A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a negotiated agreement designed to create a common understanding about services, priorities and responsibilities. This is a useful tool that can help service providers and their customers better manage their expectations of each other.
A good and properly created SLA takes effort and a certain level of rapport between the service provider and buyer. Both parties have to recognise that SLA serves as : –
- A communication tool – only through effective communication, achieving mutual understanding of interests can both parties establish a SLA
- Conflict-reduction tool – due to shared understanding of needs and priorities, SLA can deter unnecessary conflict between two parties
- Living document – the terms and agreement in SLA are subjected to changes as both parties constantly reviews and adjust changes to address changes in needs and priorities.
- Basis for gauging service effectiveness – the SLA process ensures that relevant parties work together to identify the criteria they will use to evaluate service quality.
With that said, service levels in modern outsourcing contracts are not intended to cover all aspects of services, and do not measure all things that can be measured. They are used to focus on the most important aspects of the services, and are limited to those parts which can be objectively measured in the form of key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs can also be a way that describe services.
Why do SLA fail?
With so many guidance and emphasis on creating a good SLA, why do they fail? Here are some of the reasons why: –
- Over complex and lengthy SLAs
- Lack of technology and tools that can report on performance against SLA targets
- Unclear expectations
- Unrealistic objects and goals
- Inadequate time and resources
- And many more…
To implement an effective and feasible SLA, there need to be a an effective SLM (Service Level Management) in place. SLM is the key interface between business unit and customers. SLM can make or break the relationship with the customers of the service provider. It should be seen as strategic and tactical rather than operational.
SLM ought to comprise of people who are equipped with the necessary skills such as relationship management, project management, communication, negotiation and presentation as well as a good understanding of the organisation’s and service provider’s business.
Implementing & Managing Successful Service Level Agreements is a 2-day course that equip relevant personnel with the right skill to design, develop, implement and world class SLAs for their organisation. The course will be delivered by a renown trainer who has over 40 years of experience in the area of services management, and participants will learn how to identify, define and deliver services that are agile and provide organisation with a sustainable competitive advantage. For more information, please visit us at http://www.opuskinetic.com/training or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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