Helping clients customize their IT services SLAs begins with this two-step Posted on December 6, 2017 by Adam Burke With help from the right IT services provider partner, you can assist your clients in crafting a customized service level agreement to ensure solid IT services performance and availability – even for your clients’ hyperscale public cloud services. Step 1: aim your clients toward a SMART SLA This means service level agreements should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely: Specific: Articulates detailed service delivery definitions and expectations. Measurable: Describes ways to track real-world service level performance (e.g., availability, response times). Achievable: Reflects realistic, affordable business and technical goals. Relevant: Directly addresses the services being provided and is relevant to evaluating service level performance in both technical and business terms. Timely: Sets forth timeframes in which the provided services will be delivered. Step 2: bring your clients to these six best practices for structuring a SMART SLA Engaging a trusted IT services provider partner to help structure the SLA the way your clients want Your clients can specify their unique technology configurations and requirements, then flexibly bundle them into a single SLA – with a simplified single monthly (CAPEX) payment – backed by access to deep, leading-edge technical expertise and competencies that span hyperscale public cloud services, hybrid cloud services, virtualization, storage, servers, network equipment, VoIP, complex application environments, and more. Conducting a detailed assessment of your client’s IT environment Look for an IT services provider partner that can also help figure out just what your client’s SLA requirements really are – beginning with complimentary consulting assessments designed to help match your client’s business goals with their technology requirements and ensure their IT infrastructure can fulfill those requirements. Aligning business and technical goals Gaps between business and technical goals deplete bottom lines. You need an IT services provider partner capable of identifying those gaps and offering cost-effective alternatives to close them. Establishing IT performance and availability standards and goals These may need to be granularly defined for different cloud environments, areas of the network, and specific applications. Factors contributing to downtime need to be identified and application profiles built to understand apps’ network service level requirements. Determining IT performance and availability metrics Besides reflecting the most important SLA outcomes, your client’s SLA metrics should be set to attainable performance levels via a predefined process. SLA metrics are best kept simple (to avoid unnecessary costs) and easy to collect – preferably by automated means. Ensuring sufficient risk management via SLA clauses Your client’s SLA should address escalation of performance issues, early termination of contracts, transition to new providers, remedy (enforceable consequences for SLA noncompliance), and indemnification. The right IT services provider partner can help your clients customize a service level agreement that delivers the IT services performance, availability, and protection they need.