Service-level agreements defined

A service-level agreement is a contracting tool keyed to the customer's expectations. The customer and vendor determine upfront which services and performance levels will be provided and decide how success or failure will be measured. Meeting or beating expectations may earn the vendor financial rewards; failure can mean earning less money or even a financial penalty.

SLAs generally have three components:

* What are the services to be provided?

* What are the measured targets of service that the customer expects?

* What happens if the service provider fails to deliver the service it promises?

The customer accepts less risk because an SLA makes the vendor responsible for meeting the target service levels. The vendor gains the ability to manage customer expectations, said Oren Gampel, vice president of technology at Oblicore Inc., which designs software to analyze vendors' performance and helps them manage multiple SLAs.

Featured

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    OPM nominee plans focus on telework, IT, retirement

    Kiran Ahuja, a veteran of the Office of Personnel Management, told lawmakers that she thinks that the lack of consistent leadership in the top position at OPM has taken a toll on the ability of the agency to complete longer term IT modernization projects.

  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

Stay Connected