A Service Level Agreement is basically a contract between the service provider and the customer that takes into account the various parameters for the services such as the responsibilities, priorities and guarantees. It contains important sources of data and a track of goals that are not fulfilled.
An SLA highlights the important details involving the work, various resources and the deadlines. It mainly outlines the responsibilities and expectations of the parties involved. Thus the party which requires the work to be done gets a clear idea about what it can expect while the vendor that will carry on with the project will provide the customer with a true estimation of its abilities.
In this way the work that will be received will be legal and will not be available for individual interpretation. Thus one party cannot blame the other for not doing proper work. SLA proves useful in high value contracts as it can prevent mis-communication. It aims to preserve the interests of the parties that are involved in the agreement.
5 Things to Keep in Mind While Building Your SLA
While building an SLA you should consider five parts namely service description, service standards, duration, responsibilities and evaluation standard.
You need to write the description of the services so that the customer can understand the services that you can offer. It should include the services that you can provide along with the applications. You can gather the necessary information that is required in the catalogue by discussing it with your customer. You can also refer to the customers service desk in order to know the kind of services that the customers frequently request. This can give you a brief idea about the requirements of the customers.
You have to consider the standards that will contain concepts like the availability, reliability and the response. You will have to illustrate your regular operating timings in SLA. Availability should be decided according to your customers working business hours. The services that you provide should be able to support their processes during the same working hours.
Your SLA should clearly describe the duration of the agreement. Mention the beginning and expiry of the agreement in SLA. If you are revising the services at any point of time then you should have enough time in between to inform the details of the agreement to the customers. When you negotiate with the customers regarding the equipment lease then you have to enter long- term agreements with different service providers.
You should designate responsibilities to everyone in the SLA. It is difficult to fulfil the expectations of your customers if you do not allot responsibilities to each one. The obligations between you and your customer should be clearly defined. The responsibilities of your customers vary according to your corporate IT strategy. For instance, many companies emphasize on self service to hold a low cost position. If this is the case then you may feel the need to demand your customers review before they call the service desk. One more requirement might be that the customers are supposed to notify the incidents that took place to the service desk. The responsibility of a customer representative should be to convey the information of SLA to the customers. He should understand the concerns of the customers towards IT services. The responsibility of the service level manager is to maintain and report against the SLA to the customers.
Evaluation standard is important to have an objective in order to determine the performance of IT organization.
Main aspects of SLA
Some of the main aspects of SLA
- Description of the services undertaken.
- Standard of measuring the delivered services.
- Standard of the services.
- Line of action in times of delivery failure.
Components of SLA
A Typical SLA consists of two main components which are the service element and management element. The service element contains:
- Deadline for performing the request
- The necessary steps to be undertaken in case of failure to meet requirements
The SLA management element contains:
- Dispute solution process in case of disagreement
- A clause for protection against the third party rights.
So this were some of the basic stuffs we wanted to tell you about SLA. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and share your thoughts.