Q

Service contract tools

Anne Thomas Manes discusses what is included in a service contract between a client and provider and how well the contracts are implemented.

What kind of service contract tools are available? How efficient are they?

I guess that depends on what you mean when you say "service contract". When I say service contract, I refer to the complete set of agreements that exist between a service consumer and a service provider. These agreements include (but are not limited to):

  • Technical descriptions of the service, including its interface, interaction, and policy descriptions; also documentation that describes the semantics of the service
  • Privacy, security, and integrity agreements
  • Service level agreements, including expected/average/peak load levels that the consumer will submit, and minimum/average/maximum performance levels that the provider will deliver
  • Support agreements
  • Incident management agreements
  • Enhancement agreements
  • Remuneration agreements (both for agreed to usage and for service-level violations)

I'm not aware of any product that provides comprehensive service contract tools. Many types of products include tools for managing their specific aspects of a service contract (especially the technical bits). Some repository products provide the means for you to capture the contracts, and they can include execution of the agreements as part of their lifecycle management processes (i.e., the service consumer won't be provisioned until all the agreements have been signed or waived).

This was first published in July 2008

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