SV Group Services Service Level Agreement

Service Level Agreement

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is an excellent tool for creating shared understanding between a service provider and its customers about services and service delivery.

It is a communication tool that helps to manage expectations, clarify responsibilities, and provide an objective basis for assessing service effectiveness.

Contracted services are mostly a compromise (balance) between the quality and quantity of a delivered service and its price.

A SLA is not the solution for EVERY problem. If established in the wrong way or for the wrong reasons, it can create bigger problems than those it is trying to solve.

A SLA is a process and a product (document).

As a process, it is a formal negotiated means by which two or more parties can improve communications, build long-term relationships, and manage expectations about:

  • Services, service levels, and service quality
  • The responsibilities of each parity
  • The steps all parties can take to ensure a successful relationship

As a product, it is the document that captures the above information.

An agreement can be established:

  • between a service provider and its internal or external customers or
  • between any two or more parties that must interact to accomplish a task or achieve a common objective

An agreement is:

  • A communication tool
  • A conflict-prevention tool
  • A living document
  • An objective process for gauging service effectiveness

An agreement is not:

  • A ‘get’ strategy
  • A complaint-stifling mechanism
  • A unilateral decision-making process
  • A quick fix

Establishing an effective SLA requires much more than simply filling in the blanks of an SLA template or adapting a model agreement

What do we achieve by introducing a SLA?

  • Standardised service levels
  • Registered and documented service levels
  • Gauging mechanisms of service levels on both sides
  • A basis for service level improvement
  • Responsibility in a business process
  • Facilitated planning and ensuring resource means
  • Greater mobility of all participants in a business process
  • Optimised business process functioning
  • Better management and use of capital resources
  • A balance between benefits and price
  • Experience and know-how in “outsourcing” negotiations
  • Acquisition of the culture of providing and (using) receiving services
  • Work satisfaction on both sides
  • Improved provider understanding of customers’ needs and priorities
  • Clearer customer expectations of provider capabilities
  • Consistency between parties in evaluating service effectiveness
  • A context for focusing on continuous improvement
  • A competitive edge over other providers that don’t use agreements
  • Less time lost in resolving conflicts between the parties
  • Contribution to ISO9000 certification.

How to establish a SLA?

We should undertake the following steps (this is an example of steps, in a time period, to be undertaken in order to establish a SLA. Depending on a given situation, some steps can be avoided, some added or changed):

  • Carry out resource inventory
  • Determine how the existing resources are used
  • Determine the present service levels for those services that will be documented by a SLA
  • Determine (agree on) customer needs (and wishes)
  • Establish the price (costs) for the present service level
  • Determine whether the wished service levels can be achieved and maintained
  • Write the SLA
  • Maintain / improve the SLA.

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