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The SLA is first and foremost a framework for discussions about the customer's service requirements and the IT organization's ability to deliver on those requirements.  In some enterprises, the SLA may serve only as a script, framing and organizing face-to-face discussions between IT management and its business unit counterparts. In other enterprises, the SLA constitutes a formal contract between IT and its customer. This is especially true when the business unit pays IT directly for services provided. At the very least, the SLA should offer the business unit a clear, comprehensive picture of the IT products and services it receives and the level of maintenance and support associated with each offering. The details captured in the document will reflect its anticipated use as a talking piece, a price list, or a binding business contract. Generally speaking, SLAs cover the following subjects:
SLA process objectives
Basic service terms and definitions
Roles and responsibilities of process participants
An inventory or summary listing of hardware and software assets
Standard service process workflows for problem prioritization and resolution
Costs of services encompassed by the SLA 
Desired SLA process outcomes and performance metrics
Because this chapter has already considered the SLA process in some detail, the next section will address the remaining components of the SLA.
For an electronic version of the SLA template and an example, see The Hands-On Project Office, http://www.crcpress.com/e_products/downloads/download.asp?cat_no=AU1991, chpt4~3~SLA~template and chpt4~3~SLA~example.
The costs documented in the SLA may include both nondiscretionary IT costs, such as vendor-based software licensing and maintenance fees, and the discretionary costs associated with system and Web site enhancements. In practice, each business unit's SLA funding level may be set to meet all nondiscretionary cost requirements. Discretionary expenditure funding may then be allocated based on past activity and anticipated needs. The total enterprise's IT investment in these cost categories and the distribution of the associated funds across business units would typically be set by the enterprise's planning and governance process as part of annual budget planning. For enterprises that fund the IT organization directly, actual cost information may be replaced by a list of the assets covered or perhaps a list of the IT personnel dedicated to that customer's service issues.
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