The difference between an underpinning contract and a SLA

Hi Mr Wizard,

I have a confusion between a SLA & an Under Pinning Contract, In a production enviroment suppose if a Telecom Circuit goes down, If we engage the service provider for Incident management/RCA, we speak about the SLA there. But we actually agree an Under pinning Contract with the Service Provider during provision of the telecom circuit. How are under pinning contract & SLA related and what is the difference ? Can you please Clear my doubt.



Dear Lamar

Simple! An SLA is not a contract whereas an Underpinning Contract is, (there's no space in "underpinning" LAmar, else we'd have to call it a UPC) except in the case whether an SLA is the provider's view of the Underpinning Contract they provide to their customer in which case the SLA is of course a contract because a Underpinning Contract is a contract or else we wouldn't call it that. Some folks prefer to just call the Underpinning Contract a contract when viewed from the provider's perspective and not an SLA unless there is an SLA and that SLA is an addendum to the contract, which is an underpinning contract. In that case it is not clear whether to refer to it as a contract or an SLA from the provide viewpoint although it is clearly a contract from the customer's point of view because it is an underpinning contract to their own SLA to the customer which may or may not be a contract in exactly the same way depending on whether the customer sees them as an external service provider providing a SLA to their own SLA, in which the SLA to the customer, the first one that is not this new one we just mentioned, is clearly a Underpinning Contract to the customer, the new one that is not the one we started out about.

Really it is very simple. I have to admit it gets a bit frustrating explaining it over and over when ITIL lays it all out so clearly

Good Luck
the ITIL Wizard

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