Blog Tim on TEM

Best Effort Guarantee Chicanery

The standard measure of performance across telecom, mobility, and IT management is the Service-Level Agreement (SLA). It embodies the commitment between two parties to maintain a specified level of technical, financial, or operational performance. And SLAs exist between more than just vendors and customers – they exist between service delivery teams and internal customers, too.

Some SLAs are well-defined and true to their intent, while others rely on buzzword language to mask lack of substance. The ‘best effort guarantee’ is one such performance claim that masquerades as an SLA.

These claims are common in sales presentations and product materials and, frankly, they sound solid. The term ‘best effort’ invokes a sense of commitment, while the term ‘guarantee’ implies that the commitment will be fulfilled each and every time without fail. Put the two together and it’s bound to be a winner, right?

The reality is that best effort guarantees are red herrings. The term ‘best effort’ lacks measurable substance and guaranteeing something that lacks substance is meaningless. True SLAs possess four key elements: (1) definition, (2) measurement criteria, (3) compliance monitoring, and (4) performance remedy.

When establishing desired performance criteria and evaluating performance language, dig deep into the four SLA elements to understand the substance guiding technical, financial, or operational performance. Examine each SLA element for the presence of clear and measurable objectives and actionable remedy should performance fall short. The intent behind ‘best effort’ guarantees may be genuine, but intent is not a viable alternative to true SLAs.

best effortIf you need help creating, evaluating, or negotiating vendor SLAs, AOTMP® University has the perfect tool to help. Enroll in our Understanding Service-Level Agreements Course today to learn the industry’s most widely used SLAs and how you can successfully use them to improve your telecom, mobility, and IT management practice!