By Umme Sutarwala - March 24, 2021 3 Mins Read
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) serve as a vital tool for all IT leaders to get the most from their service providers. They set the expectations and the standard of service for technology vendors and service providers. With IT under heavy pressure to deliver business outcomes rather than technology outcomes, SLAs are frequently being structured to measure quantifiable business outcomes.
SLAs are an integral part of every outsourcing and technology vendor agreement. Beyond listing expectations of service quality and variety, an SLA offers assistance when requirements are not fulfilled.
Here are some Service Level Agreement (SLA) effective practices CIOs can consider for negotiating, designing, measuring, and managing SLAs today.
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Intelligent IT leaders know that negotiation does not mean concession. It’s vital to have a mutually accepted pathway for providing the service that the customer expects. IT leaders specifically must work with providers on forfeits and opt-out clauses. A robust SLA has provisions for jointly agreed-upon financial and non-financial penalties when service agreements are not fulfilled. Without that, an SLA is not worth much.
One of the most prevalent blunders is to incorporate performance metrics that are rigorously evaluated and unattainable. This usually occurs when the customer requests for it and the service provider is exceptionally willing to oblige. Therefore, it may cause the agreement to come through, but the journey to success becomes turbulent as the metrics can’t be accomplished.
When businesses create SLAs, they must understand that vendor competence in performing tasks will develop gradually. Therefore, it’s critical to progressively narrow SLAs with time. This stimulates vendors to update and remain accretive to the connection frequently.
Sometimes combination metrics integrate various factors. These factors can be effective if they are similar and properly aligned. But organizations should try to avoid creating something too complicated that the average worker may have trouble understanding their impact.
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Several IT businesses and their providers are evolving from process or input-based measurements to output or outcome-centric metrics. According to CIOs, the most intriguing shift is from SLAs to XLAs (experience level agreements). These measurements mostly focus on the business results of the service being provided link directly to end-user fulfillment. With businesses getting more customer-centric, they need more sophisticated SLA targets to reflect that.
If a business has a partner contract based on results irrelevant to those with the service integrator, they can’t hope for changed behavior or performance. Hence, it is advised to keep amending contracts as and when situations change.
To deliver the right business outcomes through SLAs and service integration is no less than a marathon. IT leaders need to develop muscle memory in elucidating their role and knowing the money they spend related to the business outcomes or advantages. Building continuous competence around value realization in SLAs helps obtain a distinct understanding between investment and performance.
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Umme Sutarwala is a Global News Correspondent with OnDot Media. She is a media graduate with 2+ years of experience in content creation and management. Previously, she has worked with MNCs in the E-commerce and Finance domain
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