Smart approaches to SLA management
Whether you’re a client or a supplier, successful outsourcing rests on a clear definition of the services being provided.
Clients need to know what they’re getting for their money. Meanwhile, the supplier needs to ensure their operations and performance management systems line up behind these goals.
These agreements are typically wrapped up in Service Level Agreements (SLAs), with equally clear penalties outlined for those who don’t hold up their end of the bargain, and rightly so.
Some services fit this pattern easily, some not so much. In IT for example, system availability and response time are readily measured and reported on at the click of a mouse. But in the world of soft services, delivered by people performing regular tasks, things are typically messier.
Tracking food temperature to make sure it’s safe for vulnerable patients, or even something as simple as making sure the bins get emptied typically don’t get tracked digitally. Records are usually on pieces of paper, collated by hand.
The result can be a lot of wasted effort and frustration: on both sides of the agreement, entire teams are employed to assess, report, and otherwise make sure the work is getting done. Suppliers are keen to avoid hefty fines, while clients will certainly take the chance to claw back some cash if they can.
But is this cat-and-mouse game an absolute necessity of outsourcing?
The problem of frontline metrics
The closer we get to the coalface of real, messy work, the harder it becomes to report and measure. Digital systems are thin on the ground.
There are a number of reasons for this:
- Developing these digital solutions might not be the client or supplier’s core competency.
- Even if an in-house IT team can pull it off, the ROI is likely to be poor for a one-off development.
- Solutions built to track just one or two sets of metrics typically don’t scale and create future problems as “stovepipe” systems.
- Newer technologies like cloud storage and the internet of things are only now becoming ubiquitous enough to warrant a productised solution.
The digital operations solution
Checkit Real-Time Operations Management is a platform to address these challenges and digitise the management of frontline tasks. Metrics from food temperature to empty bins can be tracked with the same degree of certainty as the state of your IT server.
Centralised reporting boosts accountability and allows you to spot areas for concern before they become problems. If the bins took 20 minutes to empty for six months, then they start taking an hour, the dashboard will let you know and you can address the issue immediately.
With new levels of reporting and visibility, SLA management gets simpler and better whichever side of the contract you look from.
Best of all, for suppliers, this level of detail and analysis goes beyond a single contract. The track record developed can be carried to the next pitch and show, with 100% certainty, the ability to honour the agreements made with clients.
As time goes on, we wouldn’t even be surprised to see this kind of reporting become a client requirement as part of the pitching process. After all, if the data exists, people are going to want to see it.
So it’s about much more than just dodging penalties. It’s about being proud of your achievements and leveraging them to win new business and boost your reputation.
Want to learn more? Contact Checkit and find out how digitising Operations Management can boost performance for your business.