A Guide: System Response Service Levels

system response
03 Oct 2023

This is the third guide in a series of articles dealing with service levels and technology contracts.

With the first article, Derick’s journey starts off by exploring Uptime Service Levels. In the second article, Derick dives into Error Correction Service Levels.

Now, it’s time to explore System Response Service Levels!

Derick had just finished his cup of coffee when he received an unexpected visit from Jaco, the company’s revered IT guru. With unruly hair, an ever-present air of caffeine-induced excitement, and a t-shirt that proudly declared, “I speak fluent code,” Jaco was a legend in his own right.

“Hey, Derick! I heard you’re diving deep into tech contracts. You can’t talk SLAs without considering System Response Time. It’s the heartbeat of our user experience!” Jaco exclaimed, pulling up a chair.

The need for speed.

“Imagine this,” began Jaco, “You’re playing a high-speed video game, but every time you press a button, there’s a lag. Frustrating, right? It’s the same with our users. They not only want our service to be functional but also quick!”

Derick nodded, understanding the gravity. System Response Time wasn’t just an IT term; it was a user satisfaction barometer.

Response Time decoded

Jaco, always ready with an analogy, continued, “Think of our system as a chef. You place your order (send a request), and you wait for your food (the system’s response). No one likes waiting too long for their meal.”

Derick scribbled down as Jaco classified response times:

  • User Interface Response Time: “It’s like pressing a button on a vending machine. You want your snack instantly!”
  • Service Response Time: “Imagine ordering a special dish. It takes a bit longer than a snack, but you still expect it soon.”
  • Data Retrieval Time: “This is like waiting for a gourmet meal. It’s more complex and might take longer, but you have expectations.”

Important concepts

The definition of System Request

A System Request generally refers to any instruction or command given to a system by a user or another system. In simpler terms, it’s akin to asking the software to perform a specific task, whether retrieving data, saving a file, processing a transaction, or any other function.

Defining a System Request correctly is paramount. To measure Response Times, you need to know precisely what action or set of actions constitutes a System Request. A vague or overly broad definition might lead to misconceptions about the system’s efficiency and disagreements between the provider and the user.

Also, be clear on how System Response Time will be calculated. Generally, software will be used for this. However, there still needs to be clarity on which timestamps will be considered when calculating System Response Time.

Then, there is the System Response Measurement Period. This refers to the predefined time span during which System Response Times are measured and evaluated against the Target System Response Time. Think of it as a specific window during which the software’s responsiveness is gauged.

Why is it significant?

Benchmarking: By examining the system’s performance within these periods, providers can set benchmarks and determine whether the software meets, exceeds, or falls short of expected standards.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs): SLAs often use the System Response Measurement Period to establish acceptable performance levels. For example, an SLA might state that the average System Response Time should be under two seconds during any given measurement period.

Optimisation and troubleshooting: Regular assessment during these periods helps spot trends, such as specific times of day when the system lags, enabling more focused troubleshooting and optimisation efforts.

Stipulating, understanding, and properly defining System Requests, System Response Times, and Measurement Periods are fundamental to maintaining efficient and user-friendly software systems. They form the backbone of performance metrics and help ensure that both providers and users are on the same page regarding system performance expectations.

Monitoring is key

“It’s crucial to have a stopwatch,” Jaco stated. Meaning monitoring tools should measure response times, ensuring the SLAs are upheld. Derick realised the importance of this. Without measurements, how would they ensure compliance?

Not always the system’s fault

Jaco raised a finger, “Remember, sometimes the problem isn’t in our kitchen but with the customer’s taste buds.” He highlighted that Vector AI’s users might face delays due to their own systems or slow internet, not Vector AI’s services. Certainly, a lot to consider.

What else to consider

The break-up clause.

Taking a sip of his ever-present energy drink, Jaco mused, “What if, despite the best ingredients and chefs, the food is consistently late?” He was hinting at termination rights, emphasising that Vector AI should be able to exit if response times were persistently sluggish.

As Jaco stood up to leave, his parting words resonated with Derick, “System Response Time SLAs aren’t just technical jargon. They’re promises of efficiency and smooth experiences.”

With newfound knowledge and clarity, Derick returned to ContractNinja to create his custom transaction-specific System Response Service Levels easily and accurately.

The adventures continue as Derick navigates the maze of tech contracts. What’s next on the horizon? With Jaco around, it’s sure to be another enlightening journey! Stay tuned.

See also:

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Martin Kotze

Martin Kotze has been a practising attorney, conveyancer and notary public for more than 10 years. He began his academic pursuit with a degree in business, where he dived deep... Read more about Martin Kotze

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