Service Level Agreement (SLA) in Outsourcing Contracts – Mastering Techniques to Negotiate, Develop & Manage SLAs Effectively

Why You Should Attend This Course:

The 7 Common Mistakes to fail a Service Level Agreement (SLA) must be avoided and the 5 Essentials must be built into a solid SLA. 

SLA in Outsourcing Contracts have become a prevalent element in today’s business context. Strategic outsourcing can save money and valuable time for any organisations. Whatever differences the business situation may be, careful planning, risks identification and assessment of one’s requirements are absolute musts for any organisations before embarking on this outsourcing journey.  It is important to build a solid SLA for effective working relationship to flourish between the vendor provider and the customer, so as to achieve the agreed performance standards and Key Performance Indicators.

SLAs are becoming standard business practices across a broad spectrum of industries. They have developed as a result of businesses placing greater emphasis on the need for speedy and quality service to compete and survive in today’s crowded marketplace – service quality is often seen as the deciding factor that wins and retains customers.To compete successfully, companies must proactively manage the quality of their services. Since provisioning of these services is dependent on multiple partners and management of partner services, SLAs are critical for success in defining and managing expectations among partners for performance, customer care, billing, service provisioning and other business areas including Service Level Management. 

This 2-day course will equip you with the knowledge and techniques to devise and develop a solid Service Level Agreement, and also introduces strategies for developing a robust outsourcing process and guiding principles that govern every outsourced project. This is essential to reduce the level of risks in the outsourcing equation. It also explores how a manager can work effectively with vendors and consultants to foster stronger partnership, and values for continuous learning for business sustainability. 

To enhance practical learning and application, written exercises will be provided. A sample Outsourcing Contract with SLA will be given to each participant, including a detailed “clause-by-clause”  analysis of the document.

  • Understand the role of Service Level Agreement (SLA) and how to align it to business objectives and goals
  • Develop a robust SLA framework (strategy, process map and structure) to monitor, measure and evaluate on deliverables of contract terms  and set achievable targets that work
  • Using techniques to measure and evaluate service level performance
  • Understand legal implications of non-compliance to the agreement and how to safeguard your business through robust Service Level Management (SLM)
  • Liquidated damages and doctrine of penalties
  • Developing well thought out termination or exit strategies to minimise business risks and complications
  • Managing & handling disputes effectively, remedies and termination due to SLA failure
  • Learning negotiation PIOC techniques
  • Sharing Best practices in Break-through Strategies in Difficult Negotiations
  • Why Do We Need Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

    • Services and parameters of service defined
    • Objectives and features of SLA
    • Value for money through competition

    Negotiating a Solid SLA

    • Problems in positional bargaining
    • Alternative to positional bargaining
    • Harvard Principled Negotiation Techniques
    • PIOC strategies
    • Getting to “Yes” to all terms & conditions
    • Beware of negotiation pitfalls

    Five Breakthrough Stages of Difficult Negotiations

    • Break-through barriers to co-operation
    • Recognise tactics & dirty tricks – Do not React
    • Create favourable climate – Do not Argue
    • Encourage joint problem solving & expose their tricks – Do not Reject
    • Build a golden bridge – Do not Push
    • Use power to educate – Do not Escalate
    • Sharing tips used in negotiation process
    • Role play exercise – Handling Difficult Negotiations

    What SLA should cover?

    • Scope of services and work
    • Service performance level & KPI
    • Measurements, benchmarks and targets utilized
    • Operational details
    • Performance monitoring and tracking
    • Charges & service credits
    • Reporting analysed results
    • Regular reviews by both provider and recipient
    • Problem management
    • Resolution of disputes and default
    • Fees and expenses
    • Customer duties and responsibilities
    • Duty of care and hours of work
    • Variations of requirements and amendments to SLA
    • Doctrine of variation at common law & 4 exceptions
    • Price adjustment clause
    • Work scope adjustment
    • Exit terms
    • Exercise – Problem-based case question to do

    Responsibilities of SLA

    • Realistic expectations
    • Performance goals and measurements
    • Allocation of proper resources to deliver required work
    • Define key services offerings
    • Constraints
    • Maintenance schedules
    • Addendums e.g. contact list or critical
    • Record outputs
    • Important post termination activities
    • Identify disputes early
    • Explore resolution scenarios
    • Avoid disputes
      • Providing feedback – 2 way channel
      • How to play for exit strategy procedures

    Communication Strategies in Service Level Management (SLM)

    • How to prevent service level breakdowns?
    • Dealing with problems and avoiding conflicts
    • Create effective communication strategy
    • Types of communication tools and techniques
    • Effective meetings
    • Training sessions
    • Publications
    • Personal contact list
    • Presentations
    • Intranet
    • Avoiding conflicts and problems

    Managing the Parties

    • How to manage and collaborate with suppliers
    • What must be managed?
      • Demands
      • Expectations
      • Perceptions
    • Managing customers / recipient / client
    • Managing vendor / supplier / provider
    • Managing staff / personnel
      • Problems internal customers/staff cause for SLA
      • How to avoid internal conflict
      • Poor internal communication
    • Case-study

    Services, Service Levels & Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

    • Defining the specific services
    • Principles in drafting service requirements
    • What, where and how to measure?
    • Role of senior Management in measurement Progress
    • Service Credits, charges, penalties
    • Escalator clauses
    • Bonuses

    Planning a Balanced SLA document in Outsourcing Contract

    • Description of services
    • Service monitoring
    • Charging for services
    • Intellectual property issues
      • Patent
      • Trademark
      • Copyright
    • Improvements and gain sharing
      • Quality improvements
      • Cost saving improvements
      • Higher productivity and higher profits
      • Gain sharing and base-line measurements
    • Confidential and secret information
      • Defining Confidential Information in a Contract
      • Confidentiality as Professional responsibility
    • Risks
      • Contractual allocation of risks
      • Third parties contributing to risks (sub-contractors)
      • Usage of Performance Bonds, Securities and Insurance
    • Jurisdiction, choice of law and dispute resolution
      • Mini-trials
      • Mediation – arbitration clause

    Clauses in Service Levels Agreements

    • Analysis of sample contract clauses
    • Quiz and exercises
  • This course is suitable for any individual who is involved in the Service Level Management process, whether at a technical, operational, supervisory or managerial level. It is also suitable for any Personnel from various functions such as IT, Supply Chain, Purchasing, Sales, Financial, Service Delivery, Contract Management, Commercial Planning, Quality Control and Outsourcing etc.

Prof Catherine Tay Swee Kian has more than 35 years of experience lecturing law as Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, Department of Strategy & Business Policy.  She is a Barrister-at-law from Lincoln’s Inn, United Kingdom.  Prof Tay is also an Advocate & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore and an author of several books including her best seller books on Contract Law and Director Duties & Corporate Governance.

    A/Prof Tay studied law at Queen Mary College, University of London and graduated with an honours degree in Bachelor of Laws and a degree in Master of Laws, in which she specialised in Company, Shipping, Insurance and Marine Insurance laws.  She was called to the English Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 1978.  She did her pupillage under the Honourable Lady Mary Hogg in London and returned to Singapore in the law firm of Rodyk & Davidson.  A/Prof Tay won the Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par Memorial Prize for the overall best student in 1980 during her postgraduate practical law course in Singapore. She was called to the Singapore Bar in 1980. 

      A/Prof Tay is currently a member of the National Healthcare Group Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Domain Specific Review Board tasked to review the scientific and ethical aspects of research protocols since 2002.  She received her 15 Long Service Award from NHG IRB in 2018.  She is also currently a member of the Centralised Institutional Review Board (IRB), Singapore Health Services Pte Ltd tasked to review clinical protocols for human subject experimentation.  A/Prof Tay was a member of SingHealth Polyclinics IRB since 2003.  She received her 10 years Long Service Award from Singhealth Centralised Institutional Review Board in October 2019. 

       A/Prof Tay was also a member of the Research & Ethics Committee of Alexandra Hospital. She was also the medical-legal adviser of the Institute of Mental Health / Woodbridge Hospital. She was a member of the panel for lay persons for the National Transplant Ethics Committee, Ministry of Health in 2009-2011.

    A/Prof Tay was on the Board of Overseas Editors for the (United Kingdom) Journal of Financial Crime, an official publication of the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime.  She has presented numerous papers at many conferences and seminars on Business Law, Medical Law, Company and Insolvency Laws both overseas and in Singapore.  She is an examiner on law subjects for a number of professional bodies in Singapore and overseas.

     A/Prof Tay conducts in-house customised corporate programmes and seminars / workshops for commercial firms, banks, hotels, hospitals, statutory boards and companies, clubs and associations on topics such as contract management; corporate governance in both public and private sectors including public-private partnership contracts; tender bids bidding in procurement contracts; service level agreements and tenancy agreements. For over 7 years annually, she was the Programme Director, for a Singapore-Commonwealth Third Country Training Programme, Singapore-Commonwealth Advance Seminar for Chief Executives 28 May – 7 June 2008, jointly sponsored by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation Commonwealth Secretariat London, United Kingdom at Training Institution – National University of Singapore Business School.

      A/Prof Tay has supervised medical students in electives on Medical ethics & medico-legal subjects at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, and also for University of Manchester at Singapore Polytechnic. She also lectured nursing students in nursing law and ethics at the NUS Alice School of Nursing as well as in Nanyang Polytechnic. She has lectured medical law and biomedical ethics in the NUS Faculty of Dentistry for more than 15 years. She has lectured in executive training courses at the NUS Extension in professional and business management law courses for over 34 years.  A/Prof Tay was the external examiner on medical law ethics at the Hong Kong University, Law Faculty (2007-2008).

     A/Prof Tay was a Visiting Consultant and adjunct lecturer at the Institute of System Science, NUS for over 16 years lecturing IT outsourcing contracts, intellectual property and contract law. She gave lectures in Industrial Relations and Labour laws at the Ong Teng Cheong Institute of Labour Studies for over 12 years on labour laws in industrial relations. She was also the local teaching affiliate lecturing business law for Adelaide University, Australia.  A/Prof Tay is the Honourable Legal Advisor for Singapore Optometric Association, as well as for the Singapore Institute of Engineering Technologists.

       A/Prof Tay lectures on “The Legislature, Policy Formulation & Implementation for Good Governance” to Ministers from Nigeria, Kaduna State Legislators” on 16-18 April 2018 at Singapore 2018 Capacity Building Retreat at Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) Professional Development. She also lectures on “Leadership & Governance” to Legislators from Kenya, 21-22 May 2018 at SIM Professional Development. She also lectures Public-Private Partnerships (PPP contracts) and joint ventures to global audience. She gave lectures several times on Corporate Governance to bankers from Uzbekistan.


23 – 24 Aug 2021
15 – 16 Dec 2021



* The class offers in-class or virtual learning
  • Time: 9am – 5pm

  • MIS Member enjoy 10% Discount

  • Register for 8 or more participants to enjoy 10% Group Discount