Service Level Agreement Best Practices
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are a substantial part of our IT support and maintenance contracts. Over the years, we have gained valuable insights into what the best practices in regard to Service Level Agreements are and incorporated them into our contracts. We would like to share the knowledge we gained as an IT service provider in the past decades, as there are a few things to consider for your next contract including SLAs.
What are Service Level Agreements (SLAs)?
Service Level Agreement or SLA are part of a contract (in our case IT support or maintenance contracts) between a service provider and their customer that define exactly what service are expected and what will be provided at which terms.
Profit from our long-standing experience in all things IT and Service Level Agreement best practices.
Four Best Practices for Service Level Agreement
Best Practice no. 1 – communication is key
The Service Level Agreement should always be the result of clearly communicated needs and expectations on the side of the customer, and clearly explained level and quality of service that is currently state-of-the-art and can be provided by the service provider. Sounds logical? Yes, however, very often, both sides view a situation from out of their own bubble. Or watermelon, as this effect is often referred to as Watermelon effect. Let us look at an example. Your company requires high availability for one of their IT services. The service level agreed upon is 99,9%. Sounds pretty good, right? What that means is, that with the service running 24/7 for 365 days a year, over the course of the year, a downtime of 8,75 hours is the maximum to stay within the agreed upon service level. So, a downtime of 2 hours is well with limits, all in the green for the service provider. You, as the customer, however, who might be unable to access important services for 2 hours, might see red, like the inside of a watermelon. Knowing exactly which services are highly important at which times of the day and for which department, will help keeping a focus on keeping these up and you, the customer, happy.
Best Practice no. 2 – set up different service levels for different services
Different IT services have different levels of importance for the daily business of an organization. To make Service Level Agreements more cost efficient for both, our customers and ourselves, we advise to set up different service levels for highly critical services that need a 24/7 uptime or high level of user support, and, as an example, for services like regular infrastructure maintenance that can be planned in advance.
Best Practice no. 3 – adjust SLAs for different departments or branch offices
This best practice also helps to reduce cost, as not all of an organization’s departments or branch offices might need to same level of service. Smaller branch offices might only be open a few days a week and not host any critical IT infrastructure. Having a separate Service Level Agreement for cases like that will reduce the monthly fixed costs. It is best to review each location and set up the Service Level accordingly.
Best Practice no. 4 – review and adjust the Service Level Agreement at least once a year
Businesses grow and so does their IT infrastructure. New hardware or software solutions might have increased but also reduced the number of service requests. It makes sense to review the needs of an organization in regard to their IT infrastructure maintenance and IT support in generals and adjust the service levels accordingly. Though this might result in an increase of the monthly fixed service costs, it will save you from unexpected bills for services not covered in your flat-rate IT support package.
25 years of experience resulting in SLA best practices
We have been in the business for 25 years. Our experienced IT technicians are highly trained experts in IT maintenance and IT support and constantly strive to stay on top of new IT developments. Working together with hundreds of satisfied customers has contributed to our experience in providing the best Service Level Agreements.
Contact us for more information on our SLAs
If you would like to know more about the best practices we build our Service Level Agreements on, or if you would like to get a price estimate for a specific IT solution for your business or organization, do not hesitate to contact us. We will get back to you with a tailor-made offer asap.
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