Industry-Leading SLAs Don’t Just Happen
by Scott Hays
Have you ever had a product break and breathed a sigh of relief when you figured out it was still under warranty? The manufacturer is going to make good on their commitment. That’s a good feeling.
In the service economy, service-level agreements — or SLAs — are commitments from a provider to meet or exceed specified performance thresholds. When providers make good on their SLAs, clients benefit, as does the reputation of the provider. Good feelings all around.
At Rimini Street, we deliver good feelings every day. Every time we meet or beat our SLAs for a client, it builds trust and goodwill, not to mention that it typically means we’re providing a resolution to a technological problem that was harming the client’s business.
An SLA is more than words
An SLA sets a performance standard that a provider should be equipped to meet or beat without fail. That sometimes means that a provider builds capabilities and safeguards into their operations — often in the form of automation, policies, procedures, and/or employee training — to ensure they live up to their commitments.
Service providers think hard about their SLAs. They want them to be compelling and competitive without creating a risk to reputation or profitability if they don’t meet them.
When Rimini Street created the independent, third-party support model for enterprise software back in 2005, we knew that there was an opportunity to provide better, more comprehensive, and more responsive service than the software vendors were providing. We committed our company to delivering it and we committed to our prospects and clients that we would continue doing it, in the form of our service-level agreements.
We were the first third-party support provider to provide SLAs for both response time and client update communications.
 If the resolution of an issue is dependent upon some interim measure, such as developing a software patch or review of overall interoperability architecture, an alternative communication update commitment may be defined and agreed upon with the client.
Skin in the game
Our SLAs are commitments to our clients that put our skin in the game. They are contractual commitments performance that we are happy to make because they demonstrate our capabilities for delivering ultra-responsive support every hour of every day.
Take our 10-minute response time SLA for Priority 1 cases. What’s our track record on that? Well, in 2019, our average response time for Priority 1 and Priority 2 cases was 2.39 minutes. Yes, that average means some were higher and some were lower, but we are confident enough in our ability to continue with this outstanding performance that we reduced that SLA from 15 minutes to 10 minutes.
Here’s another example from 2019: We commit to a cadence of update communications to clients on every case according to the priority of the case (see the right-most column in the table above). In 2019, for more than 31,000 cases, we delivered 446,065 case update communications with a 99.975% on-time performance. Don’t you wish your airline could do that?
Human service, tech-enabled
In the world of enterprise software support, these performance levels are uncommonly good. Our clients appreciate it, and we love making it happen. But they don’t just happen. No offense to the talented and passionate support engineers at Rimini Street, but the level of speed and consistency in the statistics above can only happen with the help of some purpose-built, proprietary technology and processes developed by Rimini Street.
When one of our clients reports a new case, a notification system generates alerts to the on-duty teams of engineers. Those engineers have registered multiple devices to the system so that they can be alerted by email, text, and phone. One of the engineers will accept the assignment, initiating the beginning of the resolution process with outreach to the client, usually by phone. In the unusual event that no engineers accept the assignment right away, the system automatically alerts the next team of engineers based on the worldwide on-duty schedule. Automated escalations alert management if there are any unusual delays in case acceptance and responsiveness.
If the case requires additional support engineers, it’s critical to assign the most relevant experts. Case Assignment Advisor, one of our patent-pending Rimini Street artificial intelligence support applications analyzes more than 35 contextual “vectors” to recommend specific engineers to be the owner, leader, and team members on the case. Vectors analyzed include specific expertise required, historical case performance, language, availability, engineer caseload, and time zone match.
Get this — that set of resource recommendations typically happens in less than three seconds!
As the case progresses, if additional resources are needed, Case Assignment Advisor runs again to make those recommendations. Another patent-pending application, C-Signal, performs sentiment and anomaly analysis on cases, contacts, and clients to anticipate potential issues and proactively recommend actions to prevent issues from occurring.
These AI applications have reduced software issue resolution times by 23%. They do this by empowering our support engineers and leaders to hyper-focus on the client and the case, using technology to enhance the human connection, not replace it.
We do support — period
Rimini Street is Engineered for Support™. We have invested tens of millions of dollars in systems and processes that drive ultra-responsive support and, ultimately, fast case resolution and client satisfaction.
So, no, industry-leading SLAs don’t just happen. It takes a team of bright engineers, managers, and executives who are over-the-top passionate about providing the best support in the business and some innovative support systems and technologies to pull it off. It’s those people and that tech that help us meet and beat our SLAs on tens of thousands of cases with hundreds of thousands of client communications every year.
For further details on all of Rimini Street’s support services, please see the Rimini Street Product Support Services Brochure.