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Service-Level Agreements

A service-level agreement (SLA) establishes a work completion deadline. Organizations often establish service-level agreements to enforce on-time performance. These obligations range from informal response-time promises to negotiated contracts. 

The following video describes the purpose and components of an SLA: 


An important part of most processes is the timeliness of the work. Use Service Levels - also known as Service Level Agreements or SLAs - to ensure work is completed within the expected time intervals.

Service levels use milestones to indicate the expected turnaround times for the assignment or the overall case on which they are defined. The first milestone is the "goal." The "goal” defines how long the assignment should take and is typically measured from when the assignment started. The next milestone is the “deadline.” The deadline defines the longest amount of time the assignment may take before it is considered “late”. The deadline is usually measured from when the assignment was started.

For example, consider an assignment in a simple case where someone submits a request, it gets reviewed, then processed. Managers should be able to review a request within 24 hours of getting it, but the assignment allocates up to 36 hours before it is considered late. The expectation is it can take up to eight hours to process the request, but never more than two days.

At each milestone, you can adjust the assignment’s urgency. The urgency is typically a value from 10 to 100; the higher the value, the higher the assignment’s urgency.

For example, consider the Review assignment and how the urgency changes might appear along a timeline. A new request is available for review. As soon the Review step starts, the assignment begins, and the service level clock starts ticking.

At the start of every assignment, the urgency is set to a default value, typically 10. You could increase the urgency immediately when the service level clock starts, but in this example, the urgency value for the review assignment is ten. Then, time passes. The goal for this assignment is 24 hours. If 24 hours elapse and the assignment is incomplete, the urgency increases by a defined value; in this scenario, the increase is 10, so the assignment’s urgency value for the review assignment is now 20. The deadline arrives and the assignment is still incomplete. The urgency increases again by adding the defined value; in this scenario, the value is ten. The urgency value of the assignment is now thirty.

In addition to changing the urgency value, you can also define an action to take to escalate the assignment if any of the milestones are missed. Common escalation actions might include: Sending notifications to the assignment owner and or their manager or transferring the assignment to another user.

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Service-level intervals

Each service-level agreement supports a few intervals of time that standardize how long you have to perform a task or resolve a case.

Consider a company's timesheet submission requirements. Employees must submit a timesheet within two business days of the workweek's end but no later than three business days.

In the following image, click the + icons to learn more about service-level intervals:

Types of service-level agreements

You can configure SLAs on case types, stages, processes, and Collect Information and Approval steps. SLAs are most often applied at the case or step level, but having more points to add urgency or escalation actions may be of interest depending on the business case. When you apply SLAs at different levels, you need to consider all SLAs when determining intervals.

For example, you configure SLAs on multiple steps and on the case type. Once you determine the SLA intervals for the case, you can define SLAs on each step based on the total time allotted for the case. The more places you apply an SLA, the more complex and difficult it is to coordinate the prioritization across cases and case types.

In the following image, click the icons to learn about the different types of SLAs in an auto insurance company quote request case example:

Work prioritization

In Pega Platform™, work is prioritized based on urgency. Depending on your business requirements, you can prioritize work based on deadlines.

Urgency-based prioritization

Urgency is a numeric value that brings visibility to the unresolved work in your application. There are two primary types of urgency: 

  • Case urgency is the priority of the case. For example, in a parent case type for managing hospital patient records, a child case for updating current records may have a higher priority than a child case for transferring previous records. 
  • Assignment urgency is the priority of completing an assignment. For example, collecting information on a new patient may have a lower priority than sending a prescription for an existing patient. 

The initial urgency of an assignment is equal to the case urgency value. By default, case urgency is 10. 

Tip: You can configure the initial urgency for a case in the Settings tab of the case type.

For each interval, you define a value between 1 and 100 by which to increase the urgency. The maximum urgency is 100. The higher the urgency value, the more important it is to address that work item.

Consider the urgency values for the timesheet example in the following table:

  Start Goal Deadline
Time interval 0 hours 48 hours 72 hours
Increase urgency by +0 +10 +10
Urgency 10 20 30

Urgency increases as an assignment advances to the next interval. 

Assignment priority

In Pega Platform applications, assignment urgency indicates assignment priority.

The Pega Platform Get Next Work functionality assigns high-urgency tasks before low-urgency tasks to ensure that assignments finish on time. Get Next Work favors the assignment with the greatest urgency between two or more assignments that users can perform.

Note: If you have multiple case types, consider the interaction between these case types when designing SLAs and urgency adjustments to ensure work is properly prioritized. For example, a Roadside Assistance case instance should have higher priority than a Membership Update case instance.

Deadline-based prioritization

Many organizations find it beneficial to make SLAs deadline-focused rather than urgency-focused. For some case types, time-based deadlines, rather than urgency deadlines, provide the most important information you need to prioritize work. For example, multiple Mortgage loan case types can be prioritized solely based on when they are submitted. 

Tip: Use a combination of well-crafted SLAs and a couple of urgency values where appropriate. If you have multiple cases or assignments with the same deadline, use urgency to decide which object to work on first. 

Consider a software license purchasing case type. Multiple case instances are created at different times. A customer service representative (CSR) works on multiple assignments for each case, while the purchasing and manager roles have one assignment for each case. In the following image, click the icons to learn how deadline-based assignment prioritization works with three case instances with different creation times:

Escalation actions

Escalation actions are actions that your application takes to facilitate faster resolution times based on a specified service-level agreement. You can configure escalation actions on service-level agreements to:

  • Notify the assignee, the manager, and the participants.
  • Reassign the task.
  • Resolve the case as the goals or deadlines occur.

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