Service Level Agreements: Make Sure Your Sla Is A-ok

I hope that you like Alphabet Soup. Ready? If you outsource technology functions to an IT (Information Technology) provider like an ISP (Internet Service Provider) or ASP (Application Service Provider), you need an SLA (Service Level Agreement). Was that sentence fun or what? An SLA details the service levels you can expect from an outsourcer and the consequences for failing to achieve them. Consequences could include things like credits against future fees and the right to end the contract. Some SLAs add a carrot to the stick by including bonuses if the provider exceeds service levels. SLAs are not really a separate agreement, but should be an addendum to the main agreement with your outsourcer. While the main agreement will deal with things like warranties, price, payment, limitations of liability, indemnification, intellectual property, confidentiality and other basic terms, it''s your SLA that details things like downtime, response time, lost packets, ping times and other technical minutia, which used to only interest vampires turned techies. Now, as our reliance on technology has increased, these things interest or should interest CEOs, too.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

How should vendors handle SLAs?
How should the business customer approach SLAs offered by vendors?
Are all form agreements negotiable?

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