OLA vs. SLA: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between OLAs and SLAs is that they represent different commitments: The SLA underscores a commitment to the client/customer. The OLA highlights the commitment to internal groups within the organization.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Operational Level Agreements (OLAs) are two important elements of any service contract. Both SLAs and OLAs are essential for maintaining high service standards and ensuring that the partnership between the service provider and customer is mutually beneficial. They represent the legal, contractual obligation between the organization and the service provider, aligning the goals of both parties and setting boundaries and expectations. In this blog post, we will explore the differences and similarities between SLAs and OLAs, and discuss why each is an important part of any service environment. We will cover the types of services that are commonly covered by SLAs and OLAs, how each can benefit the customer and the provider, and the different approaches that can be taken to ensure that the SLA and OLA are mutually beneficial. We will also explore the different methods of measuring and tracking compliance with SLAs and OLAs, and the challenges that can arise in this process. Finally, we will provide

ITIL Foundation SLA, OLA & UCs

What is an OLA?

A more specific agreement known as an operational level agreement (OLA) outlines the interdependent relationships that support a service level agreement. The OLA frequently outlines the duties of each internal person, team, or department involved, as well as procedures, policies, delivery specifications, and deadlines for completion. OLAs are most frequently found in the IT sector, but they can be found in any partnership where one party provides a service to another.

What is an SLA?

A service level agreement (SLA) is a written document that outlines the conditions for a service that is offered. These kinds of agreements are most common in the IT sector, where software providers describe the specifications of their products with their clients. SLAs, however, could exist in other sectors of the economy that work with both service providers and consumers. SLAs frequently include details about a software or technology product’s capabilities, features of a service, and ongoing maintenance agreements.


OLAs and SLAs have a number of significant similarities and differences, including:


The industry in which these two types of agreements are found is one similarity between them. SLAs and OLAs are useful in any sector where there is a service provider and receiver, but the IT and software development industries use both agreements the most frequently. Both SLAs and OLAs are crucial tools for ensuring that software products and services are reliable, satisfy customers’ needs, and receive routine maintenance.

Sections covered

SLAs and OLAs differ significantly in terms of the sections that are included in each agreement. SLAs frequently include sections that address the services portion of an agreement, such as the usability of a software product, its features and functionalities, and performance standards. OLAs concentrate on internal procedures and contain sections that list the people, departments, and teams accountable for upholding the SLA terms.


The opportunity to bargain is yet another significant distinction between SLAs and OLAs. Typically, when establishing the terms of a SLA, negotiations are possible between clients or customers and their service provider. Negotiations aren’t typically involved in the process of creating an OLA document because OLAs concentrate on the internal parties, groups, and departments in charge of upholding SLA requirements.

Involved parties

The parties to the agreements are the final distinction between SLAs and OLAs. SLAs are contracts between software product or service providers and their clients. Service providers frequently exclude clients and customers from the process of establishing the terms of an OLA and instead use OLAs for internal processes.

How to write an SLA

To learn how to write an SLA, take into account the following actions:

1. Include a brief introduction

A succinct introduction should be included in the first paragraph of an SLA. You may sum up the purpose of the service level agreement in two to three sentences. The date of completion, the date of signing, and a brief summary of the SLA’s contents are frequently included in introductions. You may also include summarizations of pricing in your introduction.

2. Declare the parties involved

Next, it’s critical to list all parties to the SLA. To do this, make a list of the internal people, groups, and departments responsible for providing the service, along with the clients or customers who will be receiving it. You can group the participants by organization or company for more complicated SLAs that involve multiple departments and teams.

3. Define terms

It’s crucial to define the terms in your agreement so that everyone who reads it understands what’s in it. This is crucial for highly technical SLAs or agreements that cover intricate software and technical terms. To accomplish this, make sure to include a section in your SLA that defines any complicated or technical terms in plain, uncomplicated terms.

4. Outline services

Outlining the services that are provided in your SLA can be a good way to get everyone’s expectations in line. This can include your service delivery strategy, frequency of service maintenance, ticketing procedures, and customer service outsourcing policies. To establish and maintain precise service expectations, it’s crucial to be specific and detailed when describing your services.

5. End with an acknowledgment

An acknowledgment is a section of your SLA that you and your clients sign to formally acknowledge your acceptance of the terms of a contract. In your SLA, including an acknowledgment section can help shield your business from pending legal action. You can simply add blank lines for signatures at the end of your agreement to include an acknowledgment.

How to write an OLA

To learn how to write an OLA, take into account the following actions:

1. Outline the purpose of the agreement

Similar to an SLA, the first step in developing a successful OLA is to provide a succinct introduction that outlines the purpose of the agreement. Internal teams can use OLAs to clarify their roles and responsibilities when delivering a service. Consider using language in your OLA’s purpose statement that highlights how useful it is for coordinating team and department expectations and holding departments accountable for their outputs.

2. Indicate involved parties

In an OLA, identifying the parties involved is crucial for two reasons in particular. You can start by listing the various people, groups, and departments that are crucial to offering your services. Second, by including the client receiving the service for each OLA, you can organize multiple OLAs. Simply include a section with a list of the people, teams, and departments involved in the service provided to indicate the parties involved in your OLA.

3. Describe the length of the agreement

Next, stating the duration of your contract can assist you in developing and maintaining a schedule for the provided services. Additionally, this can assist in holding your teams and departments responsible for completing their deliverables. Think about describing the duration of your internal processes in your OLA using the schedule established in your SLA.

4. Summarize responsibilities

You can streamline your processes by listing the duties of your individuals, teams, and departments. Consider categorizing the internal parties involved in your OLA by responsibility type to achieve this. You could, for instance, categorize your events under customer service, technical support, and accounting. Then you can specify the precise duties and requirements for each member of these groups.


Is OLA greater than SLA?

An agreement between an IT service provider and a customer is known as a service level agreement (SLA). The Operational Level Agreement (OLA), which regulates the delivery of an infrastructure service, is a contract between an IT service provider and another division of the same organization.

What is SLA OLA and KPI?

A service provider and a customer enter into a service level agreement, which is essentially a contract. An agreement between the internal SLA support groups of a facility is known as an OLA. 3. The OLA has a smaller target group than the SLA when comparing the target groups.

What is the difference between SLA & OLA and underpinning contract?

SLAs are different to KPIs. While KPIs are typically used to assess how well businesses are performing in relation to their strategic objectives, SLAs are documents that describe the broader service agreements between a service provider and its customers.

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