In an ideal IT world, SLAs are an efficient means of quantifying all technological related services delivered to internal and external end-users in order to continuously improve the quality of those services. I sourced for an example of an SLA detailing the provision of Desktop Computing Service to a big FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) firm. Based on its context; I have realized that SLAs are decisive with external outsourcing engagements because they form a vital part of the contract.
There are diverse contents of an SLA;
- Service Description- The desktop computing service consists of the hardware, software and supporting infrastructure for end-user personal computers running Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system.
- Service Level Metrics- is a vital constituent of an IT related SLA. I noted that there was Clear definition of metrics as a means of measuring and actual performance level reporting
- Service Support Hours- Regular hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM; Extended hours: Monday - Friday 7:00 AM-7:00 PM, Saturdays 9:00 AM-2:00 PM
- Service Availability -The 99.5% availability metric will be measured by a rolling 6-month period.
It is also vital to point out that all IT processes ought to be comprehensive and documented in relation to management of the specified service levels. The entail;
- Security- our support advice that strapping passwords must be used to access all IT services, including desktop logon
- Service Reviews- Reviews of the service will be conducted by Service Level Management in conjunction with the Customer at least annually.
- IT Service Continuity- In the case of a major catastrophe details for business continuity will be provided in such an event.
However, there were factors not included in the service level agreement. Firstly, the quality of the SLA did not necessarily reflect as one of the pillars of a vigorous long term outsourcing relationship between the Desktop Computing Service provider and the FCMG; it looked more adversarial. It is for this reason that I would recommend the concerned manager that when developing SLA contents; they ought to jointly agree upon by the ITO service provider and the service recipient. This ensures that the relationship established is long lasting business wise.