Perhaps one of the biggest misunderstands surrounding Service Level Agreements, or SLAs, is that this is far from a simplistic document. While it’s true that these documents are designed to define the performance of your service based upon a set of pre-determined parameters, its included clauses are designed to clearly cover all provisions, obligations, reporting methodologies, rewards and punishments for not meeting these designated metrics.
There is a host of elements that work together to cultivate a well-rounded Service Level Agreemen; however, the following three steps are considered the essential foundation of any carefully constructed SLA.
Establish Your Service Parameters
Perhaps the most important step when it comes to cultivating a thorough Service Level Agreement is the establishment of your server parameters. Before going forward with the creation process, it’s essential to create the performance parameters for your service. While you must meet industry-standard performance metrics, delve deeper into how your business will meet and/or exceed these metrics. It’s only when this is successfully accomplished you can move on to the next steps.
Disaster Recovery Pland and Prevention Methods
Unexpected disasters are an unfortunate reality for all businesses. When it comes to the digital services you render, a Service Level Agreement must clearly define how your business plans to handle a disaster, should one occur. Along with details how servers are backed up and how sensitive information is archived for protection, it’s essential to detail the exact methods your business uses to protect and prevent a disaster of any size. Along with this information, make sure your SLA outlines the steps that are to be taken should a disaster affect their data or server performance. Remember, only outline a method of disaster recovery and prevention that your business can adhere to. False statements regarding disaster recovery could result in legal action should a disaster occur and steps found on the SLA aren’t followed.
Provider and Customer Obligations
This is one of the most personalized sections within a Service Level Agreement, as it specifically refers to your specific service or product. That being noted, your business must establish a set of parameters when it comes to the various obligations of both the provider (your business) and the customer/client. For example, a customer obligation may be to provide necessary documentation to support the creation of their product. A provider’s obligation may be to deliver a product or service within a specified time frame. Regardless, this is one of the most important sections to fill out in great detail. The more room you leave for interpretation within this section, the greater your likelihood of an unpleasant customer encounter. Leave no rock unturned, as they say.