You’ve got your website up and running with lots of vendor integration. When everything works smoothly, everyone is happy. But what about when things go down or are just slow? How will you, as a client, be treated. That’s why a Service Level Agreement (SLA) is so important. In this article we’re going to look at what it is and what you – as the client – can do to make it the most beneficial for you.

SLA what now?

An SLA is a document that is essentially a contract between the client and vendor. It explains what each side will be responsible for and how support will be handled. It defines what service is exactly, how it will be measured, and what are acceptable levels. Most importantly, it explains what will happen when service is not achieved at an acceptable level and what the consequences or ramifications are if this service level is not met. This document serves as a contract for both parties so that everyone is in agreement and feels the relationship is fair. For more information on the components of an SLA, check out CIO’s article about best practices.

Getting The Best SLA

As a client working with a vendor, it is crucial you do your due diligence to make sure the SLA benefits you. For instance, if you are working with a payment processor who will handle your customer payments, uptime is extremely important. The processor may have an SLA in place that they can provide, but it is important that you review this and make any necessary changes so that the SLA offers value for you as the client, not just for them. For instance, if the system goes down when the customer is trying to make a payment, you want to make sure this is indicated as a high severity level with an immediate response. It’s also important you keep the SLA up to date as requirements and services can and do change.