In the context of outsourcing, measuring success is synonymous with Service Level Agreements (SLAs). SLAs provide an objective measure of success, and rightly, the enterprise engaged in an outsource contract will assess the provider’s performance with respect to the contracted SLAs. In addition to contracted SLAs, outsourcers use management surveys to assess success.
However, it is widely known that SLAs and surveys fail to capture the “soft factors” or intangibles that are necessary to succeed. In an era where traditional communication channels are giving way to more casual channels such as social networks, the intangibles are increasingly becoming more important.
Outsourcers are constantly challenged by the newer breed of providers who excel in the soft skills. As a quick illustration, assume that a helpdesk provider does not use the traditional ticketing system for managing issues, instead uses Twitter. This firm keeps track of not just the SLA compliance but how well the service has been by received by the “community”. The “community” seems to understand that the provider’s performance is far better than a SLA metric.
Competing in the enterprise with a social network, outsourcers must add the intangibles to assess their performance. Developing a local community page or integrating the application with the enterprise social network will facilitate measuring success using the soft factors.