Find out what a service level agreement (SLA) is and the growing importance as businesses increasingly turn to external suppliers.
Service level agreement (SLA) is the document that illustrates what both parties should expect from a business service contract. It is important that there are clear definitions of what a Service level agreement (SLA) is and the obligations and best practices of both parties regarding the service level agreement.
Where are SLAs used?
Service level agreements are most common in the provision of business services. This can range from office services through to accountancy. Service level agreement for leased lines are particularly found in IT services.
The importance of a Service level agreement for leased lines is that they can define key aspects including the connection speed. They can also govern the time taken to resolve problems, contention ratios on internet connections, system uptimes, availability and more. For this reason, SLAs are most commonly encountered in technology services.
What needs to be included in a service level agreement?
The SLA is there to set out customer expectations. It does this by specifying metrics in various areas to allow the service to be measured against the agreement. Therefore the service level agreement for leased lines might cover the following:
Here are some of the things you might expect to see:
- Uptime and availability – this sets out the percentage of time the customer can expect that services will be available.
- Performance benchmarks – measurements against which the service provider can be compared to see if it’s meeting the provisions of the agreement.
- Response time – in the case of cloud applications, the time in which the software should deliver a response. This will usually be specified as a range.
- Notice of changes – the amount of advance warning the service provider must give before making any changes to the service that may affect users.
- Helpdesk services – this will set out the help desk service provided, together with response times that can be expected for different classes of problems.
- Statistics and reporting – defining the statistics and reports that the service provider will offer and the intervals at which they’ll be provided.
SLA Enforcement Provisions
Service level agreement for leased lines will cover penalties and other enforcement options. If standards set out in the agreement aren’t met, the SLA will set out the compensation rules to the customer in the event of failure.
The service level agreement for leased lines will also cover exclusions. This will include customer misusing the service or events beyond the control of either party. Once again, it will set out what happens and what remedies are available in the event of such an occurrence.
When signing up for almost any IT or communications service, you will be offered an SLA. You must carefully look at what’s included and ensure that it is in line with your expectations.
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