7 Steps to Establishing a Better Service Level Agreements – Reduce Risks in Outsourcing!

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Agreement, signature, contract

If you are looking to outsource, a service level agreement (SLA) is a perfect tool that will assist you and the service provider; improve communications, elucidate on responsibilities, manage expectations and establish the basis for a win-win relationship.

Nonetheless, coming up with the perfect service level agreement is not as easy. Remember you are entering an agreement that will bind your business to a service provider for as long as you deem it worthy.

For that reason, it is advisable to be keen on key aspects. Don’t miss out on these points when establishing an SLA for your outsourcing.

Assemble background information

Both parties should begin by assembling information in order to have a basis from which to discuss the agreement. Before you elicit commitments from your service provider, you should carefully evaluate and make clear their needed services.

Ensure the service providers present their service history before getting into an agreement.  This will help you determine the level of service they can practically offer. Let it be realistic!

Finally, you should allow the service providers to evaluate your satisfaction, understand your concerns and set up a basis for evaluating improvements in the level of services.

Make sure both parties are in agreement

You and the service provider will at some point have different opinions on the role of the SLA and what it can reasonably achieve. It happens; don’t let it go to your head!

The truth is both views may be valid, yet different enough as to cause a misunderstanding in your negotiations. Before drafting an SLA, it is sensible for you and the provider to table an open discussion to make sure both of you are in agreement.

All the effort put in may prove futile on failure to agree with the provider on the essentials of the SLA

Set up Basic Rules for working together

Be careful not to overlook this crucial step. Many companies miss this when getting into an agreement. Focus on the processes by which you and the provider will work together to accomplish a common goal.

Major issues you should discuss include; making schedules, delegation of responsibilities, and concerns with regard to potential impediments. You should also be conversant with your developer’s style of communication and their preferences.

By spotting similarities and differences prior to the agreement, you put yourselves in an excellent position to reduce conflict.

Draft the agreement

In this step, both parties should jointly come up with a structure for the SLA document. You should discuss, argue and negotiate over time to establish an agreement about the contents of the SLA.

Participating in this process can influence a better SLA with the assistance of your in-house team; their contribution is vital. Take your time to build the perfect foundation for a satisfactory agreement.

However, the duration will depend on your past experience with SLAs, the state of the relationship with your provider and how much time you put into the process of developing it.

Seek feedback on the draft

After drafting the key elements for your SLA, all members of the participating parties with a role to play in the success of the agreement should be allowed to review the summary.

As a result, you will have allowed room for questions and suggestions. This feedback will assist developers to negotiate further, gain essential approvals and improve the quality of the document before finalising it.

Wind up on pre-implementation tasks

As you are near the end of this long process, consider winding up tasks that precede the SLA implementation to pave way for the completion of the agreement.

These responsibilities may include; establishing a mechanism for tracking, reporting processes, setting procedures for carrying out defined duties and making clear what is expected of the staff.

You may conduct any staff training where necessary before finally sealing the deal.

Execute and manage the SLA

Face it head-on! If you don’t manage the agreement, no matter how good it was established, it might die as soon as it is implemented.

Are you wondering what managing an SLA entails? First, the process of management involves providing a mechanism for dealing with problems related to the agreement.

Moving forward, you must carry out service reviews to evaluate performance. Coordination and implementation of modifications is also part of the management process.

Better your outsourcing- Steps to establishing the ideal SLA

Assemble background info

  • Make sure both parties are in agreement.
  • Set basic rules for working together
  • Draft the agreement
  • Wind up on implementation
  • Execute and manage!