Service-level agreements are a major mechanism for ensuring a sustained feedback loop between MACC and its users (both end users and downstream-service providers). SLAs are set up and reviewed annually to ensure that service evolution is tied to users’ specific requirements. A typical SLA summarizes the agreed service delivery in terms of product specification, covering quality assurance, delivery volume including period and region covered, and delivery frequency for near-real-time and forecast products. During the lifetime of MACC, the SLAs themselves are being developed along the following evolution path:
- Services continuing from PROMOTE, where SLAs are already in place, are the first to be subject to SLAs under MACC, which is maintaining what was established under PROMOTE.
- A standardized SLA mechanism has been defined based on PROMOTE and early MACC experience. Two templates appropriate to deal with the different MACC service lines have been developed initially.
- Further SLAs will be signed, based on the respective user requirements and service evolution. It is the goal to have at least one SLA signed by the end of MACC for each service line, which can then be used as a platform in the GAS phase for extending SLAs to multiple users.
SLAs are not always the appropriate mechanism to tie an end user with a service. This is the case, for example, for “policy users”, who require general advice on the status of scientific understanding rather than quantifiable amounts of products. Also, for new services, users sometimes require a test operational period before public release, which cannot always be handled by an SLA determined by user practices. In general the MACC user federation will be segmented (e.g. policy, national, regional/local, downstream, commercial) and the appropriate SLA mechanism will be agreed with each respective user group. For developing pre-operational services for which SLAs have yet to be fully established, target service levels will be documented by the providers and made public.