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Service Level Agreement

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A Service Level Agreement " SLA " is a document that establishes agreements on the standards of a service or product. In the ICT world, this type of document is in the form of a formal contract between the implementation partner and the company that purchases the software. An SLA takes care that both parties know what to expect, and also, it's a judicial means to make these agreements come true.

What are the most important clauses in an SLA?

An SLA can have many forms. Depending on the type of company and the service or product obtained, they will be more relevant. However, there are certain basic elements that usually arise in almost all SLA:

- Description and specification of the service or product;
- Description of the demarcation of a service or product " which isn't included ";
- Duration of the contract and the conditions to extend it;
- Description of the procedures for data security;
- Establishment of the rate and terms and forms of payments;
- Frequency of feedback reports on the service;
- Establishment of responsibilities between both parties;
- Description of the conditions of occasional changes in the service;
- Description of the conditions of a possible suspension of the SLA;
- Establishment of sanctions for breach of agreements.

The wording of the clauses in a Service Level Agreement

Apart from the content of the agreement, it's also important how that agreement is drawn up. The way of writing used for the different clauses is subdivided into two types:

- The performance requirements
- The restrictions

The performance requirements are written in the form of obligations for the supplier. These requirements are often established based on the key performance indicators " KPI ". Some examples of these performance requirements are agreements about the time of activity " expressed in percentages, for example " or the maximum response time for problem solving.

The restrictions are the agreements that the part of the company that buys the product or service. In this way, the supplier can, for example, determine that he undertakes to deal with the problem in 24 hours, provided that the customer reports the problem before 3 business days have elapsed.

SLA evaluation

An important part of the service level agreement is its evaluation. It's always difficult to immediately establish in a contract all situations that may occur, when drafting said contract. Often, new requirements will arise after a couple of months that haven't yet been agreed in the SLA. It may also be that the company is carrying out changes that influence the SLA. A case that'll be drafted in the agreement may be to incorporate the safety standards of a provider. If new laws related to data security are created, conditions may need to be modified. When a change is necessary, a company or a supplier can make a change request, better known by its term Request for Change " RFC ". Depending on the nature of the change, the SLA may be modified, also even if the duration of the contract hasn't yet been established.

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