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Service Level Agreements

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In an increasingly competitive marketplace, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are one of the most powerful tools for attracting new customers and retaining old ones.
In brief, the bottom line is. SLA is that in the contract between the provider and the consumer of services certain requirements for the quality of service are set, the fulfillment of which is guaranteed by the provider. At the same time, if the guaranteed conditions are violated, penalties are imposed on the service provider. On the other hand, by giving some kind of guarantee, the provider can increase the price of the services provided.
Mention SLA . I was able to find in the following documents :

Maybe there are some more, but I have not come across them. I will not go into the details (if you are interested, please follow the link to read the recommendation), but I will briefly say that the recommendation E.860 is specifically dedicated specifically to SLA, in it SLA is interpreted as a formal agreement between two (or more) parties (supplier and consumer) defining the characteristics of the service, the responsibilities of the parties, and the priorities of each party.
In providing services, a provider may be guided by the following policy options with respect to SLA :

  • do not apply;
  • conclude SLA individually at the client’s request (mostly the largest and most profitable clients);
  • to conclude, at the client’s request, a model SLA ;
  • conclude a standard SLA with all clients, which in this case is an integral attribute of the service contract;
  • Offer differentiated options SLA that are differentiated by quality of care and price.

The latter option is preferred because it has the most flexibility.
Approximate composition SLA :

  • service description
  • quality indicators
  • methods and means of control and reporting
  • procedures for submitting claims and procedures for handling them
  • fines (yes, yes, what did you think 🙂
  • supplier liability limits (miscellaneous force majeure)
  • procedure for changes
  • additional conditions (most often confidentiality)

Quality of service indicators that occupy the SLA central place, are divided into special (dependent on services and technology) and general (independent of services). I do not see the point in describing quality indicators in full, because it would take a lot of space ( and my time ), is unlikely to be useful to anyone, and in general this is a very specific area for any industry. For the sake of example, from now on we will operate with the notion of readiness.

Ready network is a property that characterizes the ability to immediately begin providing information exchange in any environment. Network readiness shows the capability of a network to serve subscribers at any given time (other than planned periods when the network is not intended to operate) and, from that point on, to operate without interruption for a given period of time.

Readiness evaluation is carried out as follows: a certain time interval is chosen, after which the total idle time and if it is less than the norm, the requirement SLA is met, if it is not, it is violated. The norms are determined by regulatory requirements, the user’s wishes, and SLA competitors.
To select the norms SLA an approximate algorithm can be made up.
Service Level Agreements
This algorithm in the best resolution

Is this SLAreally necessary? Let’s break down an example.

Organization "A" leases from a telecommunications operator "B" communications channel. Given that the primary channel used in SLA indicator is availability (for channel lease service), penalties will apply for downtime not specified in the SLA Usually, operators, if downtime occurs in a certain period of time resulting in penalties, will assign a discount when paying for the next period. But the regulations state that when a channel rental service is provided, compensation is independently on the availability of SLA So if "A" did not conclude SLA she will get compensation anyway, the essence of which is that no payment is taken for the downtime of the channel. But if SLA has been concluded, then in addition to compensation "A" would receive from the "B" also a fine in the predetermined in SLA form (monetary, discounts, or other), that is, the terms of the SLA provide not only that there is no charge for services not rendered, but also that there is a penalty for "A" was prevented from using these services (because of which it may have suffered some losses), and this is probably a very large amount of money.
Because of this liability, the provider tries to insure the risks, and as a result, the prices of the services go up considerably.
Generally, the penalties provided for in SLA should be large enough to make the service provider really care about the commitments made and, on the other hand, not so large as to make the prices of services unacceptable to customers.

P.S. In general, this topic is large and complex, in one article can not describe. The only thing you can say is that there are no ready-made solutions and everything needs to be thought through (and prescribed in the SLA:) in advance to avoid any problems either with the vendor or the customer.

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