How to Simplify Your SLA
Often the most challenging part of optimizing your service level agreements (SLAs) is understanding the coverage you already have in place. With most enterprise-level businesses operating hundreds to thousands of pieces of equipment, spread across multiple locations and even multiple continents, bringing SLAs, entitlements, and internal support capabilities in line with your business needs and budget constraints is challenging.
Without a comprehensive approach to understanding support, service is delayed, entitlements are overlooked, SLAs are over-purchased, and the business fails to access the most efficient and effective support when a crisis hits. some support agreements may lack the timing and support levels needed to provide the uptime the business needs, others may overlap existing entitled services or even cover equipment that has already been retired.
A full audit of current coverage and equipment reveals both deficiencies and over-coverage instances and provides executive decision makers with the information needed to craft a centralized support contract that truly meets the needs of the business.
The average cost of an unplanned data center outage is USD 7,900 per a minute. – (Click to Tweet)
Do You Have a Support Agreement Issue?
If the business has a current SLA with an OEM that applies to at least thirty devices, has SLAs on equipment that was purchased and deployed in the last seven years, or has multiple SLAs on equipment that is more than ten years old…there is a service level agreement issue. In fact, the business is likely spending at least 20 percent more than it should on maintaining hardware support even within their current vendor.
Other hallmarks of SLA inefficiencies are delays in support services and simply not getting the support needed when a hardware issue surfaces. Service level agreement concerns often stem from a crisis. A critical piece of hardware goes down and brings the business to a halt. A few frantic calls to tech support later and you are still hunting for a serial number or trying to convince your support provider that, “yes…Timindex, Inc. is, in fact, the same company as Timinidex Incorporated.”
One-in-ten enterprise-level companies report that downtime costs their firms $1 million or more, annually. – (Click to Tweet)
Identifying an Entitlement Issues Before a Crisis Hits
Purchasing the right level of support is one thing…accessing that support when it is needed is another. When businesses cannot access the support they have purchased, it is often the result of administrative inconsistencies. For example, the wrong company name may be listed or given. In the excitement and complexity of new mergers and acquisitions, the business names on existing agreements are rarely updated. As a result, the business cannot access the support it owns, either through an entitlement or a post-purchase SLA.
A second common cause of erogenous support denials is outdated online profiles. As departments are re-organized, and individuals leave and join the business, it is common for online profiles to become out-of-step with the current landscape of the company. However, support providers require each individual authorized to enact support under an entitlement or an SLA to have a current and accurate online profile associated with the agreement. Without an accurate profile, support is denied.
Technology expenses can be high, but they are relatively small compared with their potential to boost the operating performance of a business. - (Click to Tweet)
Correcting and Simplifying Your Service Level Agreements
The first step to correcting and simplifying support agreements is to carefully review each contract and match it with the company’s current inventory. Support providers work with a level of exactness, without the right combination of business name, resource name, serial number, and contract number, support may be delayed or even denied.
A thorough audit reveals outdated information, unnecessary coverage, and coverage gaps. OEM-administered SLAs do not offer, “Do not impede” policies. This means that support will be impeded for accidental coverage misses and missing information.
While conducting a coverage audit, avoid purchasing new SLAs. If a purchase is necessary, opt for a centralized contract that allows for continued support while current agreements and entitlement issues are resolved.
New agreements should include “do not impede” policies that enable the service team to provide support even while contractual issues are being resolved. If the necessary service is found to have been outside the terms of the existing agreement, the client is billed separately. This allows the business to get back online as quickly as possible.
Simplifying service level agreement complexities, developing support solutions that satisfy all needs of the business (uptime and budget), and optimizing the use of entitled support has a substantial impact on OPEX and uptime. When support agreements are developed and implemented with the needs of the business in mind, companies can leverage the highest levels of support as soon as it is needed.