SLAs for Communication Services


Excellent rundown on SLAs for communications services in the November issue of Network Magazine. "Negotiating a More Perfect SLA," by Mark Johnston and Justin Castillo shares such gems as these:

Unless a large volume of business is at stake ($10 million or more in annual purchases), starting from a customer's draft SLA creates conflict and delay without yielding substantial benefits. In general, SLA negotiations proceed more smoothly when the carrier's form is used, and customers focus on revising the substance.


Not only is it more difficult to report and collect credits than it was a few years ago, but it's also harder to track and resolve persistent service problems. Most IXCs offer Web portals where customers can track the performance of some core services, but without monthly or quarterly service meetings with a carrier representative, it's difficult to translate that performance data into concrete action to resolve service problems.


Two of the Big Three IXCs require customers to file a written claim for a credit within five days after an outage occurs. This is an unrealistically short time frame. However, there's an even bigger problem: Most metrics are monthly averages, and credits are based on the failure to meet those numbers. How, then, can customers know if they're entitled to a credit based on a single outage?


Consider remedies that address the underlying service problem. For example, if a service misses an availability measure by a certain amount or in consecutive months, a useful remedy could be mandatory reprovisioning of the service at the carrier's expense, or mandatory escalation of service problems to decision makers within the carrier.

You'll also find a list of a dozen "SLA Negotiation Do's" in a sidebar.