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Does your Service Level Agreement need a tune-up?

Technology Lawyers that can help with IT Agreements

A good technology agreement is written in plain English. It should properly define the expectations of the parties as to service type and quality by clearly setting out responsibilities and level of performance required.

There are four principal types of IT Agreements.

Firstly, Software Licence Agreements and Software Ownership Agreements. These types of agreements transfer intellectual property rights from the intellectual property owner to the customers.

Secondly, IT Professional Services Agreements. IT professional services including system integration, tech support, website development, software maintenance and tech consulting services.

Thirdly, Cloud Services Agreements allow the provider to host a cloud computing system and give the customer remote access to the services through the Internet.

Fourthly, Combination Agreements which allow the provider to provide some combination of services. For example, where a software developer create a software application and then provides maintenance services for that software.

In this article, we will address Service Level Agreements or SLAs for maintenance services.

Service Level Agreements for Maintenance

A Service Level Agreement addresses the minimum standards expected from the performance of services. For tech maintenance, a provider will be to keen to assure in a Service Level Agreement what professional services are being offered, the support hours offered, escalation management, response and resolution times, and contact mediums. The agreement will cover the provider’s obligations in relation to acknowledging services requests, fixing broken technology, or providing some type of remedy. Service Level Agreements often provide deadlines for acknowledging supports requests and fixing problems.

A Service Level Agreement may also address whether the provider will include updates and upgrades. That is, as to whether the customer will obtain new software versions, where the provider has supplied a software product. Sometimes, providers, where the customer is paying for maintenance services, will also include in the Service Level Agreement, the right to updates and upgrades.

Service Level Contract Terms

A service legal agreement usually covers the following items: a description of the services, service availability (time window including prime time and non-prime time), service measurement (how each individual service of the specified services will be measured), problem management and escalation procedures, services fees and payment terms (compensation model), taxes, responsibilities of each parties, service warranties, security, intellectual property rights and confidentiality information, privacy, data security, legal compliance and resolution of disputes, termination and general clauses.  A provider may also wish to specifically exclude liability in relation to any third party software.

A well drafted Service Level Agreement will identify customer expectations and define the boundaries of the agreed services between the provider and the customer. A service legal agreement sets clearly defined roles and responsibilities of both parties with service levels and time frames that meets the parties expectations and needs.

It is critical to properly define the performance standards that a provider is obligated to meet and thereby avoid any disputes later.

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Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.

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