To align your company's services with your customers' expectations, knowing what SLA is becomes essential.
This acronym is better known in the IT community and refers to a document that works as a contract, in which things such as goals and deadlines will be established, allowing the client to know exactly how the contracted service will work.
Therefore, whether to deliver an efficient job or to show the consumer what he is buying, the SLA is an important ally. What about understand a little more about it ?
What is SLA?
SLA is an acronym that stands for Service Level Agreement. It serves to formalize the contracted service, as well as its details, being signed by the responsible company and the person who has chosen your job.
It will contain items such as service objectives, available infrastructure, deadline for delivery, result metrics, among others.
The SLA is standardized by the NBR ISO-IEC 20000-1 standard, which is stipulated by the ABNT (Brazilian Association of Technical Standards). Soon, all documents will follow the same model.
Until the end of the service provision, the SLA must be reviewed and analyzed so that it is possible to see what is being carried out exactly as they appear in the document.
Although it can be used in any area, the SLA has become very common in IT and you will better understand its importance below.
Why use SLA on IT services?
Besides knowing what SLA is, it's also important to know why you use it, isn't it? So, we're going to show you some reasons why you should work with SLA.
The first one is the main one: ensure that the customer is satisfied with the services offered by your company; after all, this document specifies everything that will be done in relation to the contracted activity.
If all goes well, the consumer will receive satisfactory service. If that doesn't happen, he can contest it through the SLA.
Therefore, the client is able to control the entire process, participating in the definition of goals and result metrics, for example. In this way, the service becomes more transparent.
In addition, you, as an IT professional, are able to protect yourself in case the customer makes an improper charge, that is, one that was not stipulated in the agreement.
Another advantage is that, with the SLA, the IT team is able to plan based on the stipulated schedule. Therefore, the steps in the process become more organized.
With this agreement, your company can also answer questions about the contracted service when accessing the SLA and, consequently, not run the risk of disappointing the customer.
How to apply the SLA on IT services?
To apply this document, not only do you need to understand what an SLA is, you also need to know the basic categories that belong to it. See what they are next.
Terms of commitment
The agreement needs to be signed by both parties, so it is important to review the entire document before signing it and make changes if necessary.
This way, the document guarantees that everyone involved understands the proposal and will follow what was written in it.
The service level is the step at which the service provided is defined. This can refer to a number of items, from a system update to its implementation.
In this sense, the ideal is for your company to provide a package of services to achieve customer loyalty.
If you prefer, you can also make a SLA for a package or for each service, to help with the negotiation.
It is also important that you make it very clear what technical support will be like after the end of the service.
In the IT area, it is common for a specific period of technical support to be established, so that the customer can clear any doubts or solve any problem.
This period can vary greatly. While some services offer 24-hour support, others provide 1-year support. Therefore, analyze this carefully and do not forget that this time must be defined in advance in the SLA.
Another important SLA category is MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures).
This term refers to the time that has been lost between failures on a single task. This way, the IT team is able to find out how much time was lost due to errors.
MTBF helps to carry out a thorough assessment of the phases related to service provision, which helps to optimize the entire process. To make the calculation, the formula is as follows:
MTBF = (Time available for activity - Lost work time) / Number of forced stops
The SLM (Service Level Management) is an acronym that stands for Service Level Management, that is, it is a way to assess the quality of the service being provided.
This management has indicators that will make the relationship between provider and customer more transparent. Some examples are the availability indicator, deadline for resolving any issue and fulfillment of the service.
Therefore, the SLM is responsible for putting together the strategies that will be used in a process and verifying if they are happening in the right way. This way, it is possible to ensure that the service is correctly delivered to the customer.
Therefore, SLM is essential for the company to avoid failures and encourage the team to be more productive.
These are the basic categories of the SLA, but we must mention that, for the document to be done correctly, both parties need to be present.
During the meeting, the client will say what he needs and what he expects with the contracted service, while your company needs to make clear what solutions are available and how it can help your client.
It is essential that both the client and the company clear all doubts regarding the process, detailing exactly what they want and what they can accomplish so that the objectives are properly aligned.
When choosing the service control software that your company will use, choose one that already has SLA control (as is the case with Desk Manager), this will make your work more optimized and will avoid errors and harm. Got it?
As you could see, knowing what SLA is becomes essential for those who provide services in the IT area. In this context, two other important acronyms are ITIL and COBIT. Find out what they are in our article!