A service-level agreement (SLA) is a critical part of any service-related business contract. They define crucial aspects of the arrangement. In the case of unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), an SLA could outline a variety of service conditions, including uptime minimums, time-to-repair standards, and other performance-related guarantees.
Creating a strong UCaaS SLA can be a challenging and daunting task. Many providers offer basic service agreements, covering topics like usage, cancelation policies, privacy and security standards, payment requirements, and dispute resolution procedures. In some cases, performance guarantees aren’t automatically included in an SLA, and the regulatory requirements for PSTN services often do not apply to UCaaS.
As a result, companies need to become skilled at negotiating an SLA, ensuring they get the quality of service that they expect in exchange for their business. If you want to create a strong UCaaS SLA, here are some best practices to follow.
Read All of the Fine Print
Many SLAs are publicly available, accessible through the UCaaS provider’s website. Before you commit to a provider, read all of the documents that are available. Additionally, it is wise to have a legal professional review the SLA and determine if any changes are necessary. This limits your level of risk and ensures you have a full understanding of what is included.
Compare UCaaS SLAs
Whether you are looking for negotiation leverage or are trying to settle on an UCaaS provider, review SLAs from multiple companies. Make sure you also look for the differences between the agreements, including whether it features guarantees or merely “best-effort” promises.
Include Performance and Support in Your SLA
Most SLAs focus heavily on performance factors, such as uptime. However, if you are going to get a quality service, make sure that details about service delivery and support are also covered. Setting firm requirements in areas like implementation speed, service provisioning timelines, database updates, time-to-repair maximums, and help desk availability ensures you get the support and service delivery you need.
Monitor Your UCaaS
You can only judge the quality of a UCaaS service by monitoring its performance. Examine key metrics, such as uptime numbers, outage details, and voice and video quality to gauge whether a system meets expectations or if the provider isn’t living up to their end of the bargain.
While creating a robust UCaaS SLA takes time and energy, ensuring that your needs are addressed and expectations clarified, it is worth the investment. Otherwise, you could end up stuck with a subpar service and few options for having the situation remedied.
A strong SLA offers you protection, limiting your overall risk, and securing your rights should a UCaaS provider be unable to support what was promised. As you evaluate UCaaS providers, make sure reviewing and negotiating the SLA is part of that process. That way, you can have some peace of mind as well as options for correcting the situation should something go awry.