SLAs: fast becoming a norm

CIOL Bureau
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MUMBAI: Service-level agreements or SLAs as they are called, are no longer

being seen as a fancy concept-more on paper, less in practice. SIs indicate that

SLAs are fast becoming a norm these days and customers have started to demand

deliverables as per mentioned in the SLA.


While SLAs used to come into picture for very high value corporate or

government projects, it was almost non-existent for many a SIs catering to

small-to-medium sized client organizations. "But with customer awareness

increasing manifolds, requirement for IT witnessing a surge and IT

infrastructure becoming more critical to one's business, end-users are now

asking for the deliverables to be clearly put in black and white," remarked

Director Xpress Computers, Chetan Shah.

He informed that now nearly 30 percent of his customers demand that SLAs be

put in place. "While they don't put penalty clauses as such, the very fact

that they are asking for documentation of expected deliverables, shows that

customer maturity is increasing," added Shah. And given the fact that

customers tend to take certain service benefits for granted, such an approach

from their end, only helps an SI improve his service revenues.

"We have nearly 50 percent of our customers, with whom we maintain SLAs.

Most of them demand a clarity on issues like response/resolution time, alternate

solutions in case of a breakdown and escalation matrix," pointed out

Saurin Shah, Director, Ashtech Infotech . He also informed about an increasing

demand from customers asking for a built-in consultancy within the service



D-Link Marketing Manager Anand Mehta believes that while SLAs are more

beneficial from a customer point of view, it also makes an SI more accountable

and serious towards his service liabilities. "If a customer starts

insisting on SLAs, the technology provider would take pains to clearly define

what kind of service he is willing to commit and nothing would be in the realm

of ambiguity," felt Dharmesh Anjaria, Director Dynacons  . He further

informed that about 40 per cent of his customer base proactively ask for putting

an SLA in place.

Many other SIs too unanimously agree that in the times of stiff competition,

it makes more sense to insist on signing up service agreements rather then

over-commit and under-deliver to customers. And with service bound to become the

main bottomline earner for many an integrators, the sooner they adopt SLA as a

standard business practice, the better it would be for them.

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