AlS should have two components: services and management. Any meaningful contract without associated ALS (verified by legal advisors) is open to deliberate or involuntary interpretations. AlS protects both parties in the agreement. Define carefully. A supplier can optimize ALS definitions to ensure they are met. For example, the Incident Response Time measure is designed to ensure that the provider corrects an incident within a minimum of minutes. However, some providers can complete ALS 100% by providing an automated response to an incident report. Customers should clearly define ALS so that they represent the intent of the level of service. Customers can create common metrics with multiple service providers that take into account the multi-supplier impact and impact the creditor may have on processes that are not considered to be in compliance with the contract. Most service providers provide statistics, often through an online portal. There, customers can check whether ALS is being met and whether they are entitled to service credits or other penalties under ALS. Most service providers have standard SLAs – sometimes several, which reflect different levels of service at different prices – which can be a good starting point for negotiations.
However, these should be audited and modified by the client and the lawyer, as they are generally favourable to the supplier. Select the measures that motivate good behavior. The first objective of any metric is to motivate the corresponding behaviors on behalf of the client and service provider. Each side of the relationship tries to optimize its actions to achieve the performance goals defined by the metrics. First, focus on the behavior you want to motivate. Then test your metrics by placing yourself instead of the other side. How would you optimize your performance? Does this optimization support the results initially desired? Management elements should include definitions of standards and methods of measurement, reporting processes, content and frequency, a dispute resolution procedure, a compensation clause to protect the client from third-party disputes arising from breaches of service (which should already be included in the contract) and a mechanism to update the agreement if necessary. Typically, these processes and methods are left to the outsourcing company to determine that these processes and methods can support the ALS agreement. However, it is recommended that the client and the outsourcing company work together during the SLA contract negotiations to clear up misunderstandings about the support process and method, as well as management and reporting methods. Ideally, ALS should be aligned with the technological or commercial objectives of the commitment.
The wrong direction can have a negative impact on the pricing of deals, the quality of the service delivery and the customer experience. This last point is crucial. Service requirements and supplier functions are changing, so it is necessary to ensure that ALS is kept up to date. The ALS should contain not only a description of the services to be provided and their expected levels of service, but also metrics to measure the services, obligations and responsibilities of each party, corrective measures or penalties in the event of a breach, and a protocol for adding and removing measures. In addition to defining the services to be provided, the contract should also document how services should be controlled, including how data is collected and reported, how often it is verified, and who is involved in the audit. If the service provider is taken over by another entity or merges with another entity, the client can expect his ALS to remain in effect, but that may not be the case.