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 , updated on December 10, 2016
A service level agreement, or SLA, is a commitment that a service provider makes to a customer. It can take the form of a formal contract or a statement that may include several operational metrics.
An operational level agreement, or OLA, is a series of commitments between teams that achieves an SLA. It includes the details of how an SLA is achieved internally. This allows information such as your team structures to be hidden from the customer. The customer typically views such information as meaningless noise anyway.


An IT team provides a marketing team with an SLA that specifies a 99.99% uptime target for their website. The IT team maintains an OLA that describes the deployment, maintenance and support arrangements for the website that includes roles for service desk, web development, application development, database administrators and infrastructure support. If the site goes down, the OLA provides a clear escalation path and procedure for resolving the incident quickly and following up to make sure the root cause is addressed.
Service level agreementOperational level agreement
DefinitionDocumented service commitments that a service provider offers a customer.A document that describes the roles, responsibilities, timeframes, policies and processes that operational teams use to achieve an SLA.
ExampleAn uptime guarantee.A call tree for incident management.

Service Management

This is the complete list of articles we have written about service management.
Configuration Item
Help Desk
Incident Management
Incident Process
IT Capabilities
IT Gaps
IT Services
Patch Management
Problem Management
Root Cause Analysis
Service Level
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