SLA stands for Service Level Agreement. It is a document that is a written agreement between a service provider and a client and defines the expected level of service. SLA refers to such things as quality, availability, timeliness, etc. Usually, it includes two main components: measurable metrics and specified penalties. Sometimes, it may even have some rewards for compliance, but that’s a very rare case.
Remember that pizza that is promised to be delivered in 30 minutes or you will get your money back? That’s exactly what an SLA is. In the IT world, the most basic example would be an SLA of a website hosting company.Get a quote
Usually, they offer a 99.9% uptime and will reduce your monthly payment by a given percentage or even cancel it if they fail to keep a promise. Another scope of SLA application is outsourcing, especially in IT. It’s not only widespread but also valuable for both parties.
For a client, it’s, first of all, an assurance of the quality of service that he’s going to get. This is super important because these days most business operations heavily rely on the company’s IT-infrastructure and one little failure in hardware, software or network can stop the whole work process. Think of fails in the banking system and financial loss they suffer in just fifteen minutes of malfunction.
For a service provider, an SLA is price reasoning. It’s proof that the service is worth its money and better than other offers on the market.Get a quote
Usually, SLA is concluded between a company and an external supplier of services.
But these days it’s also very common to have an SLA between two departments within a company or just to define the internal customer service standards or any other aspects of a company operation. For example, a marketing and sales team can have an SLA agreement about the lead processing time.
Sales managers promise that when they get a qualified lead from marketers they will handle the deal within a certain time frame.
Also, companies often create internal SLA’s just to test out before taking them to the public. For example, you can create a customer service standard like response time and if your team hits the target, you can safely promise it to your customers.
There are three types of SLA that are used these days:
This is an agreement between partner companies that sets a specific standard for service or support. Usually, it comes in a form of a contract.
This type of SLA is a company’s guarantee to all individual customers using a specific service or product. Mostly this is a public business proposal.
Multilevel SLL is basically a mix of two previous types of SLA. The agreement is split into several levels, each addressing different sets of customers for the same services.
SLA clearly states metrics, responsibilities, and expectations of all parties and ensures that both have the same understanding. Moreover, it helps to avoid controversy if anything goes wrong.
Any contract without an associated SLA is open to deliberate interpretation and in case of any issues makes it hard to protect rights.
Long story short — seek professional help. There are two reasons. Firstly, every business situation is unique and you won’t be able to find a template that will help in your specific case.
Secondly, there are a lot of pitfalls which you may not foresee without a lot of experience in the matter.
Luckily, we have it.