A service level agreement (SLA) is an agreement between two or more parties setting expectations of services provided, performance measurements such as timeliness or quality levels, and what to do if service levels are not reached.
What are the Benefits of Having a Service Level Agreement?
Service level agreements between a client and a service provider establish a mutual understanding of what is to be expected for both parties. SLA documentation often includes all service performance measurements, how the data will be reported, what to do in the event of an error. Often SLAs will set expectations in regards to services rendered, quality of work, security, level of communication, and penalties for non-compliance.
An SLA can also establish a good environment of communication between the customer and service provider and can ensure accountability on both sides. It also makes room for benchmarks and proper reporting measures, with achievable results and goals.
Benefits of an SLA include:
- Clearly defining expectations between parties.
- Facilitating communication and maintaining relationships
- Can be used as a reference during a dispute or argument regarding services rendered
- Housing all document agreements
- Improves customer service amongst the teams
- Helps streamline implementation of mutually agreed-upon actions
What Makes an SLA Different From a Vendor Contract?
In simple terms, a vendor contract covers the relationship and business interaction between a vendor and a client while a service level agreement is more about service quality and expectations. A vendor contract is going to list out legal terms based on the scope of a project, costs, and compensation, reporting standards, compliance, licenses, security, defaults, and contingency plans.
The vendor contract will also likely contain clauses about when and how the overall agreement may be terminated between the vendor and the client. Meanwhile, the service level agreement is going to be more focused on expectations surrounding the level of service to be provided.
At Smart Data Solutions, our typical SLAs include requirements for data capture, accuracy, turn around time, and inline auditing for our clients. We are committed to meeting our SLAs and can provide countless testimonials and references to back that up.