By: Jim O’Brien
In reviewing and negotiating technology acquisition agreements, product or service, with a well-defined specification and having completed the “or what?” analysis, a sometimes forgotten issue relates to how the performance of the suppliers compliance with the specification is to be accomplished. The ubiquitous “Test Man” used the “Can you hear me now?” method. Most would agree that, while mildly enjoyable to watch, such efforts would not serve as an effective method to confirm service levels are being achieved.
Purchasers of technology products and services need to create their own contractual Test Man and clearly address in their agreements important elements related to the service levels including: the testing methodology, frequency, calculation methods and reporting on each service level. In many situations, when considering these issues purchasers find adjustments need to be made to the Service Levels so as to achieve comfort that the product or service received will meet its expectations.
Failing to adequately define testing methodology, frequency, calculation methods and reporting on each service level can result in significant frustration when it becomes apparent that a failure has gone unrecognized and no remedy is provided due to your “Test Man” not asking the right questions or worse yet, any questions at all.