Agencies should undertake due diligence when developing and negotiating effective SLAs. This will allow an opportunity to verify costs of services, identify hidden costs, reveal consumption patterns, ensure legality of software licenses, and conduct benchmarking tests on systems. SLAs should include flexibility for changes in scope and technology.
The contract will stipulate that the supplier will be paid according to predetermined performance criteria such as availability, response time, number of downtime occurrences, etc. SLAs should include specifications regarding financial penalties in the event the supplier is unable to meet the SLA performance levels. If the supplier relies on partners or sub suppliers, the SLA can also apply to these second-level service providers. The primary supplier may have a network of service providers to provide their service responsibilities. In this instance, the SLA should contain a clause that stipulates the primary supplier is accountable for any damages caused by third party partnerships.
In developing and negotiating a successful SLA, the following elements should be considered and included: