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Service Design - Service Level Agreement (SLA)

During service level management, we negotiate Service Level Agreements with the customers (consumers) and design services in conformity with the agreed service level targets.

There are different types of SLA:

  • Service based SLA
  • Customer based SLA
  • Multi level SLA

Service Level Agreement
Typically a SLA contains the following information:

  • 1.Service name
  • 2.Clearance information (with location and date)
  • 3.Contract duration
  • 4.Description/ desired customer outcome
  • 5.Service and asset criticality
  • 6.Reference to further contracts which also apply (e.g. SLA Master Agreement)
  • 7.Service times
  • 8.Required types and levels of support
  • 9.Service level requirements/ targets
  • 10.Mandated technical standards and specification of the technical service interface
  • 11.Responsibilities
  • 12.Costs and pricing
  • 13.Change history
  • 14.List of annexes

SLA Example

A good example of an SLA is a hosting providers network availability guarantee. Availabilities are typically presented as percentages representing the time the network is guaranteed to be usable and working. For this particular SLA, percentages are usually calculated on a monthly basis, so if the SLA guarantees the network is available 99% of the time within a month, you agree that 1%, or roughly 7 hours, of down time is acceptable.

SLA's go a lot further than just promising figures or targets, they define the clauses that cover the agreement. These ensure that the customer and business knows precisely what is and what isn't covered by the SLA. So in our example, the SLA would clearly define what infrastructure is classed as the 'network' e.g. routers, switches and cabling, and also where the network extends too e.g. the outbound port on the border router.

In the event of an SLA not being met, the organisation usually outlines refund or compensation levels. These are also included in the SLA.

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