not effective enough, the airport decided that instead of reducing waiting times, it would increase the walking time by a factor of six.

Result: more waiting, but less time spent standing and waiting. And almost no complaints.

A few words of Experience Management inspiration...

Queues do not have to be dreadful experiences. In fact, Disney is one firm that understands how to make waiting a part of the fun.

Disney resorts had a customer experience problem caused by queuing and wait times for attractions. Too long, too boring and too much waiting time uncertainty.

Disney’s answer was to introduce entertainment while people were waiting, label expected waiting times, and to deliberately exaggerate those waiting times so that arriving at the front would be a positive surprise. 

All our Experience Management Solutions

Our experts design tools and models that help organizations to improve business impact and enhance the teamwork in their IT ecosystem. Engage with skilled and expert instructors to learn the art and science of experience and how XLAs are changing the way we design and manage technology.

Focus on creating impact

With our expertise in making IT experience measurable and manageable, we help our customers to link tech to touch. This is the biggest revolution in IT to date. Are you ready to be a part of it?

Giarte Academy

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NTA 8038 XLA Framework

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Deep Empathy in Tech Masterclass

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Schedule a 15-min call with one of our experts to learn more about how we can help your business.