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Updated on 12/10/2019
Workflow Documentation
SLA
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SLA

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Workflow provides the SLA feature, enabling you to establish Service Level Agreement (SLA) Definitions that can help ensure cases are processed in a specified amount of time. This can help you better manage internal processes, and processes with time-sensitive service agreements you may have, such as with partners, vendors, or customers. 

We enable you to set threshold levels by specifying the period of time a case can stay in a given status and how critical it is to react to the issue. We evaluate a case each time it is updated to see if it meets the criteria you configure in the SLA Definition. You can also configure notifications to be sent when a threshold level is met.

Workflow provides SLA-related standard fields that you can configure on View Case and Create Case actions, enabling users to view SLA information and update the start date of the SLA case. 

There are three main parts you must configure when you create an SLA Definition: 

  • Description: Basic details to include the SLA name, system ID, and description. 
  • Definition: The workflow, statuses, projects, and priorities that will apply to the SLA, and a time-resetting option.
  • Deadlines and Thresholds: When time will be tracked, how long a case should remain in a status, the levels of severity after thresholds are met, and groups that will receive notifications.

Go to Setup > Automation > SLA to open the SLA workspace.

Manage SLA Definitions

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Workflow enables you to filter, add, update, and remove SLAs in the SLA workspace. You can sort the list of existing SLAs by name, in ascending or descending order by clicking the Name label or  Sort icon above the list. You can also filter the list by creating a simple query in the Filter feature. See Filter SLA Definitions for more information. 

You can perform these actions on existing SLAs in the SLA workspace:

  • Edit: Edit the object properties.

  • Apply SLA Definition: Immediately evaluates and applies the SLA definition to all existing and new cases that meet the criteria you define in the SLA Definition. 
  • Delete: Delete the object. You cannot delete objects that are used in default settings, or objects that are in use.  


Filter SLA Definitions

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Workflow provides a Filter feature that enables you to find specific data using queries. The available filter parameters depend on the workspace you are searching from. The SLA feature enables you to filter by these parameters:
  • Name
  • Workflow
  • Statuses
  • Projects
  • Level 
  • Priorities
For detailed information and examples for creating simple and complex queries, see Search & Filter Data.


Configure SLA Definitions

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When you create or update an SLA Definition, we provide three primary groups of parameters to configure. In the following sections, we describe those groups in detail and provide screenshots with a sample configuration. In our example, we address a Service Level Agreement we have with one of our vendors and the agreement dictates that for urgent issues, we resolve the case within 6 business days from when the case was reported.

To ensure we meet the requirements of the agreement, we configure the SLA Definition to notify specific managers when the case remains in one of the statuses for too long. We are configuring a workflow with two primary statuses of concern and we estimate that both statuses will require an equal amount of time to process. Consequently, we configure our thresholds for 3 hours each. 

Using this example, we configure each parameter group and explain the expected behavior of our settings. 


SLA Description 

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When you create an SLA Definition, we provide three sections for you to configure. In the following image, we display the definition in edit mode which displays each section in a tab. 

The Description tab enables you to assign basic settings to include the Name, System ID, and Description. We name the definition Ticket SLA and provide a brief description. Workflow automatically generates the system ID: 


SLA Definition

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The Definition tab enables you to identify to which cases the definition will apply, based on these parameters: 

  • Workflow: Select the workflow to which the definition will apply.
  • Statuses: Select one or more workflow statuses that the case must be in.
  • Project: Select one or more projects the case must be related to.
  • Level: Select different levels, set deadlines, allocate hours for each level and track hours remaining to accomplish a project or a  part of it.
  • Priority: Select one or more priority levels that must be assigned to the case.

We also provide an option to Reset the SLA value for each selected status. In this example, we enable the option. 

If you have SLA definition for workflowA in statusA saying that deadline is 3h, and you enter in statusA, spend 1h, and move to another status. Now if the checkbox is selected, when you move back to statusA, you will have 3h to work on the case (time left is reset to the deadline specified in the SLA definition). If the checkbox is not selected, you will have remaining 2h to work in statusA (deadline is 3h, you already spend 1h, which means you have 2h left).

In our example, we define our Ticket SLA definition with statuses for Created and In Process, and we set the SLA Unit parameter to Day. If you:

  • Enable resetting: The case can stay up to 3 days in each the Created and In Progress statuses.
  • Don't enable resetting: The case can stay a cumulative 3 days between all statuses.

Based on the settings in this example, Workflow will evaluate for cases that match all of the following criteria. The case must be:

  • In the Ticketing workflow, and
  • Related to Sample Project A, and
  • Of Urgent priority, and
  • In one of these statuses:
    • Created
    • In Process 


SLA Deadline and Threshold

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The Deadline and Threshold tab provides the parameters that define how long a case can remain in a status, or group of statuses, and the notification groups who will receive email notifications when deadlines and thresholds are met. We enable you to change the level names and colors that will display on the View Case form when standard SLA fields are configured on the workflow. A case always starts in the first level when it's created and does not change until the applicable threshold level is reached. 

The SLA Unit parameter has two options: Hour and Day. For the Ticket SLA definition, we set the unit to Day. If you choose:

  • Hour: Workflow evaluates the elapsed time every 15 minutes.
  • Day: Workflow evaluates the elapsed time every hour.

We also provide the Track time only during business days option that you can enable to ensure time is tracked only during business hours. Workflow will evaluate for elapsed time based on your Business Calendar settings. When this setting is not enabled, we track the time continuously from when the case is created.

Within the table, we provide these additional parameters:

  • Case remains in status: Enter a value for the desired level or levels, based on the unit you selected. This value will be a fraction of the total time it should take to process the case, and will define the time that can elapse before we send an SLA notification. 
  • Level: If desired, change the name of the label that will appear on the View Case form by typing a new name over the default value. You can also change the default color by clicking on the existing color and then selecting the desired color. Levels are listed in ascending order of execution and we skip any levels you do not configure.
  • Notifications: Select one or more notification groups that will receive a notification when the threshold level is met. 
  • Set as deadline: Select this option on the level you wish to represent the total time that can elapse in one workflow status. In our example, we need the total processing time to not exceed 3 days for a given status, so we apply the Set as deadline option on the last level, as seen in the following image: 


In summary, the above configurations will behave as follows. Once a case enters the Created status on the Ticketing workflow, and after:

  • 1 day without changing status, Workflow will send a notification to the SLA Reminder Notification group.
  • 2 days without changing status, Workflow will send a notification to the SLA Urgent Notification group.
  • 3 days without changing status, Workflow will send a notification to the SLA Critical Notification group.

Once the case changes to the In Process status, we reset the time counter and apply the same behaviors as described above.

Since we enabled the resetting parameter in the Definition tab, we expect these cases should remain no longer than 3 days in each status. For example, after the case moves from the Created status to In Progress, Workflow resets the time counter and the case can remain in the In Progress status up to 3 more days, which would satisfy the requirements of our agreement.

See Notification Groups for more information on creating notification groups. 

Create New SLA Definition

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Before you create your SLA Definition, you should consider the nature of your workflow cases and the urgency in processing them. You should decide:

  • Which workflow cases, statuses, priority levels, and projects will define the criteria.
  • How much total time should pass between statuses before you want to escalate the issue. 
  • Which notification group or groups will receive notifications when cases reach thresholds.
  • At which status you no longer need to track time on a case. 

Important: You need to configure your Notification Groups before you configure the SLA Definition. 

Use the links in the steps below to access the detailed configuration information.

To create a new SLA Definition:

  1. Go to  Setup > Automation > SLA and click Add New.
  2. Complete the SLA Description parameters: 
    • Name: Enter a name.

    • System ID: A unique identifier, automatically generated when you name an object. You can use this identifier to reference an object in scripts, templates, tags, and through the API. You can change the System ID by selecting the pencil icon. Use caution when changing the ID as it can affect existing scripts associated with the object. For more information, see System ID.

    • Description: Add a brief description. This is used as an internal note for administrators.
  3. Select the case parameters for which the SLA Definition will apply:
    • Workflow
    • Status
    • Project
    • Priority
    • Reset the SLA value for each selected status
  1. Enter the SLA Deadline and Threshold values: 
    • SLA Unit
    • Track time only during business days
    • Case remains in status
    • Level
    • Notifications
    • Set as deadline
  2. Update the level names and colors if desired. 
  3. Click Save to finish creating the new SLA.
  4. Execute the Apply SLA Definition action to apply the definition to cases.

Important: Each time you create or update an SLA Definition, you need to execute the Apply SLA Definition action to apply the definition to new and existing cases that meet the criteria.

Add SLA Standard Fields to Workflow Actions

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Workflow provides SLA-related standard fields that you can add to the View Case action using the Form Designer. This enables end users to view the SLA information on a case. See Add Field to Page Layout for more information on adding fields in the Form Designer.

Workflow also enables you to add the SLA Start Date standard field to the Create Case action so that you can manually add an SLA start date and time. This is a good way to adjust the start time, such as in situations where the actual start time occurred prior to the case creation. For example, if you wanted to use the time that a customer called to report an issue as the start time, but you don't create the case until an hour later, you can update the SLA Start Date value when you create the case to reflect the actual start time.

You can add these SLA-related standard fields to the View Case action:

  • SLA Debug Information: Details about when the case was created, updated, and which SLA Definition applies to the case.
  • SLA Due Time: Date and time the case should progress to the next status, according to the applied SLA Definition, and based on the SLA Unit you defined.
  • SLA Start Date: Date and time a case moved to the status for which the SLA Definition was configured. The SLA time is tracked from this moment.
  • SLA Time Left: The time left in days, hours and minutes before you reach the Due Time. This is the time when the case should progress to the next status. When this is a negative number, it means the case progression is overdue by that amount of time. 
  • SLA Time Spent: How many days, hours, and minutes the case has been in the status. 

Note: Hourly SLA definitions use the HH:MM format and Daily SLA definitions use the DD:HH:MM format.