An information technology or IT service level agreement is usually concerned with the two-way relationship between a client who patronizes the competence in information technology services of a service provider. Many times, the IT service level agreement will cover technical support services required by the client and which the service provider is in a position to supply. A client can be anyone, not necessarily just people involved in business and industry. A good example of this is that even students can become clients of a service provider, though it is recommended that they seek expert advice before entering into any type of legally-binding IT service level agreement. The youth and lack of experience of a student is no excuse for ignorance of the technical and legal content of an IT service level agreement.
The IT service level agreement is said to act as a guarantee of two-way accountability in the contractual relationship formed. This means that it is not only the service provider who has to be accountable; even the client has to be accountable in certain ways as well. For example, if the service provider has completed the project for which he was hired on time, and provided effective and efficient service in the process, then it is the duty of the client to receive the goods or service provided and state that he received such goods and services in good condition, thus relieving the service provider of further accountability in relation to the project. The client also has the responsibility of paying the service provider according to the terms of payment that was agreed upon between the client and the service provider in the IT service level agreement. This means that the client has to pay the service provider the agreed-upon compensation in a manner which does not put the service provider at a disadvantage.
An IT service level agreement may be concerned with the software program or application provided, the hardware used, and any technical work to be done on the network per the request of the client. It is important that the services provided be supplied in a cost-effective way so that both service provider and client are not at the losing end.
Among the components of an Information Technology system of a client that a service provider may provide services for are:
– Emailing (or electronic mail) system
– Tools for web publishing and development
– Custom-made network systems
– Infrastructure for wired voice, data and video systems
– Infrastructure for wireless voice, data and video systems – Network devices (including hubs, routers, switches and servers)
– Basic hardware for computing and printing functions
– Audio visual systems
– Computer access for students who need to do work for school
– Technical training of students and employees in the particular system that was installed and will be used for their organization.
It would be a nice stipulation if the service provider agrees to provide round-the-clock technical support even after the contract has been finished. This would help in weeding out glitches in the system and help end-users in becoming more proficient at using the system that has been installed.