Expert Speak

What’s in Your SLA?


Read the Fine Print in your SLAs

World-class data center equipped with multiple level of security

Supports all types of server hardware

24×7×365 Facilities uptime

Fully customizable security, cabling & power feed

99.99 percent uptime SLA on power and connectivity

Above mentioned are some of the points excerpted out of a SLA. And the fine print of SLA is certainly changing. Professional service level agreements (SLAs) which are a vital part of channel – customer contracts are gaining ground back home.

And by SLAs I certainly do not mean the run-of-the-mill contracts that partners have been signing with the customers. I am talking aloud about the increasingly demanding customers who want their reseller to provide them with customer, and are willing to pay him those extra hundreds/thousands/lakhs (as the case may be) to get the laptop/desktop repaired, a new application installed, or for a new anti-virus.

The customer – shrewd that he is becoming by the day is seeking granular SLAs from his partner. Right from how long will it take to replace his laptop/desktop to how long will it take for the engineer to first come home and have a ‘dekho’ at the fault. And mind you this customer is not necessarily the corporate. It can be a SME, a student, or a home-maker who is asking for such detailed SLAs.

And rightfully so. With technology playing a vital role in our everyday life, students who are dependent on the Internet for their research (for projects) and home makers who can now speak with their relatives abroad (VoIP enabled) can ill afford to stay off-line. As is important for a corporate to get his data at the snap of a finger, equally important is it for the student and the home-maker to stay connected. Although un-organized the student and the home maker are a very vital part of the SOHO segment that the resellers address.

So as the CXOs at the channel offices congregate to strategize for their forthcoming quarter, it is now the right time to put your pen to paper and give serious consideration to the area of service level agreements (SLAs).

A channel partner, with whom I spoke recently, told me that customers including the SOHO are becoming increasingly demanding. They want the specifics. Some of them even want to understand the process upfront. These customers are extremely professional. In fact, it is a learning experience for us. Their needs too are getting urgent. I am going to put their needs at par with the corporate, and will train my resellers to serve them better.

And despite this, people would still argue that India is yet to mature and the instances in this column are far and few. Yes I agree. Not only in the SOHO segment; but the corporate as well. All I can say is that we have now started to learn the value of IT, and understand the SLA. It’s like reading the fine print before signing any other contract.

And so till the next week end…

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