IT management, MSP

Measuring Service Provider Success: It Isn’t All About SLA’s

Have you ever been in a review meeting where a service provider proudly stated that all SLA’s were met but you were less than satisfied with the outcomes being delivered? It’s called the watermelon effect – green on the outside and red inside.

The mediocre quadrant

Service providers that only focus on contractual service levels are highly unlikely to sustain their client relationships for very long. As someone who is often in the buyer’s seat, I know how frustrating it is to hear from a provider that everything is working well because they delivered on their SLA’s while at the same time the organization is complaining. At the end of the day, it’s about more than the SLAs, it’s whether the provider is delivering on your agenda.

In one of my previous blogs, I discussed the following focus points of Service Delivery and Engagement Managers:

Delivering just on the left side of the above table will not make a service hero. I still recall an incident a few years ago where a finance executive speaking about his engagement team stated, “Although they are delivering well, for me they are just mediocre - I expect more innovation.” It was a rather shocking statement as this engagement had been seen as very successful. A watermelon effect?

The service hero

So how can you ensure your service providers don’t end up in the mediocre quadrant? First, make sure they listen carefully to your objectives and understand what is important to you. And when I say ‘to you’ I mean to your organization and also to you personally. Don’t let them forget the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) aspect.

Of course you will be most happy if they deliver something extra. If you struggle with cash, they should focus on DSO and make sure payments are made sooner.

  • Are your business units operating as independent silos? Your provider should put standardization and discipline on top of the agenda.
  • Are you going through a series of acquisitions and divestitures? Make sure you get a project team to ensure a seamless transition.
  • Has your brand reputation been damaged by fraud within the organization? They should propose a control framework to audit and mitigate risks.

The list can be as long as number of challenges you have. So choose a provider that will ask the right questions and build an action plan.

Looking broader

Many service providers have a tendency to stay in their comfort zone and concentrate on the scope given to them. They lean it, automate it, improve it, and then lean it, automate it … up to the point they can hardly provide any more value. They should look broader from the beginning.

To get the really juicy fruit you need a long ladder. This is why we at Capgemini recommend a transformational journey from day one. Our Global Enterprise Model allows us to take a comprehensive view on our client’s business – whether this relates to process (Global Process Model), people (grade mix, location mix, competency model), technology, governance or commercial aspects (pricing). Armed with right tools and methodologies, we can deliver more for you beyond SLAs.

Marek Grodzinski is VP and head of European business delivery centers at Capgemini. Read more Capgemini blogs here.

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