Service Level and Supplier Management work together to deliver the various services to the Customer or Business community. Outlined below are the various responsibilities of each area which, together permit the service to be delivered as defined in the associated Service Level Agreement and Service Catalogue.
The Supplier Manager
The Supplier Manager operates primarily at an Operational (day-to day) and Tactical (improving service) basis, but will be periodically drawn into operating at a Strategic level as and when required.
The Supplier Manager assists in the production, updating and also annual review of the Contract(s), Service Level Agreements(SLAs), Operating Level Agreements (OLAs) and any other supporting documentation, for example the Service Transition or Service Exit Plan, working with his/her counter-parts in the Contracts and Procurement department, ultimately ensuring that value of money is delivered from the Supplier(s), whilst meeting the Business objectives. For the partnership with an external third party or parties to succeed it is essential that the various processes between each party work seamlessly, primarily one of the major benefits offered by utilizing ITIL best practice.
To ensure that the service provided by the Supplier(s) remains fit for purpose and continues to meet the organizations requirements, a regime of monitoring, reporting and regular reviews of the supplier performance against targets needs to be established. Any identified and agreed improvements may form or constitute a Service Improvement Program (SIP).
From an Operational perspective the Supplier Manager is actively engaged in the Change Management process, impact assessing changes that may affect suppliers and their associated service(s), as well as attending the Change Advisory Board (CAB) as required.
An agreed disputes process is established and maintained an is used by both suppliers and the Supplier Manager
The Service Level Manager
The Service Level Manager has similar responsibilities to those of the Supplier Manager, Operational (day-to day) and Tactical (improving service) basis, but will be periodically drawn into operating at a Strategic level as and when required.
The Service Level Manager identifies all key stakeholders and customers forming a close working relationship with them, keeping abreast of any changing business needs. The current and future requirements of the customer community are identified, understood and documented either within the Service Level Agreement (SLA) or as Service Level Requirements (SLRs). In addition s/he assists with the production and maintenance of the Service Portfolio, including the Service Catalogue and the Application Portfolio.
The Service Level Manager negotiates and agrees the level of service to be delivered with the internal and/or external customers, formally documenting in the SLA. Obviously, such agreements must take into account the targets agreed within any existing underpinning contracts, otherwise re-negotiations may need to be instigated involving the Supplier Manager and also the Contracts and Procurement department. On an annual basis the service scope, SLAs and OLAs are reviewed with the customer community. Any proposed changes to SLAs and potential new SLRs are progressed via the Change Management process. Ideally such information is shared with the Supplier Manager prior to any annual reviews being undertaken with internal and external third party suppliers.
Regular service performance reviews are undertaken, accompanied by service reports detailing each customer service, any breaches to SLA targets, investigations undertaken and actions taken to prevent re-occurrence. Service Improvement initiatives are also discussed progress updates are provided. Meeting minutes and actions are documented and circulated accordingly.
The Service Level Manager assists in defining and agreeing complaints and their recording, management, escalation, where necessary, and resolution.
Service Level and Supplier Manager Relationship
The working relationship between the Service Level and Supplier Manager is very close, one focuses on the services delivered to the customer community, the Supplier Manager focussing on the services supplied by the internal and external third party community. The following diagram attempts to illustrate this relationship.