What kind of stated support/SLA is a B2B startup expected to provide?


My service is a cloud-application monitoring service. My clients expect my service to monitor their enterprise software or websites and adjust computing power provided to them.

What is SLA/support structure do you think is expected in such cases to be put into a contract/written form?


Customer Support Support SLA

asked Dec 1 '10 at 01:34
886 points

1 Answer


Do you have enterprise-class clients? If so, ask them what kind of SLA they are looking for.

Usually, startups like yourself don't really get the kind of high-grade, industrial-strength, enterprise-y clients that care about SLAs. Honestly, as a startup, you can safely ignore this issue until the first time you're doing a deal for more than (say) $50,000 and you're negotiating a custom contract and the client really wants an SLA.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of SLAs, as a client. When you study them you discover that they're not worth much. The services have big outages anyway, because "shit happens," no matter what the SLA says, and then they credit $3.24 to your account because the SLA never really gets you much, and you're supposed to be happy.

answered Dec 2 '10 at 13:34
Joel Spolsky
13,482 points
  • Well, I don't, but I'd like to get enterprise-class clients, as my product is targeted toward businesses. I expect that I will be asked to provide SLA's, will I not? I unfortunately, do not know very well the do's and dont's of SLA's. Are they charged for extra? etc? Microsoft is asking me as to what sort of support will my product receive. I guess, I need to understand what to answer and what is expected to be in written form (besides the obvious: we will support it) – Igorek 13 years ago
  • We offer a B2B SaaS, and I tend to agree with Joel. SLAs are, in most cases, hollow promises. In case something goes wrong, the only thing that matters is how you treat customers: just be honest and helpful. As an example, yesterday the entire datacenter where our web server is hosted has been taken offline due to a DDoS attack. I don't care about a few $ compensation, because when such things happen (and they will), the only thing I care about is a quick resolution. – Deleted 13 years ago

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