Successful automation allows you to restructure your resources so that you can focus on less-skilled resources that convey problems that cannot be resolved quickly to more experienced workers.
The first challenge is determining what services you will provide. This is true regardless of whether it is an internal business unit or an external customer. Of course, once you understand what it takes to provide this SLA backed services, you can move on.
Once service is determined, a service level agreement (SLA) must be drawn up and expectations set. For many customers, SLAs are often "yesterday or as fast as possible." The challenge for IT is to understand all the parts that are required to provide this service.
What is often overlooked is the flow of agreements that need to be made. You need to find out who your partners and suppliers are involved in the service chain and how they meet your requirements before agreeing to an SLA with the company.
Agreeing to a level of service without knowing all the facts about providing service is a recipe for failure, but sadly it is all too common. For example, if you provide an email service that is supported by the email server. In the event of a server failure, your agreement with your provider is to repair or replace it within 24 hours.
However, if your subscribers get their email back within 1 hour, you are most likely outside your SLA for 23 hours. In this case, other resources must be considered, an eg. a backup email server.