Service Level Agreement Template: How to Create Solid SLAs at Super Speed

Service Level Agreement Template

In our previous post – What is an SLA? How to Use Service-Level Agreements for Success – we gave you the complete lowdown on SLAs.

From learning what an SLA is to why you need one, and what goes in an SLA to the different types of SLAs available, you learned about the incredible usefulness of SLAs without the high-level, confusing baloney.

It piqued your interest, right?

Perhaps you even thought about making a shiny SLA template yourself, but realized creating an SLA is not exactly an easy endeavor.

Don’t worry.

I too know the difficulty involved with creating SLAs – but they’re needed. They’re there to establish trust and accountability, and at a time when 10 out of 15 companies are rapidly losing the trust of others, creating SLAs for your customers and clients will put you at a great advantage.

That’s why, in this post, I’ll be providing you with additional tips and tricks for creating, editing, and using SLA templates. You’ll also get your hands on an easy-to-use Process Street SLA template, from which you can create an infinite number of SLAs without hardly any effort!

Just read through the sections below to get started:

Let’s get rocking and rolling.

What is the SLA definition?

SLA definition
(Source)

In What is an SLA? How to Use Service-Level Agreements for Success, Adam Henshall succinctly defined service level agreements (SLAs):

“An SLA, or service-level agreement, is a document created together by two or more parties to specify services that a provider will deliver to a customer.

It’s a specific kind of contract which determines the scope of work and aims to keep performance levels to an agreed standard.”Adam Henshall, What is an SLA? How to Use Service-Level Agreements for Success

Now, the above definition – like others you’ll find in both dictionaries and online – is broad. That’s because SLAs are inherently broad; there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding what and what should not go into an SLA.

However, there are often common elements to be found in SLAs.

These are:

  • A declaration of the parties involved. 🤝
  • For customer-based and service-based SLAs, there are usually two parties involved – the supplier who’s, well, supplying the services, and the customer that’s receiving them. Meanwhile, for multi-level service SLAs, there will be various departments, parties, or organizations involved (after all, it’s in the name – multi-level!) But no matter what kind of SLA you’re going to use, it’s important to declare who’s involved at all levels.

  • A statement regarding the purpose of the SLA. 📑
  • In most SLAs, you’ll see a statement regarding what the SLA document is set out to do – its objective, goal, and purpose. This information usually appears right off the bat, in short, succinct, staccato paragraphs.

  • A list of services being supplied. 📦
  • Question: How can an SLA be an SLA without including a list of services that’s to be supplied? Answer: It can’t. That’s why an SLA needs to note exactly what services are being supplied. For instance, if an MSP is outsourcing services to a customer, the listed services might look similar to this list from TechHelpDirect: Telephone support; Email support; Remote assistance using TeamViewer or Remote Desktop (Apple or Microsoft); Support within business operating hours; Support outside of business operating hours.

  • An in-depth description of how services will be carried out, and when. 🕰
  • It’s not enough to list the services being provided. There also needs to be information regarding what times the services will be carried out (e.g. 7.30 am – 10 pm), where they will be carried out, to what standard, and what, exactly, each service entails. This completely informs the customer of what’s in store, plus, it holds the supplier accountable for the services provided.

  • The supplier and customer requirements. 📝
  • On top of listing the services being provided, it’s also crucial to acknowledge (in writing) the requirements and responsibilities of each organization involved. The suppliers’ responsibilities will, generally, be to do with the upholding of quality services. Meanwhile, the party receiving the services have requirements, too, such as ensuring they pay for the services regularly and on time.

  • Rules for post-agreement management. 👨‍💻
  • If all parties approve the agreement, then there needs to be upkeep to ensure the parties involved are happy, and there no failures from the parties who are supposed to be upholding their requirements and responsibilities. Simply put, this means regular (quarterly) reviews should take place. In the SLA’s text, there’s usually a section that describes the protocols for these reviews, who will do them, when, and how other parties should be contacted if an issue is found.

  • Acknowledgment of the SLA’s approval. ✅
  • If all the information looks correct – and the customer in question is happy with what the SLA states – the receiver of the services will then approve the SLA. This could come in the form of a signature, or with the click of a button, should the SLA be created using contemporary software. Either way, it’s often advised to add a section at the end of the SLA to show that the SLA has, indeed, been approved.

Now, how all the above elements are presented in an SLA differs wildly. It could be all on one page, or it could be a whopping 100+ page document. Similarly, the terminology may also differ, depending on how proficient a supplier is with legalese.

Bouncing off the last sentence, you may be curious about how an SLA holds up in the eyes of the law.

It’s a toughie.

Some SLAs can indeed be legally-binding and thus enforceable by law but, on the most part, they’re used as an accompaniment to contracts.

But where does a contract begin and an SLA end?

Take this (hefty, but well worth it) quote from the United Kingdom’s Southend-on-Sea borough council, where they superbly explain the difference between a contract and an SLA:

“Typically a contract is defined as an agreement between two or more parties, especially one that is written and enforceable by law. This legal document outlining the services provided, duration, cost, resources, approach, assumptions, etc.

An SLA would focus only on the performance measuring and service quality agreed to by both parties, and may be used as a measurement tool as part of the contract. The service levels themselves may be established based on various factors, for example, a service provider may provide on-line credit checks to its customers. A service level in the contract may state the on-line service must be operational 99% of any given month, or it must provide the requested information with 3 hours after a request, etc.

The rationale for having a separate SLA document is that you can revise the SLA without having to revise the contract. The contract can just refer to the agreed SLA. The contract might then last for 2 years but the SLA may be reviewed quarterly, for example. This reduces the administrative burden of reviewing the contract too frequently.”Southend-on-Sea borough council, The difference between a contract and an SLA

With all this considered, an SLA is a mutable agreement that ebbs and flows, changes with time, and essentially sets the precedented for a supplier of services and those who are receiving the services.

Now the definition of service level agreements has well and truly been covered, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty: Understanding how effective SLAs are created.

How is a service level agreement created?

Service level agreement

SLAs are most easily produced when you have an SLA template to draw from.

If this is your first time creating an SLA template, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What key text and sections absolutely must be included in the template?
  • How long should the template – and therefore any SLAs produced from the template – be?
  • How should the template be laid out?
  • How can the template be simultaneously broad enough so that it’s multi-purpose, but also not open to the point where there’s a lot of manual labor involved?

Once those questions have been answered and the SLA template you want to create is a little clearer in your mind, it’s time to pen it down. Digitally, of course.

Bear in mind that just as each organization’s SLA templates vary, the business tools used for SLA template creation are varied, too.

For instance, you could use Microsoft Word from the Office 365 bundle as a simple solution. Although it will take a little work transforming a blank document into something that resembles an SLA template, it’s certainly standard for many organizations to use Word for exactly this.

Specifically, you can simply build the template and leave placeholder text, such as {COMPANY NAME HERE} or {DATE HERE} which you replace each time you want to create a new SLA document from that template.

Similarly, you can also use Google Docs. There are additional advantages that come with using Google Docs, namely the ability to easily share the document with either members of your organization or the other organization(s) involved. This makes getting SLA approvals and/or signatures far easier.

That’s two options.

But, in the grand scheme of things, they’re fairly basic tools for SLA template creation.

For those wanting a more sophisticated, streamlined experience, there’s document automation software and business process management software. These business software solutions will provide you with a more hands-on approach, where you can easily create brilliant SLA templates due to the features that aren’t included in apps such as Word and Google Docs.

But what are they, exactly?

Document automation software: A brief explanation

Document automation software – also known as document generation software – is all in the name. It’s software that enables you to create template documents easily, meaning you can create new contracts, certificates, guarantees, deeds, and riders easily once the foundational templates have been created.

The limitation with document automation and generation software though, is that it only focuses on, well, documents. It can only be used for the business documentation and creation of SLA templates, meaning you’ll have to use other pieces of software to manage your other SLA processes, including SLA management!

Then there’s business process management (BPM) software.

Business process management software: A brief explanation

With BPM software, you can create, document, and even automate all of your business’ processes, no matter if they’re SLA related or not. BONUS CONTENT: Read our post What is BPM Software? The Best Business Process Management Software (BPMS).

For the SLA template process specifically, Process Street’s nifty templates and checklists are particularly useful.

Let me explain how it works.

If you wanted to create an SLA template with Process Street, you’d start by hitting the “Create a blank template” button – after signing up for free, of course.

You’d then add several tasks to the template with form fields attached.

These form fields could ask the user to write down the date, the name of the organizations involved with the SLA, the services being supplied, the requirements and responsibilities of the organizations involved, and so on.

Then, whenever a checklist is launched from the SLA template, the user adds relevant information to the task’s appropriate form fields. And thanks to the magic of variables, the information added will display again later on in the checklist.

So, let’s say one of the end tasks contains all the pre-written SLA text and any placeholder text, like in the screenshot below. Process Street’s nifty variables feature will ensure the information added by the user will replace the placeholder text, meaning a new SLA pertinent to each new customer, client, or company you work with will be created!

SLA screenshot

Now, if you’re a newcomer to either SLA creation or Process Street, I’m sure this sounds mindblowing.

Prepare to have your mind blown again.

To help you get creating perfect SLAs right off the bat, we’re offering you a super flexible SLA template process that you can use immediately! Plus, it combines all the advantages of using the aforementioned tools and pieces of software, all in one!

Read the section below to learn more about this incredible template. ⬇️

Using Process Street’s service level agreement template process

Our service level agreement template process is embedded above. (You can also view it by clicking this link.)

The template itself covers the SLA’s most important sections, including:

  • An agreement overview
  • The agreement’s purpose, goal, and objectives
  • The services being supplied and their scope
  • Supplier and customer requirements and responsibilities
  • A section regarding performance monitoring and reviews
  • A section on service management
  • Plus, in-built approval steps!

To create your SLA, all you have to do is follow the template’s steps. They will guide you by asking you to add relevant bits of information.

Then, once added, you’ll be presented with your first SLA draft. You can get your customer – or whoever else is involved with the SLA – to then approve the draft itself.

If it’s good to go, the last stages involve formatting it up so it looks exactly how you want it to, then sending it across to the others involved so they have a hard copy.

That’s it!

Simple, right?

If your organization wants to add sections, remove text, or make any other general changes, go ahead!

But stick around first, as I’m about to show you some other SLA template examples that could help you with making edits…

SLA example templates to use as inspiration

SLA inspiration
(Source)

Want to edit the template a little to better suit your organization’s needs?

I hear you.

That’s why, in this section, we’ll look at and expand on the four SLA template examples originally mentioned in What is an SLA? How to Use Service-Level Agreements for Success.

By looking at these examples, you could be inspired to add, remove, or change certain sections of your brand new Process Street SLA template!

Do keep in mind that, once again, these SLA example templates are incredibly varied. There’s no one-size-fits-all SLA template and they can come in a broad range of sizes, lengths, and looks – the following template examples are no different.

Service level agreement template example #1: SLAtemplate

First up is this template from SLAtemplate.com. It covers all the necessary elements – an agreement overview, detailed information about the services being provided, an approval section, and more – all without being too confusing or overwhelming.

For those who know that time is of the essence, this example shows how SLAs don’t need to be longwinded documents. While the most important areas are indeed featured, the SLA doesn’t go overboard with the sheer amount of sections included.

If you’re planning to add sections and text to our service level agreement template, leafing through this template will help ensure you’ll find a good middle ground.

TechHelpDirect (an MSP) uses this very SLA template for the agreements they draw up. And, as you can see from this example of their service-based SLA, it’s a sleek document that wouldn’t give potential customers a headache due to overstuffing.

Service level agreement template example #2: ICAO

Now, while there’s certainly a time and place for smaller SLAs, there will be instances when an SLA needs to be as thorough and detailed as possible.

Take this example from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The ICAO is the UN’s specialized agency for international air navigation. Simply put, this means they’re at the helm of making sure the techniques, principles, and standards used in international air transport are up to scratch.

Their SLA template is one of the heftiest around, coming in at a whopping a 102 pages.

However, those 102 pages aren’t filled with unnecessary, irrelevant details. On the contrary; it’s jam-packed with essential sections that help an incredibly important organization work with countries across the globe.

Plus, as you can see below, it even comes with an insightful page at the beginning outlining the benefits of an SLA for those who are new to them:

“Better communication.
It facilitates two-way communication between the parties. This communication starts at the beginning of the process to establish an SLA and continues throughout the life of the arrangement. The parties involved come together in order to understand each other’s needs, priorities and concerns, and to gain an insight into the problems which may be faced by each party through the failure of each party to fulfil their obligations.

Guards against expectation creep.
It is not uncommon for one party’s expectations of another to be higher than that which may be considered reasonable. Discussing these expectations and the resource commitments necessary to meet them is one activity undertaken in the establishment of an SLA. The process facilitates the identification and
discussion of expectations. As a result, it helps identify service levels that are considered acceptable by each party and which are attainable and achievable.

Mutually agreed standard.
It sets an agreed standard against which performance may be
measured. It identifies customer expectations, defines the boundaries of the service provision and clarifies responsibilities. In the absence of a shared understanding about needs and priorities, it is easy for conflicts to arise between parties. An SLA and the communication process involved in establishing it help to minimise the conflicts between the parties and provides a means for conflict resolution should a problem arise.

A process for gauging service effectiveness.
As the SLA defines standards against which the service may be measured and evaluated, it provides the basis for performing an assessment of the effectiveness of the service.”
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Service Level Agreement

If you’re so inclined, maybe a similar bullet-pointed list could be added to the introduction of your SLA.

Service level agreement template example #3: ArubaCloud

While our heads are up in the clouds thinking about ICAO, the third SLA template example is from ArubaCloud.

ArubaCloud – as you might expect from the name – is a Cloud-solutions company. They provide Cloud-based services to a plethora of clients, meaning they need SLAs for each new customer they begin working with.

The succinct nature of the SLA’s text – alongside the smaller typeface and the SLA’s ergonomic layout – means that the most crucial parts of the SLA can be featured across two pages.

It’s short, easy on the eye, and not to mention easy to read.

When formatting your SLA document, perhaps you could take a leaf out of ArubaCloud’s book and present it in a similar fashion.

Service level agreement template example #4: PandaDoc

The fourth template comes from PandaDoc, a piece of document automation software known for its built-in signature feature.

They’ve created this SLA template which, due to the way it’s written, would be used by those with SLA know-how – or at least by those with experience of legal writing.

It’s a solid template with sections on the rider agreement, service levels and service credits, and performance monitoring. Despite the legal writing, it could prove inspirational for how you want your SLA to read and feel. If you’re wanting an incredibly authoritative SLA, then maybe this template example will give you some food for thought!

There you have it.

Four SLA template examples to browse, look at and learn from, so should you want to edit your Process Street service level agreement template, you can do so with confidence.

But did you know that, with Process Street, you can do more than just create SLAs from templates?

If not, you’re about to find out the limitless possibilities of what comes with using state-of-the-art BPM software.

How Process Street can aid you with further SLA management!

SLA management

To recap, Process Street is superpowered checklists.

You can document workflows, business processes, and integral procedures as templates. Then, whenever you want to follow that process, you run a checklist from that template.

For recurring tasks, checklists help with business efficiency by streamlining the process. Plus, you can keep human error at bay!

Check out our intro video for more on how Process Street works.

But what makes Process Street checklists superpowered, exactly?

Our nifty checklist app contains incredible additional features, such as stop tasks, conditional logic, dynamic due dates, task permissions, task assignments, role assignments, and approvals. When added to your templates, these features bolster run-of-the-mill checklists into intelligent checklists that are out of this world.

For a deep dive into how some of these features work, just watch the webinar below.

How you can use Process Street for all your SLA needs

As you now know, you can launch checklists from our SLA template to create SLAs for each new customer you work with.

It’s easy, quick, and you’ll gain your customer’s admiration by providing a professional document so rapidly.

But that’s not the only SLA-related thing you can do with Process Street.

For instance, you also can document workflows for SLA management!

Remember earlier when I mentioned that an integral part of SLA management is for the parties involved to undergo regular reviews? That’s because it is integral, and a necessary SLA process. To make the whole process easier, you can create a checklist for that reviewing stage that you can run each quarter.

Additionally, you can also make use of many of Process Street’s readily-available templates and add SLA steps to them!

Here’s a list of some templates you can add to your account and edit right away:

With the free service level agreement template, information on how to use and edit the template, and that enormous list of additional resources, this post on SLA templates has reached its conclusion.

Here’s to being able to grow your business by creating proper, professional SLAs.

Have you created an SLA before? Do you have any SLA-related tips and tricks to share with the Process Street community? If so, write them down in the comment box below! 💡

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Thom James Carter

Thom is a junior content writer at Process Street. He has previously worked in copywriting and content creation for multiple start-ups and SMBs. He’s interested in technology, culture, homebrewing, and hiking up the hills and mountains near his home in Edinburgh, Scotland.


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