Hosted Application Management – What Measurements Should be Included in an SLA?

When outsourcing hosted application management, it's critical to develop an appropriate service level agreement, or SLA.

An SLA is simply a document that describes in detail the level of service expected by the customer from an outsourcing company. The agreement identifies the metrics to be used for measuring service levels, as well as the remedies and penalties should these levels fall short.

Many items can be monitored, but simplicity is often the best approach.

Complex agreements might cause greater confusion and lead to additional costs for both parties. The more complicated the monitoring scheme is, the less effective it might be because few people, if any, will have time to analyze the data.

Selecting SLA Measurements

In selecting the measurement metrics, companies need to look carefully at their operation and consider what's most important.

Depending on each unique situation, the following types of metrics may be good to include in a hosted application management SLA:

Service Availability. This basically refers to the amount of time the hosted application management service is available for use. The exact metric can be developed by time frames.

In other words, a certain level of availability might be required between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., with another level of availability at different time frames.

The nature of the customer's business will determine the required level of availability.

For example, an e-commerce company that processes thousands of orders each hour and generates large amounts of money will require greater levels of availability.

Defect Rates. This service level refers to the counts or percentages of errors in the outsourcing company's hosted application management deliverables.

Examples might be incomplete backups, coding errors, missed deadlines and others.

Technical Quality. Similar to the above, this category would analyze factors such as coding defects and other program related measurements.

Security. Current regulation demands make hosted application management and network security absolutely critical.

Any breaches can be costly. Therefore, measurements can include anti-virus updates, korea SLA fixtures abutments patching and other initiatives to demonstrate all reasonable preventative efforts were taken.

Considerations for SLA Measurements

To develop the most effective SLA, implant overdenture companies should work with their hosted application management provider to consider the following:

Motivate the Right Behavior.

SLA metrics should promote appropriate behavior between both parties. Each party will focus on meeting their performance objectives and maximizing their benefit. But, this can be counter-productive if, for example, one party gets dinged because of no fault of their own.

For example, if the customer fails to provide timely information, the hosted application management provider should not have to pay a penalty for not meeting a measurement that was dependent on the missing information. To arrive at a mutually-agreeable end result, each side should put themselves in the other party's shoes.

The SLA needs to enforce metrics that are within the customer's and hosted application management provider's control.

Collect Measurements Easily. If a metric is important, but it can't be easily measured, implant overdenture the value of including it in the SLA may be diminished.

Ideally, metrics should be collected with minimal overhead. Be wary of measurements that require significant manual involvement.

Limit the Amount of Control. Although companies may want to include many metrics on a hosted application management provider, they should avoid going overboard.

An excessive number of metrics, or metrics that produce huge amounts of data, may never produce the desired benefits and stress the customer-provider relationship.

Establish the Right Baseline. Defining the right metrics is only part of the korea SLA fixtures abutments project. The metrics must be assigned performance levels that are reasonable and attainable.

These levels can be adjusted over time to reflect the current situation.

An SLA is crucial to any customer-supplier partnership. A properly developed SLA will pay off in the long run by protecting both parties and avoiding misunderstandings at the same time.

A well managed relationship can save time and money for both the customer and outsourcing provider.

Chuck Vermillion is CEO and founder of OneNeck IT Services, a leading provider of hosted application management and managed services since 1997.

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