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SLAs / Service Level Agreements

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7 Ideas for Negotiating a Smarter SLA
How do you get what you really want during negotiations -- and even afterwards? A mid-sized regional medical center in the Pacific Northwest was this attorney's testbed for developing a smarter service level agreement.

Agile Outsourcing: Managing Technology Metrics in Software Development
In outsourcing software development three groups of technology metrics demand attention: systems, networks and support application metrics. This article explains why they're important and what they are.

Blueprint for an Exchange Service Level Agreement
This article provides a draft service level agreement for Exchange e-mail services on the MSExchange.org site. You can't simply copy and paste, since the author includes advice throughout that you wouldn't want appearing in your own SLA, but it does offer a pretty complete outline and some useful chunks of text.

Dealing with SLAs and Visitors from 'Outlier' Space
There is an approach for setting SLAs that can help avoid most common mistakes and that can be applied in many situations without committing to full-blown Six Sigma training and deployment.

Effective Strategies for Service Management
This 45-page “e-book” hosted by nextslm.org and written by SLM maven Andrew Hiles and consultant Robert Villabona, has three chapters. Chapter 1 explains how to develop a “strategic” SLA, no matter what form of IT service is being sourced. Chapter 2 recommends areas for effective network monitoring. Chapter 3 ties together SLAs and balanced scorecards.

Fundamentals of Service Management
This 45-page “e-book," written by SLM maven Andrew Hiles and consultant Floyd Piedad, is an interesting assortment of content. It includes data culled from Mr. Hiles’ books about the value of good service level management, a discussion of proper help desk operations, and an essay by Mr. Piedad on best practices for monitoring servers. If you don’t understand how SLM ties into meshing business value with IT services, this report is worth reading for some basics.

Internal Service Level Agreement
This template provides a general description of an SLA, as well as owners, approval and review process and definition of terms used in the document.

ITAA’s ASP SLA Guidelines for the Federal Marketplace
The Information Technology Association of America (a pro-business organization) provides this 13-page whitepaper on how to compose an SLA. Although the focus is on federal contracting, a lot of it applies to any IT-oriented SLA. It’ll give you a quick education in the key issues to be considered when negotiating an SLA.

Managing Risk in Outsourcing: A Guide To Setting SLAs
Now that you’ve executed a contract and established the overall legal framework within which your company and your chosen service provider will operate, it's time to define the delivery of the service itself. This is accomplished with the use of SLAs.

Metrics for IT Outsourcing Service Level Agreements
This whitepaper is a basic introduction to the topic that you may find useful. The author shares five principles in selecting SLA metrics, then explains four major categories of metrics -- and the advantages and disadvantages as well as application for each.

Negotiating a More Perfect SLA
Excellent rundown on SLAs for communications services from Network Magazine.

Outsource Operations -- Not Responsibility: An Outsourcing Service Model
Your company needs to retain strategic control over the direction of all outsourced functions. This is a worthy goal, but how do you achieve it? This article discusses three of the core elements of the outsourcing service model.

Service Level Agreement Template Sample
This downloadable service level agreement template, excerpted from IT Services: Costs, Metrics, Benchmarking and Marketing, covers network operations.

SLM Solutions: A Buyer’s Guide
This 40-page excerpt of a book provides a fairly readable explanation about service level management, as well as data and trends. But its biggest value is in the briefs it provides on SLM “solutions,” products that purport to help you automate some or all of the work of service management.

Sourcing Inside Out: Penalties and Incentives in Outsourcing Contracts
By effectively defining penalties and incentives tied to specific business objectives in outsourcing deals, clients can create powerful incentives to work towards mutually beneficial goals.

The Critical Role of Service Level Metrics in an Outsourcing Transaction
A rudimentary explanation of service levels. You’ll learn why they’re necessary, how the service provider likes to set them, why financial penalties aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and what you as the client should avoid doing when you’re sorting out your service levels.

Using Performance Decrements in SLAs
Performance decrements eliminate unhelpful service level baselines and nickel-and-dime credits and provide a powerful point system that ensures executive attention when you need it most, and stronger remedies if service continues to fail you.

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