SLA or a Service Level Agreement is a document highlighting the measurable metrics and results the customer expects to receive and the contractor is bound to provide. We list the SLA benefits below.
While SLAs were around for quite some time, they became really popular about a decade ago, when the outsourcing culture began dominating the IT industry. It was only natural that when the customers delegated certain tasks to an outsourcing IT service provider they wanted to retain full control over the service quality and appropriate resource spending.
Thus said, they needed certain metrics and indicators (like the app server/ web service uptime, support ticket response time, issue resolution time, etc.) to show the service was delivered with an appropriate level of efficiency. All of this is laid out and regulated by the SLA, yet the document has to cover much more points nowadays.
Below are the basic SLA benefits a reliable IT service provider should provide:
- Definition of the agreeing parties, the goal of the agreement and the scope of agreement
- The exact timing (days and hours in UTC) when the service will be delivered
- The guaranteed variables (the number of users the service must support without any issues, the issue resolution time, the ticket response time, the number and the types of issues covered by the SLA monthly, etc.) and the numerable metrics to evaluate the quality of the service provided
- Mutual responsibilities of the customer and the IT services provider
- The procedure of incident report creation (including the time needed to prepare the report)
- The procedure of the service request execution (including the time needed to do this)
- The procedure of the change request implementation (including the specification of the tasks completed and working hours spent)
- The list of all payments and billing specifics (both lump sum and divided by categories)
- Dispute resolution policy
- The procedure of SLA amendment
However, these are merely the MUST HAVE points. True IT outsourcing market leaders provide much more value to their customers.
Additional SLA benefits that make the difference
- Proactive troubleshooting — we perform the audit of the existing workflow and infrastructure, identify the existing bottlenecks and provide the recommendations for improving the situation and prevent the issues from occurring in the future.
- Unlimited incidents — we do not have a cap on SLA-covered incidents and will work until we fix all the issues. However, a repetitive incident appearance indicates a problem or a bottleneck, so we act according to the point №1. Fixing the issue for good is much better than permanent firefighting to remove the consequences, isn’t it?
- Payment upon completion — we provide post-service invoices with a detailed list of services delivered and appropriate pricing. If the customers have any objections, we negotiate until reaching mutual satisfaction. If there indeed was our fault, we provide discounts or service credits to ensure the customer enjoys the positive outcome of the situation.
Working in accordance with these principles ensures our leading position on the Ukrainian IT outsourcing market and long-term appreciation from our partners, some of whom work with us for more than 9 years already.
Conclusions on Service Level Agreement basics and SLA benefits
Negotiating an SLA is a mutually beneficial action both for a business that needs some IT work done and an IT service provider. The customer gets guaranteed service quality and the service provider works within precisely defined responsibilities and tasks. Working according to SLA guarantees predictable resource spending, swift issue resolution, uninterrupted end-user experience and boosts the brand loyalty. Isn’t it what every business needs?
SLA benefits: why do you need SLA and what does it cover was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.