Performance-based service level agreements (SLAs) are essential components of a strong Telecom Expense Management (TEM) solution. SLAs help ensure that your TEM solution delivers all the benefits you expect it to provide. An SLA is effective only to the degree that it is based on measureable performance objectives and specifies concrete remedies if those objectives are not met.
Strong TEM SLAs should include the following five parameters:
- Monitoring and Reporting: A detailed overview of the process for monitoring and measuring actual service performance against specific benchmarks. This parameter should encompass who will monitor network and service performance, what data will be collected and how often, and the level of access the organization will have to performance statistics.
- Service availability and reliability: A description that outlines the amount of time the service is available for use. It should include a percentage of time the services will be available, as well as limitations on outages. For example, if the contract stipulates 99.9 percent availability, that allows for 43.8 minutes of unplanned downtime each month. We also recommend including a schedule for advance notification of network changes or maintenance that may impact users.
- Definition: A precise and objective description of the services being provided. For example, if the vendor is delivering invoice processing, this language will include a definition of the service, as well as the components that are included.
- Responsiveness: A clause stipulating the speed at which the service provider is expected to respond to problems or requests from the organization.
- Consequences: A clear definition of what will happen if the parameters in the SLA are not met. For example, if the organization experiences a service outage that surpasses the limitations set forth in the SLA, the provider will issue a credit or reimbursement. If the issue continues to recur, and end-users are unable to access the service for an extended period of time, the organization may be granted the ability to terminate the relationship.
Learn more about the types of services you should expect from a Telecom Expense Management vendor.