IT service agreements can be great time and money savers; however, they can also cause a lot more trouble than they are worth. These kinds of agreements need to be put in place at the right time and for the right reasons. Some reasons for the failure of these agreements are outlined below.
Sometimes IT service providers want to resort to creating IT service agreements to suppress customer complaints. This is the wrong time to do so. The customer will only have one more thing to complain about. A better solution to the unhappy client situation is to establish why the client is unhappy and to correct that problem. Once the client is content with the service, then negotiate the SLA. IT service agreements do not guarantee better service nor do they solve problems that are currently causing issues.
The decision to create IT service agreements is sometimes seen as the solution to what appears to be a complicated situation. It may be felt that an SLA will clarify and organise a disorganised project. Instead, the SLA may further muddy the waters. A common problem is when duties and responsibilities are confused and gaps in the line of authority exist or there is a high staff turnover with the new employees constantly trying to change things to be better than what their predecessor had in place. IT service agreements will not help in this kind of situation. What is needed is a reshuffle and re-delegation of authority and responsibility. Once the situation has been clarified, an SLA may help to speed things along.
For the most part, IT service agreements are dictated by the service provider. The client is often given no say in what the agreement contains and what stipulations are put in place. This is not the correct method for establishing a trusting and fruitful relationship. Both parties need to be involved in creating the SLA. Each party will have needs which must be fulfilled and both will have responsibilities which they need to be made aware of. This can only be done through a collaborated effort.
IT service agreements which are put together correctly, at the right time and for the right reasons are the ones that succeed to the benefit of both parties.