Project Management

Another look at service levels

If you're struggling with how to set up service level agreements (SLAs) for your customers, you're not alone. Bob Artner looks at a new AT&T product announcement and offers some suggestions for consulting firms trying to set realistic SLAs.

You may have missed it, but AT&T and EMC have teamed up to offer a premium managed storage service for companies that need unprecedented guaranteed access to their data. The idea is that companies will identify their needs to AT&T Solutions, who will then design and implement the data storage network, using AT&T’s network infrastructure and EMC’s storage hardware. (If you want more info on the service, here is the press release.)

What caught my eye was not the nature of the service itself, but what AT&T is calling it. Are you ready for this: Ultravailable Data. Not just Mostlyavailable, or Superavailable, mind you—this is Ultravailable.

Not too long ago, I wrote a column about my experiences creating products with aggressive service level agreements (SLAs). I noted that it’s difficult to create a new top-tier service level without facing pressure from account reps to slide unqualified customers into the program, increasing costs and lowering customer value.

If you’re still struggling with how to position SLAs to your customer base, check out “The art of positioning service levels to your clients.”

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