For any business outsourcing its IT support services, it is crucial to obtain a concise SLA. Besides costing businesses a tremendous amount of money, a failed tech support or customer service outsourcing project can result in diminished customer satisfaction. It, in turn, affects the business’s revenue. Too many failed outsourcing efforts could be a death warrant for a company.
IT support and services outsourcing failures often happen when managers fall short to set goals and expectations. Not having defined goals leads to an increase in service cost, delay in results and degradation of quality. In order to have a successful outsourcing project, the manager must define clear objectives of the project. Here, SLA serves as a backbone in setting these objectives and goals. Besides this, SLAs defines roles and responsibilities, provides a channel of communication for the service provider and the outsourcer and tackles disputes and conflicts. SLAs are also used to track the efficiency of the service provider.
As per Naomi Karten, a Service Level Agreement is a negotiated agreement that defines objectives, clarifies job roles and responsibilities of the parties involved and aid in steam lined communication between them.
Businesses outsourcing their tech services and support for the first time should ensure that their Service Level Agreement has these following things mentioned.
Context Setting Information
It works as an overview for the SLA. It documents the purpose of the SLA, defines individual parties involved and expiry date of the contract. Additionally, it includes a statement on other details the SLA covers.
Description of Services
This section on an SLA describes the services that would be provided and not provided by the company undertaking the support services. This part of the agreement outlines the objectives of the partnership specifically.
Besides stating the services which would be received by the business, it is also essential to set conditions on which the service provider would provide these services. The Service standard section helps both the party define a clear understanding on what terms the functions stated in the SLA would be performed.
Tracking the effectiveness of a project is key to its success. Through service tracking and reporting, both the party identifies the methods to assess the effectiveness of the measures undertaken to perform a particular support service. Setting a good set of metrics that mirrors the goals of a project can help to track the success of the outsourced project effectively.
The SLA should also mention how often the business would conduct a project review. Even if things are moving as per the plan, a periodic review is a must to ensure unhindered communication between the parties. This section of the agreement states the parameters that will govern the periodic evaluation of the project.
Change Process of Service Level Agreement
This section of the Service Level Agreement states how to address the changes in the agreement, services, and tasks. It offers a tool to modify the contract without affecting the workings. An ideal SLA should provide a clearly defined mechanism to make the transition.