Let’s not mince words here. Service level agreements (SLAs) can be a total pain in the ass.
They’re hard to manage. And if you don’t spend enough time or resources monitoring your SLAs, it could hurt your business.
That’s why we need SLA monitoring tools. But what exactly is SLA monitoring? Which tools are the best, and why?
In this guide, we’ll cover all that and more.
Ready? Let’s jump in!
Table of Contents
What Is an SLA?
What is a service level agreement (SLA)?
An SLA it’s basically a service contract between two parties. Most often, it’s an agreement between a service provider and a service receiver – in other words, a business and its customer.
This agreement outlines many items pertinent to the business arrangement, including, but not limited to:
- What the service is and how it works.
- Responsibilities of the service provider.
- How the service will be performed.
- Support and resolution options.
Here at EmailAnalytics, we focus on response time. So for the purposes of this guide, we’ll focus on support and resolution options.
Particularly, how long should the customer expect to wait to receive a response from the service provider?
What Is SLA Monitoring?
Okay, so we’ve established what an SLA is.
What is SLA monitoring?
SLA monitoring is the process of ensuring that obligations from your SLA are met. It’s a way of keeping promises, upholding commitments, and maintaining trust.
The Best SLA Monitoring Tools
Now let’s get down to it.
What are the best SLA monitoring tools available?
If your reps communicate with customers via email like Gmail or Outlook, then you need a way to track email response times as part of your SLA. That’s where EmailAnalytics comes in.
EmailAnalytics seamlessly integrates with Gmail / Google Workspace and Outlook to visualize your team’s email activity, including:
- Quantity of emails sent / received by agent
- Average email response time
- Email response time by customer or recipient
If your SLA requires staying under a certain email response time, then use EmailAnalytics to track, enforce, and improve it.
Plus, you can setup custom real-time alerts to be notified when emails have been sitting without a response for too long, so you never breach another SLA.
Next up, there’s Datadog. It’s a cloud-based SLA monitoring tool that covers metrics like availability, response time, throughput, notable errors, and others.
Even better, you can tinker with your dashboard to make sure you’re reporting on all the metrics you need to know. You can also make API tests and conveniently integrate this software with a host of others – including Slack, Pagerduty, and Jira.
Like many of the options on this list, it offers a free trial, so you can give it a try before fully committing to it.
Freshworks’s Freshservice platform is a web-based IT service desk tool, complete with all the SLA management features you need. With it, you can set your SLA targets as appropriate, fully customize a dashboard, and set targets for priority, response time, and resolution time.
It also has built-in alerts and ticket escalation, so you can make sure all your issues get resolved as quickly as possible – though some users aren’t blown away by the automation workflows available.
Improve your team's email response time by 42.5% With EmailAnalytics
- 35-50% of sales go to the first-responding vendor.
- Following up within an hour increases your chances of success by 7x.
- The average professional spends 50% of their workday on email.
Atera is another cloud-based service designed for managed service providers (MSPs).
With remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools aplenty and professional services automation systems (PSAs), you can comprehensively monitor and manage your SLAs.
It features a response-forward SLA manager so you can resolve issues faster and easy configuration, so you can get up and running quickly. In their words, it’s “MSP Software that doesn’t suck!”
SuperOps.ai is another option, providing professional service automation (PSA), an intuitive ticketing system, tools for creating and actively managing your SLAs, project management options, and free data exchange between different modules – making it much easier to utilize your multilevel SLAs.
There’s also an automated service desk that helps you gather and report on metrics – though there’s no native function for invoicing.
6. ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus
ManageEngine’s ServiceDesk Plus is designed like an IT help desk tool with specific features that make it great for SLA management. With it, you’ll be able to create all the site-specific SLAs you need.
You’ll also be able to track and resolve incidents, process service requests, and more, all using built-in tools like the dynamic ticketing system and automated escalations.
It’s all your SLA information in one place, with plenty of features and tools to make it seamless.
7. Solarwinds VoIP and Network Quality Manager
Solarwinds offers this in-depth quality of service (QoS) monitoring tool that supports IP SLA monitoring for Cisco routers and switches.
With it, you’ll be able to keep a close eye on how your devices are performing – and watch out for red flags like jitter, latency, and packet loss. It comes with real-time WAN monitoring, a built-in alert system that you can customize, VoIP call path tracing, and automatically generated reports.
It has a lot of bells and whistles, which can be a good thing. But it may also seem bloated and hard to use if you’re a small business or if you’re new to the world of SLA monitoring.
Features to Look for in Your SLA Monitoring Tool
The right tool makes all the difference.
But with so many tools on the market, it’s hard to know which one is best for your SLA monitoring.
Different organizations are going to have different goals on this front, so it’s a good idea to spend some time with your partners discussing your top priorities and your strategy in choosing the right tool.
But even so, you should look for a tool with the following features:
- Creation and initial management. Ideally, you have tools in place for creating initial SLAs, getting them signed, and launching them.
- Ticketing and task management systems. You’ll also want some sort of ticketing and task management system in place.
- Issue/incident flagging. If there is a breach of responsibilities, are you able to flag it proactively, even if none of your service receivers notice it?
- An escalation system. You need an escalation system in place, so you can increase the priority of this conflict and get to a resolution faster.
- Automation. The best SLA monitoring tools have automation features built in. They could send you automatic alerts, via email, text, or another channel, whenever certain types of breaches unfold.
- Cloud hosting and universal availability. It’s the norm these days, but you should make sure your monitoring system is hosted in the cloud and universally available.
- Scalability. If you’re a new business or a small business, you’ll want to make sure that your chosen platform is scalable.
- Learnability. Learnable platforms are much more conducive to easy internal training, saving you time and headaches. They also tend to be used more consistently, increasing the efficiency and productivity of your entire organization in the process.
- Excellent customer support. If you encounter a technical issue, or if the service is down, is there adequate customer support in place to help you address it?
SLA monitoring has the power to improve your business in more than one way.
But it’s not the only type of monitoring you need.
More transparency and awareness in your business is going to give you access to more data, give you a better understanding of how your business works, and ultimately, allow you to make better decisions.
That’s just one reason why we created EmailAnalytics – our signature email monitoring and reporting tool.
With it, you’ll be able to monitor and evaluate email activity across your entire organization. For your own account and the accounts of your employees, you can track number of emails sent and received, average email thread length, average response time, and dozens of other metrics.
It’s the perfect tool to better understand your workplace productivity and potentially resolve issues before they start getting out of hand.
Sign up for free trial today, and take a look at all the features and tools we have to offer!
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.