Contract und Claims Management in Outsourcing-Verträgen für kritische Applikationen nach den ITIL Standards

Quite often organisations spend a significant effort on establishing service level agreements or similar IT outsourcing contracts, which end up filling complete cabinets with its files and folders. This is often the point in time when the organisation starts to ask itself how to manage these contracts in daily execution. Taking into account the agreed sophisticated mechanisms of identifying incidents, reporting lines, deadlines and administrative requirements and last but not least, the challenge of evaluating the financial impact of incidents in the frame of the valuation scheme agreed, the organisation is under a massive demand for resources and procedures to effectively execute the contractual rights.

The respective IT governance of the organisation is to be taken into account, and may be further developed. The problem of the application’s non-availability being most significantly critical to the organisation, puts additional pressure on the team and often forces it to agree on the inappropriate measures suggested by the supplier. To overcome such a situation, the first idea is to implement effective contract and claims management procedures, which rely on the respective ITIL standards. But the ITIL standard processes themselves describe the ideal world of best practice. So there is no room for lack in performance of the provider and the necessity of claims management in the ITIL processes.

Nevertheless, the initial point for the setup of an effective contract management towards an external provider can be fixed in the Service Design phase of ITIL. Especially the ITIL information about the Supplier management gives useful support in this matter. By organising the contract management and fixing roles and processes, the most important goal is to find a way to monitor the services of the provider without a gap. For this goal, one shall very carefully define the different critical deliveries of the transition phase and also the service levels during the Service Operation, including the relevant credits.

The monitoring of the services mainly takes place during the transition and the operation phase. The requirements of claims management during the transition phase are relatively clear. The claims manager has to monitor the timely delivery of the critical deliveries in the right quality. If not, he can easily claim the credits, based on the calculation scheme of the agreed critical deliverables. (Remark: By using standard contracts for fixing the deliverable credits, one shall keep in mind that it is required to fulfill the regulations of the German law on general terms and conditions, if the contract is based on German law.)

Under the precondition of an effective measurement process, the claims management during the operation phase, based on failures of service levels, does not cause many problems. But the service levels represent only single points of the service monitoring. The requirements for claims management outside this area seems to be more ambitious. The biggest difficulties for claims management are based on the practice of bad records of complex service contracts. For example: it often seems nearly impossible to claim a lack in quality. A way out is to divide the services in definable parts. Then there is the possibility to split the service amount based on partial non-fulfillment.

As a summary, an effective contract and claims management of IT outsourcing contracts, based on ITIL, offers a new way to combine different methods of effective claims management towards application Providers.