Software-as-a-service has been the buzzword that promises to provide prompt services while keeping companies shielded from the problems of implementation and maintenance of software. However, with enterprises offloading the physical control of software, service level agreements need to define very precisely how customers are compensated for downtimes.
For example, the Google Apps Premier Edition suite contains an availability guarantee only for its Gmail portion (for 99.9 percent uptime) and offers no commitment for the other components, which include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software.
"It would be comforting to have an SLA that covered the entire suite," says Mark Harrison, founding partner of Abraham Harrison LLC, provider of online marketing services.
In addition to defining the extent of uptime, the SLA must also unambiguously cover for the different types of outage, the extent to which the credits will cover for the outages and what is not exactly entitled to be covered by the service provider.
As mentioned at Register, there is immense scope for misinterpretation when it comes to SLA terms. Hence, it is in the best interest of enterprises to get the terms of SLA clear before embarking on the services approach to software.