Have you ever bought something, only to have buyers’ remorse? It’s a pretty terrible feeling—buying something, only to find out it didn’t hold up to your expectations or worse, feeling like you were the victim of a “bait and switch.” Maybe you made a decision without getting all of the facts, or maybe you were given information you thought to be accurate that turned out to be false (as discussed in our ‘Faux Cloud’ blog).
Whether it’s a new car, a new house, or your business’s new accounting software, if you don’t feel confident in your decision, buyers’ remorse will set in. There are many ways to attempt to mitigate this throughout the buying process. As you progress from developing an initial list to making your final selection, an effective process will weed out the vendors and implementation partners who aren’t aligned to your needs.
This said, as you progress through the decision-making process, an important consideration you need to make is that of the service-level agreement: The promises that a vendor makes to the customer.
How a Customer-Focused SLA Helps Avoid Buyers’ Remorse
Think of an SLA like a contract, combined with a warranty. The point of a service level agreement is to set responsibilities for the vendor and provide expectations for the customer during implementation, use, and until termination. Yet, like warranties, not all SLAs are created equal.
The Goal of an SLA
According to a Wired article, an SLA is designed to set forth roles and responsibilities, and should, at a minimum, do the following:
- Codify the specific parameters and minimum levels required for each element of the service, as well as remedies for failure to meet those requirements.
- Affirm your institution’s ownership of its data stored on the service provider’s system, and specifies your rights to get it back.
- Detail the system infrastructure and security standards to be maintained by the service provider, along with your rights to audit their compliance.
- Specify your rights and cost to continue and discontinue using the service.
Not All SLAs are Created Equally
There are thousands of vendors in the cloud space, and knowing this, thousands more companies that provide the vendors hosting, storage, and services. With all of these moving parts in the value chain, some vendors may try to shirk their responsibilities by passing the buck or worse, designing an SLA that protects them, not you.
How the Right SLA Lets You Buy with Confidence
When you look for a vendor, you should receive certain guarantees—in writing. You should be able to reasonably expect that your vendor writes an SLA designed to give you the control and data ownership you deserve.
One of the leading SLAs in the market today is that of Sage Intacct, who has designed their SLA to meet the uptime, security, and data ownership needs of their customers. This SLA is meant to meet or exceed the needs of even the largest customers with the most demanding needs, and does not cut corners for smaller customers either. Among the promises in the Sage Intacct Buy with Confidence Guarantee:
- 8% Guaranteed Uptime: Sage Intacct is focused on providing anytime, anywhere access for finance professionals, and backs up this guarantee with a 99.8% uptime guarantee. In turn, they put their money where their mouth is—backing up their promises with a credit of 10% for each percentage point below the availability target, up to 50% of that month’s subscription fees. But don’t rely on this discount—Sage Intacct has a 12-month rolling average of 99.987%, meaning that unscheduled downtime totaled 68 minutes last year.
- Disaster Recovery and Data Availability: Sage Intacct has partnered with the global leader in disaster recovery, Quality Technology Services (QTS), to ensure that in the event of a disaster, applications will be available in 24 hours and no more than two hours of work will be lost.
- Support Teams You Can Count On: Sage Intacct is as committed to its customers as it is to creating high quality products. In the event that you contact their support team, you will receive acknowledgement from us within four hours and resolution or an update within 24 hours.
- Communication Flow: Even with the time-saving automation you get by moving to Sage Intacct, sometimes you may schedule to do something off the clock. With advanced notice of planned downtime and updates, you can rest easy knowing that nothing out of the ordinary will take place while you’re in the middle of running a report or resolving an issue.
- It’s Your Data… Always: As a Sage Intacct customer, you explicitly own your own data, and may download this data at any time. If you ever decide to leave Sage Intacct, we will help you get your data out of our systems. You can also preserve your data on Sage Intacct’s systems for as long as you like, for a nominal fee.
Ready to learn more? Head over to the Sage Intacct Buy with Confidence Datasheet to read up on their promise to you the customer.
Get More Confidence with the Support of rinehimerbaker
We formed rinehimerbaker for entrepreneurial owners and managers who want to achieve more, faster. A partnership with rinehimerbaker will deliver less stress, more time, better accounting and greater results. Learn more about your journey to the cloud by reading the following resources, and contact us for more details.