What is an SLA ?

SLA which stands for service-level agreement is a document that defines the level of service that the customer should expect from an IT vendor.

It states the how the vendor’s service would be measured and any solutions or penalties that would be applied if the agreed service levels are not achieved.

SLA’s can be external i.e. between a customer and an external supplier or internal between the IT department and other departments in the organization.

But why do I need an SLA?

SLAs are an important part of an IT vendor contract.

The SLA clearly states the metrics, responsibilities and expectations of the IT vendor services so that if there are any issues in the future, both parties have a shared understanding of the planned resolution and penalties.

So what is included in an SLA?

The SLA should include a description of the services to be provided, their expected service levels, how these services would be measured, the responsibilities of each party involved, the remedies or penalties for breach of contract, and how new metrics would be added or removed.

The SLA should include two main parts which are: services and management.

  1. Service: the service part of the SLA contract would include details on the services being provided, the service availability, each party’s responsibilities, the issue resolution process, and service costs.
  2. Management: the management part of the SLA contract would include definitions of metrics, service frequency, a dispute resolution process, and how the agreement can be updated.