The maintenance and support section of a SaaS agreement should contain the following essential elements.
Duty to Acknowledge, Respond and Fix Errors
Clearly identify these three actions in the SLA. State when your duty to act starts. Does time for you to acknowledge, respond or fix a problem start to run upon receipt of a customer message, from your acknowledgement of the error, or some other trigger event?
Support and Maintenance Times
Clearly define times for all of your actions. Business hours and days need to be carefully defined in the SaaS agreement. If you have customers outside of the UK, or maintenance and support staff located across the globe, make sure that your business hours and business days are reflected in the SLA.
Supporting Global Customers
In a SaaS agreement which includes non-English speaking customer users, is support only offered in English? Does the service level agreement permit the customer to notify problems in any language other than English?
Response and Fix Times
These should be dependent upon the nature and severity of the problem. The differing levels of the severity of problems reported by the customer in the SLA should be determined by the supplier, not the customer. It is vital in the SaaS agreement to differentiate between errors (problems that can be reproduced) and bugs, when deciding upon severity levels, response and fix times.
Finally, do not forget to exclude errors or problems which have been caused by something beyond your control i.e. the customer’s inability to connect to the Internet. Also exclude errors or problems in the SaaS agreement which are caused by the customer i.e. the customer’s failure to use the specified browser, hardware etc.
Irene Bodle is an IT lawyer specialising in SaaS agreements with over 10 years experience in the IT sector. If you require assistance with any SaaS, ASP, software on demand contracts or any other IT legal issues contact me:
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