Service level agreements (SLAs) are a list of objectives, services, and responsibilities a customer can expect suppliers or managed services providers (MSPs) to provide. SLAs also include metrics for measuring the accuracy and extent to which MSPs provide those services as well as potential penalties if the levels of service specified by the agreement aren’t maintained. While SLAs are typically negotiated between customers and service providers, it’s not unheard of for departments within the same company to create their own service agreements.
SLAs are especially important for MSPs, since they help to ensure you’re meeting your agreed-upon responsibilities—while also protecting your business in case a customer asks for services that exceed those outlined in the agreement. SLAs can also specify responsibilities on the part of the customer as well, such as ensuring a representative is available to help address issues pertaining to the service agreement.
There are several commonly used metrics that measure the success or efficiency of SLAs—and these can be effectively managed by certain SLA tools and software solutions. So here are a few things to keep in mind before you start negotiating service agreements.
What Is SLA Management?
Broadly defined, SLA management is the ongoing process of ensuring all provided services and processes—including the underlying contracts—are in alignment with the agreed-upon service level targets stipulated by the contract. From the creation of help desk tickets to retrospective reporting and regular customer feedback, SLA monitoring helps to protect your business—and ensure your customers are satisfied.
Because strong SLAs will specify the measurement criteria for the agreed upon services and responsibilities, proper SLA management also involves remaining attentive to those metrics.
Common Service Level Agreement Metrics