March 31, 2022

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    If you think a simple managed services agreement between you and your customer is all you need for a rewarding and successful relationship, think again…what you really need to complete the partnership is a Service Level Agreement.

    1. Why is a Service Level Agreement (SLA) so important?

    The Service Level Agreement gets to the guts of your relationship with your customer in a managed service. It sets out precisely what level of support services you will be providing to your customer including the priority levels, the response times and any remediation measures which will be taken. Some will also have service credits (yikes). The objective is to show your support offering against certain criteria and which correctly reflects the price point of the managed service.

    2. How can SLAs go wrong?

    In spite of the best intentions of both parties, things don’t always go as planned.

    SLAs can go wrong if:

    • The supplier fails to respond within the agreed response times and priority levels.
    • The customer feels the service is not being provided and demands contractual rights such as service credits and or termination rights.
    • The supplier sets out unrealistic targets in their service level agreement in the first place and so sets themselves up to fail to achieve them.

    One way to avoid problems ahead is to apply SMART service level metrics.

    3. What are SMART metrics in an SLA?

    They can be anything relevant to the services you provide – for example, service availability, priority levels, RACI matrix defect rates, technical quality, security, and even business results.

    Just be SMART! 

    • Specific – Clearly defined
    • Measurable – Objectively captured, reported and reviewed
    • Achievable -- Within your control without incurring additional costs
    • Relevant -- Directly related to the service being delivered
    • Timely – Always agree a timeframe for the service to be delivered

    4. What happens if I fail to meet the agreed service levels?


    A Service Level Agreement will normally include agreed upon compensation, called service credits, which can be enforced when the service levels are missed. Read our blog to find out how service credits work.

    5. Once the Service Level Agreement is done, is that it?

    As tempting it may be to just file the SLA away as a static document, the opposite would be closer to the truth. If your company is changing, growing, adapting, its service levels will need to change, grow and adapt alongside it. The business needs of your client may change, their technical capabilities may advance, processes improve etc and the SLA will need to change to reflect that too. Failure to regularly review and adjust where relevant could result in breaching the SLA and incurring penalties.

    6. Can Law 365 draft an SLA for me?

    You bet we can. We can work with you to ensure all your documentation and processes work seamlessly to give you the confidence to crack on and be the best Microsoft Partner possible!

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