A service level agreement is an integral part in any business partnership, as it defines the relationship between the vendor and the client. A SLA is a written contract which determines the parameters for services including responsibilities, deliverables, priorities and guarantees/warranties. Clients looking for IT services generally prefer IT vendors who make service level agreements with a clear roadmap of how to achieve goals of the project along as well as clarity regarding the terms and conditions of the service. Any IT company seeking the services of an outsourcing company would prefer to sign a SLA with the vendor company.
Service level agreements make IT service management very easy, especially in the IT industry, wherein clients are concerned about any downtime in mission-critical softwares supporting their business. One small malfunction in IT operations can affect the bottom line of businesses. To prevent such malfunctions, clients as well as vendors prefer to sign service level agreements in order to define the rules and regulations and ensure the delivery of promised IT services.
A SLA gives the network administrator the complete details on application availability and is a great way of measuring application performance. Administrators can also undertake IT service management by utilizing the appropriate monitoring tools to ensure that the services meet SLA criteria.
Service level agreements are customized according to the client’s requirements and essentially differ from case to case. However, it is worth examining here what an SLA generally consists of. Some of the important aspects of a SLA are:
- Description of the services being promised
- Methods through which the services will be delivered
- Criteria through which delivered services will be measured
- Quality standards of the services promised
- Line of action in case of failure of delivery
Having a service level agreement is applicable and advantageous to both the client as well as the vendor. IT administrators strive to ensure application availability and application performance so that it meets the SLA criteria. It lays down the basic rules for both parties concerned and becomes a point of reference in case of discrepancies. Some of the major advantages of a SLA are:
- It is an evidence of the agreement between the two parties
- Enables IT service management
- Sets a criteria for quality of services provided
- Paves the way for methods to be followed for delivery of services
- Makes the terms and conditions clear in case of discrepancies between both parties
- Clarifies goals to be achieved
- Creates a standard in the level of service
- Becomes a point of comparison for service improvement