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The Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are fundamental to business continuity. The bottom line is that they define your minimum levels of availability from key suppliers, and often determine what actions will be taken in the event of serious disruption. As a consequence, they require full consideration and attention and must be constructed extremely carefully. This is NOT an area in which to cut corners.

The Service Level Agreement will be wide in scope, covering all key aspects of the service. Typically, it will fully embrace such issues as problem management, compensation (often essential in terms of motivation), warranties and remedies, resolution of disputes and legal compliance. It essentially frames the relationship, and determines the major responsibilities, both in times of normal operation and during an emergency situation.

The difficulty, as ever, is usually where to start. With a blank piece of paper? This is not usually a good idea... not specifically because of the amount of effort involved, but also because of the greater risk of missing, or perhaps not properly documenting, a major issue.

Fortunately, there are resources available to assist. One of the most comprehensive is the SLA Toolkit.

This toolkit offers substantial help and includes:

  • A full Service Level Agreement Template

  • An interactive guide to help you complete the template

  • A checklist/questionnaire to audit an existing SLA

  • A training presentation to help you understand service level agreements more fully

  • A training guide on service level concepts

The SLA Toolkit is fully documented on its own website: The Service Level Agreement and SLA Toolkit. It is highly recommended.


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