What should be in an IT support Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

If you are switching IT service providers or exploring IT outsourcing for the first time, Service Level Agreements (SLA) are an important part of making a decision to sign up with a new provider.

However, it can be difficult to compare different providers and their SLAs because they don’t necessarily follow the same format and include the same points.

The most important factor is that SLAs must be measurable. You need to know exactly what to expect for service delivery and be able to see when a provider is delivering a high quality service, or if they’re falling short.

Using SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely), use the bullet points below to help compare different SLAs and choose the right IT provider for your organisation’s requirements.

Service Level Agreement SMART goals

  • Specific: SLAs must have enough detail for you to understand exactly what to expect. Each IT service that needs measurement should be specified.
  • Measurable: The IT service provider should also indicate how each service will be measured against SLA targets and how these will be reported.
  • Achievable: Ask yourself (and the provider) whether the SLA is realistic and the provider has the capacity and ability to meet SLA targets.
  • Relevant: Do the SLA targets mean anything to you? A provider could include all sorts of measurements in their reporting, but if they’re not relevant to your business and service delivery, they could cloud the overall picture when evaluating performance.
  • Timely: All IT services included in a SLA must contain a time frame against which the service will be delivered. For example, you need to know exactly when to expect IT support tickets to be resolved or when new users will be set up on a system.

To learn more about choosing a new IT service provider, read our blog post on this subject –  Considering a new IT service provider? Here’s what to look for

You may also like to download our checklist for determining whether a provider is offering a 4* service desk. 

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