Guest Column, Opinion

Pondering the complexities of SLAs

Good Day! I was so ready to answer some recent questions I have received for Week Two. You have reached out to me about relationships, work conflicts, networking tips, how to get past annoying sales people… You even asked me how “Deadpool 2” stacks up against the first “Deadpool” (more on that later).
All great questions, with even more that followed to keep me busy. So, let me start by saying a big thanks to you for being so welcoming. And now, let me give a big thanks to Comcast for taking the majority of the country’s business phones offline for almost two days.
What’s that, you say? You did not see any national stories about business phone service and some business internet service being down for 48 hours? Well, I will say if “Westworld,” “Last Week Tonight” or early episodes of “Game of Thrones” (come on, you know you want to get caught up before the final season) were not available for 48 hours, there would have been stories on every major network.
Why, you ask? Simple: Comcast-Xfinity-Universal-NBC just happens to have phone service they can bundle with their high-speed internet and cable service. But that service level agreement (SLA) does not break out for you which part of your bundled service pays for all your favorite shows you watch on the box.
Here is a hint: It’s more than likely the one thing on your business service bill that you pay for that is nowhere in your office. That is, unless your office is one of the neighborhood sports bars where you work while watching one of several sporting events available. And honestly, unless you pick up your business phone how do you know it is not working? And if it is not working, do you have a back-up plan?
So what is my point? As a consultant for business, I spend 99 percent of my time finding the right mix of vendor services for the clients and potential clients I have. When it comes to technology and connectivity, what may be great for one type of business may not be right for you or your business.
The technical service industry has shot themselves in the foot by teaching you to make your technical choices based on price and bundles. And that further sets the relationship of service provider and business customer up to fail. You are trained to look at a brand, and then buy that brand, and then cross your fingers that it all works out well.
Now, I am not going to bash Comcast completely. I have my HBO Go app and I get to watch my favorite shows. (If you are not watching “Westworld,” you are missing out.) However, when it comes to personal/business phones and internet, I look to find the vendors that specialize in providing these services specifically for business.
So what happens when you buy based on brand without checking the service level agreement? Ladies and Gents, I give you Marti Gee’s “Deadpool” example of an SLA.
Marvel (the brand) a few years back launched an X-Men Origin movie called “Wolverine.” In that movie, they introduced a long-awaited character by the name of Deadpool.
Most people that saw the movie paid no attention that the ticket they bought (SLA) to see the movie was in breach the minute Deadpool was revealed. But Marvel nerds (yes, I am one) were left thinking, “Wait, what was that?” We were all very disappointed – all the way up to Ryan Reynolds, the star that was cast to play Deadpool. He was so disappointed by the failure of the SLA; he paid a significant amount of money to redo the character the right way.
Last year, the R-rated Marvel movie “Deadpool” broke box office records. And how has the sequel compared to the first? Let me put it this way: If the SLA is better than expected wouldn’t you want to continue the contract?
What are you wondering about today? What don’t you get? Who is mad at you? Who made you angry? (I will change all names to be discreet.)

Send questions for the Ask Marti Gee column to The Creswell Chronicle, or find Marti Gee on Facebook. For all things business-related: m-I-stimulus (https://www.facebook.com/youcandoyou/). For relationships, I have developed a forum for my book, “Choose Your Movie, Change Your Life,” and discussion about a brand-new relationship theory I have created. For consulting, email me at [email protected]