The benefits of Service Level Agreements in custom Enterprise software consulting

What is a Service Level Agreement?

  • Service — specifically, the service or action that the provider supplies, for example, a mobile phone carrier provides telephony services.
  • Measurement — the metrics that quantify the service. For the mobile phone carrier, it might be the ‘five nines of uptime’, 99.999% service.
  • Performance Standards — dictating the expected quality of the services as decided by the end-user, with benchmarks built in to measure the actual delivery.
  • Terms and Conditions — yes, they pop up here as well. Things like the length of the service provided, and the minimum and maximum response times to a ticket or issue.
  • Service Violations — What if the provider fails at some part of the service? There are safeguards in the SLA that will protect the client, perhaps with a reduction in monthly costs, special discounts, or free service.

The benefits of a Service Level Agreement

SLA parameters

Negotiating an SLA? What to consider

  • Clear meetings and interaction with the service provider before anything is written down, so I can outline our wishes and they can clear them with their teams.
  • Ask the provider to supply a copy of a real SLA that is operating at the moment, so we have some idea of what to ask for and what to expect.
  • Decide on operating hours and channels of communication.
  • If our requirements are accepted by the provider, I would ask for a draft document in plain language, without any professional terms, so that my team can study it.
  • Agree on specific timelines for response, ticket resolution and availability.
  • Request a Continual Service Improvement review on a regular agreed basis.
  • A reporting phase that is comfortable to both parties, with monitoring and metrics.
  • Agree key performance indicators.
  • Clear service violation markers for any breach of service provided, agreed between the two parties.
  • Look forward to a long and strong relationship with our new business partners!

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iteo is an international technology consultancy & software engineering company, founded in Poland. Visit us on www.iteo.com