IT Service Delivery Manager- guardian of stability of production systems and Business satisfaction

IT Service Delivery Manager is a responsible for a service being delivered from an internal or external supplier to the end user. Person on this position has many responsibilities and tasks. The SDM is there for the connection between supplier and the end user. The role of SDM is to deliver the best possible first-time user experience to customers by resolving queries received from the Business.

SDM in IT structure

Service Delivery Managers are a part if the department called Application Services under IT Operations. We work closely with other teams across the organisation, as we have the same goal, it’s all about winning together. SDMs constantly liaise with Change Managers, Test-Import Team, Release Managers, Architects, Service Desk Team, Release Train Engineers, Project Teams, Vendors to react quickly on business needs and resolve issues.

Responsibility of SDM

SDMs have an essential role in the change process where the purpose is to ensure that the changes being implemented in our production environment meet a certain standard of quality plan execution and testing. It needs to be verified if documentation is present and accessible for our stakeholders. The SDM is involved in ticket management which can include identifying opportunities of improvement in trends of incidents. The Service Delivery Manager keeps the reports up-to-date and ensures that all technical work is documented and checked before implementation. The SDM is involved in discussions regarding any changes in the area for which the Service Delivery Manager is responsible; it’s a crucial task to eliminate potential risk and plan improvement activities. There are circumstances important for the SDM, like freeze or wave time. It’s a change management task to be aware of anything what impacting the business and approve changes in a right time to avoid causes damages. SDMs verify documentation which should be attached to the changes and demands. Having templates with information is one of the ways of area protection.  The priority for the Service Delivery Manager is to keep stability of production systems and take care of business satisfaction by delivering changes on agreed terms.  SDMs work on continuously improving the relation between IT and Business.

Aspect which cannot be missed is management of IT budget and ordering decisions. Each year SDMs get an amount of money to dispose of. The Service Delivery Manager needs to request services around the budget which has been given, that’s why constant contact with Business, understanding of their needs, legal requirements, and taking release calendar into account is so important. Fast and flexible actions are necessary in the role of the SDM, because despite a well-prepared agenda, there are things that cannot be foreseen, f.ex. changes caused by the outbreak of a pandemic. The SDM has to be in control of the situation and adapt to opportunities, prioritization of necessary tasks is essential. SDM managers enhancement budgets and ensure purchase orders are created for invoices and confirm goods are received from vendor before paying.

The Service Delivery Manager has responsibility for managing vendor teams to ensure they continue to deliver in line with contractual obligations.  The SDM participates and works with various stakeholders including the agile release trains who develop the solutions applied in company. That person is a sparring partner for Product Owners, Scrum Masters, Architects, and ensures project support is well-prepared before handover. The closer work with project teams the better to ensure a good transition to IT Operations and relevant support afterwards. The SDM is involved in implementation of new solutions as having a helicopter view on what is coming down the line is important part of responsible management, also by stand back to see the big picture, and then focus effort accordingly. Service Delivery Managers are important stakeholders in management of the Service Introduction Management process (also called SIM process). The SDM should be aware what projects are in pipeline in particular area to help develop the operating model and be sure the area is ready for the future.

The SDM is involved in vendor management, contract negotiations, building relationships. Person in the SDM position must have strong communication skills and be able to deal confidently with suppliers and Business. The Service Delivery Manager is constantly liaising with other professionals on many levels. Vendor management includes working with vendors to continuously improve the service being provided to company. Service Delivery Managers provide input for vendor negotiations as they are responsible for reviewing SLAs and handling tickets together with vendors.  The SDM responsibility is to meet agreed SLAs and work with suppliers on improving the results.

The Service Delivery Manager works with IT professionals within company or cooperate with vendor’ consultants (from IBM, NNIT, Gavdi, Itelligence etc.) The SDM performs management and coordination functions, it is beneficial if he has technical knowledge in the area he deals with, however his duties are mainly focused on management. The SDM is like a coupler between client, so the business, and external consultants or internal experts who take care of resolving requests according to Arla standards. The SDM cooperate with technical experts to make sure that the work is done, right tasks have been delegated and tickets are assigned in a ticket management system which is Service Now platform. The Service Delivery Manager assisting vendor in handling tickets and consulting situation management (also called SIMA) if critical case is on the agenda. The SDM supports Problem Management in root cause analysis, it’s essential to understand reasons it and prevent issues in the future.


IT Service Delivery Manager is a middle-man between Business and suppliers. The person in this position is resolving communication issues, system problems, dealing with hard deadlines and all activities which are influence on system stability and users satisfaction. IT work environment is dynamic, the SDM should be proactive to be able to learn fast and deliver good results. That person is like a fireman who prevents fires and put out the fire if there is a need.



Article written by Patrycja Spinek-Pomykała