The difference between a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and an Operational Level Agreement (OLA) is what the IT organization as a whole is promising to the customer (SLA), and what the functional IT groups promise to each other (OLA).
The SLA can state that "IT will ensure that computer equipment will be maintained". Of course that statement is a generalization that cannot be measured, so perhaps a better statement would be "There will be less than 80 lost man-hours per year due to lack of computer equipment maintenance".
SLA's are generally an agreement between the IT department/provider and the business, to provide a particular level of service.
OLA's are usually agreements between different areas of the IT department/providers, often to provide a particular SLA.
For example we can say that,
For an organisation may have a particular SLA that states no more than 100 minutes downtime per quarter. For the IT department to adhere to this, there needs to be an OLA between the Network team and Hardware team, to arrange patches and outages inside a standard time window etc.
We can summarize into points as OLA and SLA
- Service Level Agreement focuses on the service part of the agreement, like uptime of services and performance. On the other hand, Operational Level Agreement is an agreement in respect to maintenance and other services.
- The Service Level Agreement is basically a contract between a service provider and a customer while OLA is an agreement between the internal support groups of an institution that supports SLA.
- When comparing the target groups, the OLA has smaller target group than the SLA.
- Unlike the OLA, the SLA connects the service providers to the customers.
- The Operational Level Agreement is more technical than the Service Level Agreement.