Issues to consider when drafting, reviewing or negotiating service levels include:
- Are uptime service levels measured monthly, or over a different period? (A 99.9% uptime service level measured monthly allows for a single outage of approx. 43 minutes; measured quarterly, that increases to more than two hours.)
- Are out-of-hours outages dealt with in the same way as outages during business hours?
- What types of downtime excluded from the availability calculation, e.g. planned maintenance or Force Majeure events?
- For response/resolution service levels, are different severities of fault subject to different service levels? Does a workaround constitute a resolution for the purpose of the service level?
- Do the service levels apply from Day 1, or does the supplier have a grace period to allow the service to be ‘bedded in’?
- Are there any ‘chronic’ service levels’, which if breached entitle the customer to terminate the agreement?
- If service credits are payable for breach of service levels, are the service credits subject to a cap? If a default results in breaches of multiple service levels, can the customer claim multiple service credits?
- Does a service credit constitute the customer’s sole remedy, or is the customer able to claim against the supplier if its actual losses exceed the value of the service credit?
- How and when does the customer claim service credits?