What Is A Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
Technology is now service-driven — the scope and scale of IT deployments make it impossible for companies to tackle everything on their own. But how do organizations ensure they’re getting the best value for their IT service budget? How do they measure service delivery and take action if commitments aren’t met?
Service level agreements for IT services bridge the gap between promises and practical implementation. Here’s what you need to know about drafting and deploying SLAs to enhance your IT impact.
What Does a SLA Stand for in Information Technology?
If physical technologies break, the solution is simple: repair or replace. If they’re covered under manufacturer warranties, there’s no cost to your organization; if the problem lies outside this scope, you’re on the hook. But what about services? Hardware performs a specific function — services are more nebulous. Who’s responsible when things don’t work as intended?
This is the role of a service level agreement. It acts as a contract that defines and documents the IT services supplied by a provider, what standards they’re obligated to meet and what remedies exist if these standards aren’t met.
One simple example of an SLA focuses on uptime. Many service providers now offer 99.999 percent uptime for network connections, SaaS deployments sand storage resources. SLAs put this uptime in writing and describe any remedies or penalties. In our example, 99.999 percent uptime equates to just over five minutes of unplanned downtime per year. SLAs may specify the commercial ramifications of incremental downtime .
How Information Technology SLAs Are Used
Information technology SLAs help quantify the delivery of IT services. This allows companies to assess the effectiveness of providers in areas such as help desk support, on-demand security deployment and asset management. It also provides a basis to terminate provider contracts if service levels are consistently unmet.
In addition, SLAs allow organizations to quantify the IT services they’re paying for and better define their technology roadmap. By articulating exactly what each provider delivers through an SLA, companies avoid overspending on overlapping technologies or underprovisioning key services if provider promises don’t meet expectations.
Benefits of Implementing a Service Level Agreement
If you’re using IT services, you benefit from an SLA. Key advantages include:
- Simplicity — SLAs define services in black and white, making it easy to identify top providers and supplier shortfalls.
- Scalability — Service-level agreements can scale with your business to meet increasing IT needs.
- Specificity — Metrics, resolutions and responsibilities are clearly laid out, making it easier to articulate service issues.
While most providers now have a standard SLA for prospective customers, always review the contract with your legal counsel and ask for necessary changes. Don’t sign until you’re satisfied — and walk away if you aren’t.
The ITS Advantage
At Innovative Technology Solutions, we’re committed to end-user satisfaction that drives productivity, optimizes system performance and delivers measurable infrastructure ROI with industry leading SLAs that are both trustworthy and transparent.
Ready to take your IT service to the next level of efficiency and strategic value? Let’s talk.