Magazine article CRM Magazine

The ABCs of SLAs

Magazine article CRM Magazine

The ABCs of SLAs

Article excerpt

Service-level agreements (SLAs) are like insurance policies: Hidden under all the paperwork are loopholes and regulations that nobody has the time to go through. This point has been made clear in recent months by a string of outages by hosted CRM providers.

Understanding SLAs is critical for customers thinking of doing business with an on-demand provider. Currently, there are no industry standards for SLAs and on-demand vendors are free to guarantee as much or as little of their offering as they desire. Still others, such as Salesforce.com, don't even offer their customers standard SLA agreements, "leaving it up to the buyer to fight for one," says Liz Herbert, an analyst at Forrester Research.

Customers tend to focus on the uptime guarantee--the minimum amount of time the vendor will supply you with access to the solution over a given period. On average, that number ranges between 99 and 99.7 percent per month, but time periods can differ from weeks, to months, to years, making even half a percentage point a very large and expensive number. …

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