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Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are the de facto method of managing IT Outsourcing (ITO) contracts. Negotiated during pursuit (pre-sales) phase and then used as a dashboard for performance management during delivery the SLA ultimately becomes both the lever and the measurable for revenue and margin performance on a contract. That SLAs should be meaningful, both for customers and vendors as defined by some objective criteria, seems obvious but evidence from procurement failures for large IT systems suggests otherwise. As a consequence of bringing a rigorous and analytical approach to negotiating meaningful SLAs for ITO deals one has encountered on two occasions a customer requirement for a performance oriented security SLA that was not meaningful by the definition.
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