To paraphrase Forrest Gump, a service-level agreement is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you're going to get.
Solution providers that spend too much time on SLAs may scare off customers with pages of legal mumbo-jumbo, while those that aren't specific enough in their SLAs may end up with customers screaming for more attention.
That's why the Computing Technology Industry Association last week released the "CompTIA SLA Development Guide," a 10-page manual for association members that addresses the requirements of solution providers delivering IT support services, hardware repairs and more.
The reference guide includes templates for creating customizable SLAs, a narrative on factors and issues to address in developing SLAs, and detailed information on commonly accepted metrics for measuring service performance. The association also released a companion guide called the "CompTIA Global SLA Navigator," which offers a compendium of widely accepted metrics and definitions used in SLAs.
"Service-level agreements can be an effective sales tool for solution providers and a source of cost savings and operational efficiencies for end-user customers," said Edward Migut, director of CompTIA's convergent technologies arm. "Constructing an effective agreement requires careful planning and a melding of expectations and understandings of both parties involved."