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Service/Support Level Agreements (SLA's) - What To Look For

With ERP software, Service Level Agreements (SLA's) mostly define how your post-go-live support will be offered by your chosen vendor. While many of these are similar, there are things everyone looking at new software should know about their prospective vendors support and service before moving forward. Let's take a quick look into some of these.

Resolution Timelines

One of the main components of an SLA is the resolution timeline matrix (or narrative). This typically identifies high-level support scenarios and assigns them a severity level along with an estimated response time. This is the section most clients look at to try and get an idea of how long they would wait for assistance.

The times listed in these are typically an initial response, usually meaning that your ticket will be engaged by the vendor within this timeframe, not necessarily resolved. In other words, should you report a concern which has a 1-day response time, someone will likely reach out to you within 1 business day to gather additional information if needed and begin working on your issue. The complete resolution timeline is typically more dynamic and may be estimated by your support technician after some initial analysis, based on the severity of the issue or may not even be provided at all. A basic process question is going to typically be resolved while on the phone or email, while other tickets such as data or programmatic issues/errors or feature requests will require follow-up and can take much longer, or perhaps never implemented at all.

Some vendors may even have optional response level plans (i.e. Gold Level, Platinum Level) which they claim will reduce wait time for each of the base response times. Without having a good understanding of the base level of service for a specific vendor, it is tricky to know whether this is a value or not.