SLA Based Services

Components of a Service Level Agreement

Although the details of service level agreements (SLAs) are as varied as the services that could be covered by them, a comprehensive SLA will ordinarily include the following elements:

  1. Service description: What does the service provider do?
  2. Reliability: When should the service be available?
  3. Responsiveness: How quickly should services be delivered?
  4. Reporting procedure: How and to whom should problems be reported? What reporting process is used in routine tasks (if any)?
  5. Performance monitoring: How will performance be monitored, who will monitor it, and how will it be measured?
  6. Penalties for failure to meet obligations: What penalties will be implemented if the service provider fails to perform as stipulated?
  7. Constraints: Under what circumstances will the terms of the service level agreement be waived?

Service level agreements benefit both parties by providing absolute clarity as to what can be expected from the business relationship. The key to a service level agreement’s success lies in the metrics that are applied to determine whether the service provider is keeping their end of the bargain. It’s worth remembering the old saw “You get what you measure.”

Thus, measurability is important. Quantifiable measurements are clear and specific and can be divided into targets representing preferred performance and minimums indicating acceptable performance. Incentives and penalties can be built in along with a clause indicating when the client or service provider is entitled to terminate the agreement.

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