The Service Level Agreement
The existence of a quality service level agreement is of fundamental importance for any service or product delivery of any importance. It essentially defines the formal relationship between the supplier and the recipient, and is NOT an area for short-cutting.
It will embrace all key issues, and typically will define and/or cover:
The services to be delivered
Performance, Tracking and Reporting Mechanisms
Problem Management Procedures
Dispute Resolution Procedures
The Recipient's Duties and Responsibilities
Intellectual Property and Confidential Information Issues
This is an area which too often is not given sufficient attention. This can lead to serious problems with the relationship, and indeed, serious issue with respect to the service itself and potentially the business itself.
A COMMON ROUTE FORWARD
Increasingly common is the use of a template, or 'toolkit' to help ensure both the quality of the agreement, and that nothing has been over looked. By far the most widely used is 'The SLA Toolkit'. This is a comprehensive, largely MS-Word based product designed specifically to assist with this task. It includes:
A complete template for a service level agreement
An interactive guide to help you populate the above
A PowerPoint presentation to explain the SLA and what is required.
An audit questionnaire to help check an existing SLA
A presentation on the wider issue of Service Level Management to help set the context.
The SLA Toolkit is actually described on its own website. You can obtain further information from the following: