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Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are pretty common when services are being purchased, we all expect that our business grade ISP, cloud providers, etc will offer a guarantee of 99.9% uptime, X amount of bandwidth, et al...

My question however is, is it common to have a similar written, contractual obligation within a company such that the IT department provides an SLA, not necessarily to the employees but to the other business units.

There are obviously other factors that include size of the company and the IT department, the company structure as some companies IT actually bills the other departments for service, and many more, but as a broad generality is this something that "most" companies would or would not do?

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No it is not common. An SLA is an assurance or guarantee, and the cost for not meeting the SLA is a financial penalty. I've never seen funding in a budget in IT for internal operational financial penalties, and that means there would be no money for not meeting an SLA, and the SLA would be meaningless. (Unless it was taken out of a bonus pool or something similar).

This is one of the primary benefits and differences of using a service provider, you get the opportunity to structure a contract so that both parties are aware of the agreed-to requirements and consequences of not meeting them.

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Generally out of 30 years of experience: NO. It is way more common to have companies with IT departments that have very little real knowledge what they do. The larger the company, in general (and IT based companies obviously not included) the higher the tendency that a combination of the Peter Principle and the Dunning Kruger Effect leave a molass of not exactly super competent people running the show. Instead of an SLA you end up with paying multiple times the price of a cloud provider and monthy to get a new VM up.

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  • And I assume that smaller companies lack the infrastructure or the impetus to require an SLA from their IT department. Also thanks for "Peter Principle" I'd never heard of this one. – tremor Jul 22 '20 at 21:06
  • Pretty much yes. An SLA is not just technological - you also msut have the people ready (depending on SLA) to fix issues fast. And if you talk about uplinks that means possibly multiple internet providers or at least one with - an SLA. But that requires someone in the middle of the night picking up the phone. – TomTom Jul 22 '20 at 21:56

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