Service Level Agreements: What Are They and Why Do You Need Them?

Service Level Agreements: What Are They and Why Do You Need Them?

We live in times where the trust factor is becoming less credible when it comes to money and business matters. Gone are the days when just by giving a word or just by promising something, an unquestionable agreement, without any documentation, was taken for granted and nobody thought of breaching it. But as we have now advanced into a world wherein the value of a promise is almost void and so arose the need of having legal agreements and treaties that bind people by what they promised to the other party/parties. Any breach in such agreement now results in legal action, imprisonment and monetary fines. The need of agreements at different levels and of different types has now become a sheer necessity to save ourselves from losses.

Among all other agreement types, in business terms, the value and need for creating a Service Level Agreement (SLA) has increased over the years. Today, almost all companies entering into a contract or deed make a Service Level Agreement to ensure that whatever is promised is duly delivered by the other party or by themselves without any scope of breach or delays.

In business terms, Service Level Agreements can be defined as important documents that hold the record which has detailed specification of the services to be delivered as agreed to between the parties in contract. The importance of Service Level Agreements also extends to the fact that it tracks the goals accomplished and conditions that the company failed to achieve. A person who drafts the Service Level Agreement (SLA) has to be very careful as to what all terms and conditions he/she is putting down on the agreement as even if a small point is miscommunicated or written wrongly, it may prove to be of great loss to the company. Drafting of an SLA requires listing down of rules that tell as to how the work will be measured and how the performance will be measured; it even lays down the quality of products/services expected and the quality promised to deliver.

Most of the companies and multinationals do have their own SLAs ready at the time of hiring a vendor or service provider to keep things clear between the parties. The need for making a Service Level Agreement is that it brings the involved parties together, who eventually pen down the points of service, responsibilities to be taken, work outline, deadlines and resources, expected results and the promise that the best will be done within the best quoted price.

Normally, a service level agreement contains points like the description of the services that the company is promising to deliver and by what means and methods will these be delivered. The criteria for measuring the quality of services rendered, the quality standards and what would happen in case the company fails to deliver the services on time. Making a Service Level Agreement is a beneficial step as with an SLA, you get some advantages like the agreement will be an official proof of services agreed upon between the parties; it ensures better IT service management as the SLA is fed into a Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM Software) that manages the entire process automatically; it underlines a quality standard for the services to be provided; makes terms & policies clearer; makes goals and objectives clear and helps in improving service through comparison.

A Service Level Agreement is a must if you want total transparency and clear terms and conditions laid down on an official platform to ensure that the products and services rendered/received are of the best or as per the standards the parties agreed upon.

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