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The BI Service Level Agreement Checklist

by Dr. Berg

August 19, 2011

In this blog we will look at the top-10 questions you want to address in a Service Level Agreement with your internal, or outsourced, IT partner. If your SLA covers all this, you probably have the majority of items covered. We also take a look at what you should expect from 'normal' BI performance.

By Dr. Berg

What to Answer in your BI SLA

1.        When must data stores be loaded by (time)
- What will happened if a persistent problem occurs (“swat” teams)?
- Who is responsible for fixing process chains and who pays?
-  Do you get a discount for each DataStore that is not loaded in time?

  2.        How should software fixes be applied
- When will service packs, SAP Notes, and fixes be applied?
- Who pays for it?
- Who is responsible for testing them?

  3.        When will the system be upgraded
-  When will upgrades, service packs, and fix packs occur, how is the pricing determined?
-  Who pays for it and who is responsible for testing?
-  How long can the system be off-line?

4.        Minimum uptime and target uptime
- What is uptime defined as (data store loaded vs. queries available vs. security fixes applied vs. portal uptime vs. third-party reporting tool uptime vs. network uptime, etc.)?
- What are the penalties (money) for missing the uptime requirements?

5.        Issues log
-  What issues must be logged?
-  Who owns the log? Do you have access?
-  Can entries be updated, or must an audit trail be preserved?
6.        Backup and disaster recovery
-  What is included in the backup and when is it taken?
-  When will restore abilities be tested?
-  How fast must restore occur, and what data stores and users will first have access (priority list)?
7.        Who owns the data
-  If you switch vendors, who owns the data?
-  How will you get access to the data? Do you get full insights to all?
-  Who, of the vendor’s employees, gets access to your data? Can they share it  with your competitor?
8.        Service tickets
-  When will service tickets be monitored?
-  What are the categories and who will re solve them?
-  What are the resolution process and timelines?
-  How are customer and support satisfaction measured?
9.        Escalation process
-  What will happened if an issue cannot be resolved by the Internal IT department/vendor and your Business SLA manager?
-  What are the steps needed to terminate the SLA contract and are there any payments/fault payments or budget recourse (i.e., move money from cost centers)? The more details you put into the contract up front, the easier it will be to measure and the more likely you are to have a successful relationship

 10.     Be Reasonable, Not everything will run 100% correct all the time.
-   Some examples of reasonable performance include:

 a)       90% of all queries run under 20 seconds

b)       System is available 98% of the time

c)        Data loads are available at 8am — 99% of the time

d)       User support tickets are answered within 30 minutes (first response)

e)       User support tickets are closed within 48 hours — 95% of the time.

f)         System is never unavailable for more than 72 hrs — including upgrades, service packs, and disaster recovery

g)       Delta backups are done each 24 cycle and system backups are done every weekend

So you should spend some serious time writing the SLA. This ‘checklist’ should help you write  bullet-proof documents that can avoid many headaches later…

Dr. Berg

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