Definition: The Service Level Agreement (SLA) is an agreement between an IT service provider and a customer. The Operational Level Agreement (OLA) is an agreement between an IT service provider and another part of the same organization that regulates the provision of an infrastructure service. There is an important point to remember: when an ALS agreement is reached, the service provider serves as a service provider to the company; in the case of an OLA, the agreement is reached between two parties within the service provider`s organization. If the underlying OLA (s) do not exist, it is often very difficult for organizations to go back and enter into agreements between support teams to provide the OLA. OLA (s) should be seen as the basis of good practice and common agreement. I cannot declare myself a fan of contracts and other forms of written agreements. That doesn`t mean I`m against the idea of their existence. Like most of you, I have many other problems to solve and legally written documents are overhead, and therefore not in my field. At the beginning (of my career), I only knew the Service Level Agreement (SLA). But later, I discovered that there are also other chords, depending on the page you are looking at (see figure). Essentially, ITIL and ISO 20000 do not make a big difference in the definition and purpose of the agreements, but the designation is somewhat different.

Here is a very common situation: you have a customer who is a user (or rather a buyer) of your service, you make an agreement with him and you define your relationship. ALS is the result and the right way to do it. It will be the written document that will explain your relationship – the service objectives and responsibilities of both parties. It is an official document (i.e. it can be used in court proceedings) written in legal language. Well, I don`t remember seeing a document with such a name. You probably have a lot of such agreements, but you call them « ALS. » To avoid confusion, a UC is a contract you have with your supplier, i.e. with external parties who must achieve service goals for you, but for them you are a customer. What does an organization sign to the customer? ALS. Perhaps you are a service integrator and you have external companies that provide you with hardware, software or service.

As mentioned above, the UC must also support the SLA settings, and you use the UC to make sure you receive what is expected for the money you pay to the external company.