A Master of Science Thesis in Engineering Systems Management Submitted by Essam Omran Al Disi Entitled, "A Six Sigma Define Phase Methodology for Service-Level Compliance Processes" December 2007. Available are both Soft and Hard Copies of the Thesis.
The world economy has been recently experiencing the shift towards services, a phenomenon that is referred to as services-based or services-led economy. A service generally combines activities of a more intangible nature, and that's why are sometimes referred to as "intangible goods". Services may involve transport, distribution and sale of goods from supplier to a customer; they also may engage providing services such as security or cleaning. However, the focus of services is on people interacting with people productively to serve customers rather than transforming physical goods. Service providers and cus tomers are usually bounded in Service Level Agreements (SLA) in order to quantify the minimum quality of service that meets business need, manage the specification of service levels and the design and implementation of service processes. In the context of service provision, the main focus is on the compliance with the rules and regulations stated in the SLA which translate the needs of the customer and clarify the expectations of the service delivery. To monitor the compliance of a SLA, organizations need to come up with a system of rewards and penalties for compliance and non-compliance. A major issue that complicates the service level compliance of services is their heterogeneous character. This means that the experience of a particular service can differ from time to time since customers often play an active role in the consequential activities of service delivery. The objective of this thesis is to develop a new methodology that shall help in applying the Six Sigma process optimization techniques to the SLA compliance. It also presents a group of new developed models that serve as the foundation for the methodology's steps. These models include: SLA Ontology, Compliance Oriented Process Maps, Generic Service Quality Attributes Model, generic Kano questions, generic CTQ table, generic QFD house, and generic SIPOC maps. These generic models serve as a guide for the continuous improvement of compliance business processes using Six Sigma DMAIC techniques. The originality of this methodology lies in its generality, since it can be applied to non-IT services although it is mostly based on IT concepts such as Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), and IBM's SLA Action Manager (SAM). This was demonstrated in Chapter 5, as the methodology was illustrated in the context of a non-IT services field.