|dc.description.abstract||Due to the constantly increasing emphasis on the service component of the total
delivery by product and service providers, the levels of services delivered by
providers are getting scrutinised with similar growing emphasis. Products are taking a
backseat to the service experience, which consumers expect from service providers.
Within the software application systems environment products are intangible and, on
their own, really only an experience by the users thereof. Software systems providers
have to realise that they cannot rely on tangible product features that can cover up
for poor service. The software development industry is thus primarily one of service
This paper conveys research conducted on the success of Service Level
Agreements (SLAs) within the outsourced software application system environment.
The research starts off with a literature study of previous research done in the related
fields, i.e. outsourcing, SLAs and the Systems Development environment. The
literature study was followed by the development of a model, suggesting the
integration of the SLA life cycle with the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC). A
measurement instrument was subsequently developed to assess the success of SLA
integration as part of the SDLC.
Research data was gathered by means of the developed measurement
instrument (questionnaire) and input from 24 experts in the field of outsourced
software application systems development was obtained. The 24 experts
represented 18 different organisations.
On completion of the analysis of the survey data, certain interpretations were
made which led to the following conclusions:
o The survey had shown that in the majority of the organisations
investigated, SLAs are not taken into consideration when the systems
development process is initiated.
o Experts agreed with the importance of integrating the SLA and Systems
Development life cycles.
o Participating individuals supported all the benefits of SLAs, i.e.
improving service levels, increasing revenue and enhancing
To conclude the study, a number of recommendations were made, which will
contribute towards enhanced application of SLAs within the outsourced software
application systems paradigm. These recommendations include:
o Creation of greater SLA awareness in the software development
o Software development organisations should take initiative for
addressing SLA requirements from the beginning of the development
o Development methodologies should be extended to formalise the
integration of SLAs into the SDLC.||