Strong service level agreements can protect your organization
SimpleSysAdmin.info. One of the most crucial element of engaged with tech vendors is establishing and managing strong Service Level Agreements or SLAs. IT’s strengths are in software, hardware, problem resolution, and now things have changed. Most IT vendors have some kind of service guarantees, and most corporate IT managers demand them.
Common issues with Service Level Agreements
In fact, this things about not really easy, and many issues that usually happened. For examples :
- Many IT guy from IT department sign contracts without thoroughly reading the fine print of the SLAs. Or they tacitly accept that the vendor is offering best-practice SLAs so they don’t need to review them. Or they think their companies are too small to challenge the vendor’s generic SLAs.
- You want modifying contracts but vendors said it’s not legal to modify the contract.
- Losing contract
Some solution about Service Level Agreements
But, now we can avoid that issues with this following solution :
1. Keep a record of SLA performance
Your vendor needs to know that you are serious about SLAs, so SLA performance must be monitored on a daily basis. Aberrations in performance should be clearly documented and dated and discussed with the vendor — immediately, if there is a production problem, and in vendor SLA meetings if performance is a trending issue.
2. Have regular SLA reviews with the vendor
SLAs should be reviewed with the vendor annually, at a minimum. Many companies opt for quarterly reviews. During these meetings, you and your vendor should review SLAs with a mutual understanding that they might need to be modified, since both business and IT continue to change. The meetings are good opportunities to discuss and to make these revisions.
3. Have SLAs defined for an exit strategy
One of the toughest IT projects is making a conversion from one vendor’s system to another. The vendor that is about to lose your account might not be very cooperative when it comes to moving your data (and account) to a competing vendor. Relations may even become stormy and hostile. You can avoid these situations if you include an SLA in your contract for “deconversions” and define the expected level of performance of the vendor in that situation.
Finally, here are three areas of service that SLAs may not necessarily address but that are important to discuss and define with your vendor before you sign a contract.
1. Disaster recovery testing
If you’re moving a mission-critical application to an outside vendor, you should have an SLA that requires at least one annual disaster recovery test and failover for the application that the vendor hosts. The SLA should specify a maximum amount of time allowed for failover.
2. Account stability
Vendors often put their best people on your account when you are first onboarded — and then assign you to a rep who is not as strong. When you negotiate your contract, reserve the right in writing to interview and/or meet an account rep before they are assigned to you. In this way, you have some control over the person you’re getting. This is important because the account rep is a vital link in day-to-day communications between your staff and your vendor.
Your vendor should be able to provide you with up-to-date financial and IT audits. Certainly, your own examiners will ask you for these. Requiring the latest updates of these documents for your files or access should be written into your contract as part of the expected IT governance from the vendor.