InfoWorld Test Center Analysis: Spotlight on Service Level Agreements

SAN MATEO, CA – APRIL 27, 2001- As companies look for ways to make their IT investments more effective and more responsive to fast-changing business requirements, outsourcing has become a common way to manage services, from enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM) to Web hosting, e-mail and security. According to the editors of InfoWorld, the growing demand for outside partners necessitates a well-defined service level agreement (SLA), a formal contract between service provider and hiring company. InfoWorld reports on this topic in the April 27 issue of InfoWorld – the weekly magazine delivering in-depth analysis of enterprise technology and strategies combined to deliver insight into vital business solutions.


InfoWorld predicts that the increasing complexity of business-driven information systems will steer most companies to take advantage of external providers to host and manage critical applications or services. Central to such partnerships are SLAs that define measurable performance metrics. According to InfoWorld, learning how to interpret the business, legal and technical aspects of an SLA can mean the difference between having a mutually rewarding relationship or an endless sequence of disappointments, and possibly legal disputes, between the two parties. And a sound SLA will provide a set of measurements to ensure that hosted applications are performing up to standard.

"There are three main components to outsourcing success: partnerships that are built around an accurate definition of each party's responsibility, clear performance expectations for the service, and well-identified corrective actions for when things don't go as planned," said Michael Vizard, editor in chief, InfoWorld, and CTO Magazine. "These elements must be spelled out explicitly in an SLA – otherwise, there's no way to accurately assess how well you're being served. In the world of IT as a service, the SLA replaces the familiar give-and-take between management and IT staff – and in today's business world, where decisions are driven more and more by technology, clear and open lines of communication between the two are critical."

InfoWorld recommends that SLAs include a comprehensive legal umbrella that protects both the business and technical requirements of a company. The SLA should also state performance expectations in measurable terms, whenever appropriate, and support periodic service reviews that can be used to enforce litigation, if necessary. For more in-depth reporting on SLAs, please visit

About InfoWorld Media Group

InfoWorld Media Group delivers in-depth analysis of enterprise technology and strategies combined to provide insight into vital business solutions through its integrated online, print, research and events channels. In an era when technology is more critical to business success than ever before, InfoWorld Media Group provides senior IT level expertise for executives such as CTOs and CIOs on how technology drives specific business benefits such as revenue growth, relationship management, and enhancing organizational efficiencies.

InfoWorld Media Group's coverage of key technologies, products and trends that assist IT professionals in leveraging technology for business advantage is substantiated by original research conducted in InfoWorld's $23 million, dedicated multi-platform, enterprise test center. Since 1978, InfoWorld has performed the industry's most trusted testing of technology and products. To learn more about InfoWorld, go to

Headquartered in San Mateo, Calif., InfoWorld Media Group is a wholly owned independent business unit of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company. IDG publishes more than 285 computer magazines and newspapers and 500 book titles and offers online users the largest network of technology-specific sites around the world through (, which comprises more than 200 targeted Web sites in 52 countries. IDG is also a leading producer of 110 computer-related expositions worldwide, and provides IT market analysis through 49 offices in 41 countries worldwide. Company information is available at