Service-Level Agreements 'don't mean much' for European players

12 February 2003 -- Users remain uncertain about the value of service level agreements (SLAs) while service providers often fail to meet the target levels they claim to guarantee.

Feb 12th, 2003

12 February 2003 -- Users remain uncertain about the value of service level agreements (SLAs) while service providers often fail to meet the target levels they claim to guarantee.

These are two key claims made in a recent Yankee Group report Service-Level Agreements: Real Benefits or Empty Promises?. Yankee says its report offers "practical advice to enterprises for achieving service-level agreement (SLA) best practices, and advice to service providers on crafting SLAs that will help them win more enterprise business".

The observations areis based on analysis of existing enterprise contractual agreements, and a comparison of SLAs that key European service providers offer for IP VPN services.

Other conclusions include:
- Service providers often insert onerous clauses in contracts that leave enterprises in an insecure position
- Guarantees are becoming more granular, but there are still exclusions, which devalue them
- Few suppliers offer proactive target levels
- There are limited guarantees for ongoing service upgrades and changes to the network.

"Effective reporting is the key to ensuring that providers adhere to service-level agreements," says Amy Rodger, Yankee Group Convergent Communications Europe analyst.

"Suppliers with automated, Web-based interfaces for the reporting and management of trouble tickets and SLA performance (and also provisioning and order management) should be accorded a higher ranking in the selection process. It's an important clue to their internal organization and responsiveness."

The report finds that all of the service providers investigated offer some form of Web-based reporting, either in place of, or in addition to, monthly meetings with their clients. However, many charge extra for their web-reporting system, and require customers to have this system to access reports.

Further information at www.yankeegroup.com

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