While technical availability is widely known in the SLA arena and five 9’s is the gold standard, an SLA can also be an important tool for setting performance expectations in professional services, consulting, and outsourcing relationships. The difference between SLAs in these relationships from traditional technical SLAs is that they guide task and activity completion, workflow performance, customer experience interactions, and engagement plan integrity. Service delivery is always on time, on budget, and as expected to drive 100% business performance and efficiency.
A 100%-performance SLA may seem unrealistic due to forces outside a vendor’s control, so how is it achieved? The answer: it requires companion SLAs that include separate time intervals to complete the activity cycle.
For example, suppose an outsourcing vendor is managing mobile device carrier ordering on behalf of an enterprise. The statement of work should identify the vendor’s requirements to place all orders with carriers during the same business day approved requests are received by 3:00pm EST. A standard SLA may indicate that this requirement will be met 99% of the time. If 100 requests are placed in a measurement period and 99 orders are completed on time, the SLA is technically met by the vendor even though there’s still one request left unfulfilled.
This is where a companion SLA can come into play. Adding a secondary measure that indicates 100% of orders will be placed within two business days, for example, ensures that the entirety of the vendor’s outsourcing commitment is addressed.
Requiring professional services, consulting, and outsourcing vendors to meet 100% of requirements with complete SLAs drives intended outcomes and desired performance throughout a business relationship.
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