In the IT services field the acronym SLA gets thrown around a lot. Kind of like a baseball at a little league warm up.
Way back in the mid-2000’s some IT guy borrowed the term Service Level Agreement (SLA) from the Internet and phone companies. He then reused it as his IT companies official offering to customers.
It was heralded by some as the answer to an IT guy’s purpose in business.
You see to a bits and bytes-ones and zeros type of guy the concept of a binding document that stated exactly what you offered was a heaven send.
IT guys could now write down the 10 things their business did and IT could be defensible. Yes, they even used the word defensible.
Here’s where it went horribly wrong.
They made claims they couldn't deliver on. IT providers even started copying each other's agreements. Everyone wanted to have a great SLA to sell.
The problem was that most IT service providers have less than 5 staff. This makes it impossible to provide an service level agreement based on just the operational maturity level of the business.
They’re just not organized to deliver the terms of an SLA.
They couldn’t deliver.
They missed the whole point of being a small service provider.
More importantly they missed understanding you the customer.
You see, customers still don't know what to expect even after being handed a contract that's being touted as an SLA.
Most customers think of IT as anything that requires power to run.
Tech is about enabling people and businesses.
It’s about keeping things running.
It's about collaboration.
Sure, I understand agreements and the importance of expectations.
If you've done business with AT&T. I’m sure you’ve had personal experience with a pain of SLA’s.
Your small business doesn't need that pain.
Buying a service provider is not black and white. It's not ones and zeros.
Sure a lot of tech guys think that way.
But it doesn't align to a buyer’s expectations.
Still many IT companies tout their hefty contracts. I mean SLA’s.
But buyer be wary.
What you read on the paper is likely not what you get.
The proof is in the pudding.
Actions speak louder than words.
Go see how your IT company does their thing.
Go see how many people work there.
Go understand how they operate.
If that tech provider fits your needs.