SLA, Challenge your service providers !
As part of maintenance management contract, it’s now systematic to integrate a definition of service commitments, or SLAs, for Service Level Agreement.
SLA can be a global contract, or a section of it. It defines contours of the service in an intelligible and understandable way, in order to identify appropriate evaluation citeria.
It is crucial to control its content, and to indentify its limits and opportunities. If a service is not delivered in accordance with the negotiated agreements, SLA may be confronted to the provider to protect the product’s Business Value.
1. Control your SLA, supervise its redaction
First step, define specifics elements of the service : services accurately described, management perimeters, security and price. This is the heart of the service, required clarity is maximum, each element must be isolated to ensure optimal measurement.
The seconde part involves solutions that supplier will provide in case of problem : response time to a breakdown, availability rate, third parties interventions. At this point in the contract, we anticipate possible issues, we ensure the professionalism of provider. Beware of clauses that are vague or rejected in annexed documents, which often reveal major gaps.
The last point concerns anticipation of conflict: cancellation condition, complaints, intellectual property, applicable law. As information has removed many borders, it’s not surprising to see, for example, data stored in a country witch a very different legal framework from our own. What would happen in cas of a disagreement ? Would data be recoverable ?
2. Monitoring and reporting, your two partners to challenge SLA
Back to our first step. Defining elements of the service and not rough outlines is a major strength : we can supervise them in detail and, by the way, measure their performance.
As we note in our White Paper, many organizations have found, via performance measurement, that contractual targets were not achieved, and that organisazation’s inefficiency resulted from poor management by a service provider.
This is why reporting has another advantage : its regularity makes it possible to keep awake provider, and thus to ensure that the service is correctly and continuously executed.