10 do’s and don’ts for crafting more effective SLAs

SLA adherence is no guarantee of outsourcing success. Here’s how to avoid seeing red when all the lights on the service delivery dashboard are green.

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Service level agreements (SLAs) remain a critical component of outsourcing contracts, forming the core of service delivery reporting over the life of the IT services agreement. Any flaws when SLAs are drafted can have a significant impact down the line, resulting in a reported measurement of service delivery that doesn’t line up with the reality on the ground.

“This is especially true where the SLA measures only part of the process or service directly influenced by the service provider, but there is no commentary on the end-to-end process or service delivery,” says Abhishek Sharma, vice president of pricing assurance with outsourcing consultancy and research firm Everest Group.

The resulting situation — all the lights on the service delivery dashboard are green but the customer is seeing red — can have destructive consequences for the engagement.

Therefore it’s important, to the extent possible, to get SLAs right. Following are some do’s and don’ts to consider when crafting SLAs for your next outsourcing engagement.

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