At the heart of any Service Level Agreement is the descriptions of the services you provided as well as the expectations a customer and business have regarding their work relationship. This is carried out by defining specific metrics regarding how parameters are measured as well as any and all guarantees. Generally, an SLA is a contract between a company and a customer, but it may also bet between different department found within the same company.

Regardless of the business industry, when it comes to understanding a Service Level Agreement, there are several steps you must follow. These include:

Understand the Descriptions of Services

Within the first portion of a Service Level Agreement are service descriptions. If you’re a new customer, this is where you’ll find specific descriptions for the services you are to be offered. It’s here you’ll understand what services are being offered and how they will be implemented.

Generally, within this section the business will create a catalog that describes exactly what they offer. This allows customers an easy way to determining a service is applicable to their needs. It’s not uncommon for this section to include provisions regarding applications, business functions and infrastructure.

Standards of Service

Once the services have been described, they must then be established using a set of standards. This is where you’ll find the standards by which a particular service will be rendered. Generally, this section includes information such as: availability of the service, reliability standards for the service as well as conflict resolution processes. For example, within this section you’ll typically find the communication hours of availability as well as the steps that must be taken should an emergency or disaster happen. Other pieces of information you’ll find include resolution processes and response times to help desk tickets. It’s important to read this section to determine if all communications are responded within a certain time frame or if response time is dependent on the reason for the communication.

Web Application Monitoring – How it Can Help

Just because your web app is online, doesn’t mean it’s functioning properly. Web applications can be intricate things, and there are often multiple steps that need to be tested to ensure that an app is working as it should be. Take for example, the web application that many people know about—a simple shopping cart. It can’t just be accessible, it needs to do a lot more than that. People need to be able to add items to the cart, edit their card, recalculate totals, adjust for shipping, and also check out. There’s a lot involved with that and if you aren’t monitoring your web app, it doesn’t matter if your SLA on it being up/down is at 100% because there could be other problems that are preventing it from working and causing a bad user experience. One of the best ways to mitigate things like this is to have some sort of web app monitoring in place that keeps track of your application and prevents any issues.

Responsibilities for the Business and Customer

This is perhaps one of the most important sections as it outlines the responsibilities that are expected by not only the business but also the customer.  When it comes to managing the expectations of a customer and a business, the waters can become murky. This is because the expectations from either party can dramatically vary. Therefore, look to this section to determine the exact responsibilities that are expected from both parties. For example, in this section you’ll discover if it’s the customer representative that has the responsibility of communicating specific points of information or if specific information must be solicited by the customer.

Tips for Understanding the Relationship Between a Web Application and SLAs
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