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A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is the service contract component between a service provider and customer. A SLA provides specific and measurable aspects related to service offerings. For example, SLAs are often included in signed agreements between Internet service providers (ISP) and customers.
SLA is also known as an operating level agreement (OLA) when used in an organization without an established or formal provider-customer relationship.
Adopted in the late 1980s, SLAs are currently used by most industries and markets. By nature, SLAs define service output but defer methodology to the service provider's discretion. Specific metrics vary by industry and SLA purpose.
SLAs features include:
In outsourcing, a customer transfers partial business responsibilities to an external service provider. The SLA serves as an efficient contracting tool for current and continuous provider-customer work phases.