Operational Level Agreement (OLA)

An operational level agreement (OLA) is a document that explicitly states the roles, responsibilities, actions, processes, and policies involved so that a particular SLA can be fulfilled by the service provider. Simply put, an OLA tells the service provider’s internal teams what to do, how to do it, and when – plus, what should be done in the cases of irregularity or emergency.[1]

An Operational Level Agreement (OLA) is a contract that defines how various IT groups within a company plan to deliver a service or set of services. OLAs are designed to ensure that IT service providers are able to provide the level of service required and expected by their customers (whether those customers are internal, as in other departments within the same company, or external).

The OLA is typically established between the service provider and the service delivery team within an organization, and is often linked to an underlying Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the actual end user or business customer.

An OLA specifies:

  1. The responsibilities of each party involved in the delivery of a service.
  2. The timescales and targets that the IT team should meet.
  3. The measures used to assess performance, often referred to as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  4. The process for communication and reporting among the teams involved in service delivery.

Benefits of an OLA include:

  1. Clear communication: Everyone knows what is expected of them and how their performance will be measured.
  2. Improved service: The OLA provides a standard to strive towards, encouraging continuous improvement.
  3. Reduced misunderstandings: By outlining everyone's roles and responsibilities, the OLA reduces the chances of misunderstandings or conflicts.

However, it's important to keep in mind that OLAs require careful management and regular review to ensure that they continue to reflect the current needs and capacities of the organization. If not properly maintained, they can become out-of-date or fail to accurately represent the actual service delivery process.

See Also


  1. Definition - What is a Operational Level Agreement (OLA)? Process.St