Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Measuring Outsourcing Success 

Want to improve your outsourcing strategy and find out how well it’s working? Look no further! At Third Wave Outsourcing, we provide valuable resources and information to help businesses, startups, and individuals navigate the world of outsourcing. We will talk about key performance indicators (KPIs) in this piece that can help you keep an eye on and evaluate your outsourcing projects. Let’s dive in and find out how to get the most out of outsourcing KPIs in terms of speed and success!

What Are KPIs in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurable metrics that companies use to assess how well they are doing in meeting their goals. These metrics help businesses track progress, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions. When it comes to outsourcing, KPIs are very important because they help you see how well the relationships are working. They enable businesses to assess the quality and efficiency of services provided by third-party service providers.

The Definition of KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are specific, measurable factors that show what a company needs to do to be successful. They are meant to give a clear and unbiased picture of how well the group is doing and how close it is getting to its goals. When it comes to outsourcing, KPIs could include things like saving money, service quality, meeting deadlines, making sure customers and employees are happy, productivity, efficiency, following through on contracts, managing risks, and coming up with new ideas.

The Importance of KPIs in Outsourcing

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are very important in outsourcing because they help companies handle their vendors well and evaluate their work. Businesses can keep an eye on the performance of their service providers, find ways to make things better, and be ready for any problems or risks by setting and keeping track of important KPIs. KPIs also help establish benchmarks and standards, facilitating a measurable and objective assessment of outsourcing engagements.

Key KPIs Metrics for Outsourcing

1. Cost Savings

One of the primary reasons organizations choose to outsource is to achieve cost savings. KPIs that track cost savings keep track of the money you save by outsourcing, like lower labor costs, lower overhead costs, and better business efficiency. These key performance indicators (KPIs) help businesses figure out how well their outsourcing plan is working to bring in the money they want.

2. Quality of Service

The quality of service provided by outsourcing vendors is a critical factor in the success of outsourcing engagements. KPIs for service quality track things like correctness, speed, following through on service level agreements (SLAs), and customer happiness. These key performance indicators (KPIs) show how well the vendor can provide high-quality services that meet or go beyond standards.

3. Timeliness

Timeliness KPIs assess the ability of outsourcing vendors to deliver services within agreed-upon deadlines or turnaround times. These KPIs measure the efficiency of service delivery, highlighting any delays or bottlenecks that may impact overall performance. Timeliness KPIs are particularly important in time-sensitive processes or industries where punctuality is critical.

4. Customer Satisfaction

In outsourcing partnerships, customer satisfaction is a key KPI. It measures the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction experienced by the organization’s customers or end-users with the services provided by the outsourcing vendor. Customer satisfaction KPIs can be evaluated through surveys, feedback mechanisms, and other tools that gather customer insights. A happy customer base is a sign of a good outsourcing relationship and helps keep customers coming back.

5. Employee Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction KPIs measure how happy and involved workers are with their jobs when they work with an outsourcing vendor. These KPIs measure factors such as job satisfaction, motivation, and communication effectiveness. High levels of employee satisfaction are a sign of a good outsourcing relationship, and they also help boost total performance and productivity.

6. Productivity

KPIs measure how productive and efficient outsourcing projects are by looking at output and worker use. These KPIs keep track of things like how many jobs are finished, how many units are made, or how many processes are run in a certain amount of time. Productivity KPIs provide insights into the efficiency of the outsourcing partnership and help identify areas for improvement.

7. Efficiency

Efficiency key performance indicators (KPIs) measure how well outsourcing plans use resources and make the most of them. These KPIs track things like less waste, better process flow, and activities that are run more efficiently. Efficiency KPIs help businesses figure out how outsourcing affects their general operational efficiency and find ways to make things even better.

8. Contract Compliance

Contract compliance KPIs measure how well the company and the outsourcing vendor are following through on their contractual obligations and service level agreements. These KPIs track things like hitting performance goals, providing services according to agreed-upon standards, and making sure that regulations are followed. Contract compliance KPIs help companies keep track of and enforce their contractual responsibilities, as well as hold vendors responsible for how well they do.

9. Risk Management

Risk management KPIs are all about finding, evaluating, and lowering the risks that come with outsourcing jobs. These KPIs measure things like how well the provider can handle security threats, keep data safe, and keep the business running. Risk management KPIs help organizations evaluate the effectiveness of their outsourcing risk mitigation measures and implement proactive strategies to minimize potential risks.

10. Innovation

Innovation key performance indicators (KPIs) measure how much outsourcing vendors help the company be more innovative and keep getting better. These KPIs track things like how well the seller can come up with new ideas for solutions, introduce new technologies, or suggest ways to make the process better. Innovation KPIs help businesses figure out how much their outsourcing deals are worth and how they help them stay competitive and come up with new ideas.

Setting Up Effective KPIs

Aligning KPIs with Business Objectives

To ensure effective performance measurement, KPIs should align closely with the organization’s overall business objectives and strategic goals. By setting KPIs that directly relate to the results they want, companies can keep track of their progress and figure out how outsourcing is helping them reach their goals. This alignment ensures that KPIs provide meaningful insights into the success of outsourcing relationships.


KPIs should follow the SMART framework, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. KPIs make it clear what the goal is and give you a way to measure it. Measurable KPIs have quantifiable metrics attached to them, allowing for objective evaluation. Achievable KPIs set reasonable goals that can be met in the current situation. Relevant KPIs align with the specific objectives of outsourcing engagements. Time-bound KPIs are set so that they can be tracked and evaluated within a certain amount of time.

Important Reminders in Setting KPIs for Outsourcing

When setting KPIs for outsourcing, it’s important to keep in mind that each job is different and has its own needs. KPIs may need to be changed to fit the needs of different outsourcing models, businesses, and processes. KPIs help make sure that the performance and effects of outsourcing partnerships are correctly shown by considering things like the difficulty of the service, industry standards, and the organization’s top priorities.

For KPIs to work, the company and the outsourcing service provider need to work together and talk to each other. Businesses can make sure that both the client and the service provider understand what is expected of them and how to measure it by including the service provider in the process of setting KPIs. Collaboration also lets service providers use their knowledge and experience to give input and ideas for KPIs.

How to Track KPIs

Data Analysis 

To keep track of KPIs, you need a planned way to gather and analyze the right data. Companies should set up methods and tools to collect correct and dependable information that fits with their set KPIs. This could mean getting information from automated monitoring systems, feedback polls, performance reviews, or other good ways. By looking at the collected data, you can learn a lot about how the outsourcing relationships are doing and how they are progressing.


To keep track of KPIs successfully, businesses should set up a way to report and review on a regular basis. This includes regular reports on how well KPIs are being met, updates on progress, and new ideas from analyzing data. Companies and their outsourcing partners can find trends, deal with differences, and make changes quickly to boost performance when reviews happen on a regular basis. The review and reporting methods should be open, involve everyone, and be aimed at achieving continuous improvement.

Trend Monitoring 

Tracking KPIs means not only keeping an eye on performance but also finding and fixing any differences or trends that don’t go as planned. Organizations should have ways to find out why there are differences, whether they are good or bad, and then take the right steps. Taking into account differences and trends helps businesses change their plans, make smart choices, and keep making their outsourcing relationships work better.

KPIs vs. SLAs

How to Tell the Difference

KPIs and SLAs (Service Level Agreements) are both important parts of outsourcing contracts, but they do different things. KPIs measure and evaluate performance and give concrete information about how well outsourcing relationships are working. SLAs, on the other hand, are legally binding agreements that spell out the agreed upon levels of service, such as reaction times, service availability, and other factors that can be measured. KPIs are more useful than SLAs because they give you a bigger picture of performance and results.

Complementary Relationship

KPIs and SLAs should be made to work together in a way that makes them more useful. SLAs tell the outsourcing vendor what level of efficiency is required and what is expected of them. On the other hand, KPIs give a more complete and all-around picture of performance by looking at many things that affect an organization’s success. KPIs help measure how well and how much an outsourcing relationship is worth overall, while SLAs make sure that contracts are followed.

Integration in Contracts 

KPIs and SLAs should be part of outsourcing contracts to make sure that performance management works well. Putting KPIs and SLAs in contracts makes expectations clear, gives a way to measure and evaluate performance, and makes it easier to have useful conversations about performance. KPIs and SLAs that are clearly stated help align the goals and interests of both parties, which makes outsourcing relationships more open and accountable.

Problems that Often Come Up When Measuring KPIs 

Data Accuracy 

Making sure that data is available and correct is one of the hardest parts of measuring KPIs. It can be hard for organizations to get useful data from different sources, combine it, and make sure it is correct. Poor data quality, inconsistent data collection methods, and a lack of standardization can make it hard to accurately measure success. Implementing strong data collection tools and setting up data governance systems are needed to overcome these problems.


Some KPIs, like how satisfied customers or employees are, may include subjective parts that are based on people’s own thoughts or feelings. To find out how subjective and how people see things, you need to get feedback from polls, interviews, or other methods of collecting qualitative data. However, it can be hard to understand and quantify such data because different people may have different points of view. To deal with this problem, businesses can use standard measurement tools, keep data anonymous, and make sure they have a large enough sample size to get accurate results.

Limited Control 

When companies outsource business tasks or processes, they might run into problems because they don’t have full control over the activities that are being handled. Because organizations depend on the success of outside service providers, this lack of control can make it hard to measure and improve KPIs. To deal with this problem more effectively, we need good control systems, regular performance reviews, and clear lines of communication. The limited power problem can also be solved by working together and setting the same goals.

Setting the Right Benchmarks  

Comparing KPIs to the right standards or goals can be hard, especially when working with outside companies. It might be hard to find good benchmarks to compare because of variations in industry standards, processes, or the needs of a specific company. To get around this problem, businesses can work with trade groups, do benchmarking studies with companies outside their own field, or set internal standards based on past performance data or best practices.

Tools and Tech for Keeping Track of KPIs 

Automated Monitoring Systems 

Automated monitoring tools are very important for keeping track of KPIs correctly and quickly. These systems automatically gather and study relevant data, so no one has to do it by hand and make mistakes. To get real-time performance data, automated tracking systems can be connected to different IT and operational systems. They give organizations full visibility into KPI performance, which lets them make smart decisions and control performance.

Dashboards for Performance  

Performance dashboards are pictures that show KPIs and performance measures in a way that is clear and easy to understand. These screens show KPI performance in real time or almost real time, so stakeholders can keep an eye on performance trends, compare goals with actuals, and find places where things could be better. Performance screens can be changed to show the right KPIs and let you drill down for more in-depth analysis.

Tools for Visualizing Data  

Data visualization tools, like graphs, charts, and maps, help turn large sets of complicated data into images that make sense. These tools make it easier for stakeholders to understand and get insights from KPI data by making it easier to access and analyze. You can use data analytics tools to show performance trends, find connections, or show patterns and outliers. These tools make performance research easier to understand and more useful by showing data in a way that is interesting to look at.

Pros of Using KPIs When Outsourcing  

Better Ways to Measure Performance  

When companies outsource, they can get a full and objective picture of success by using KPIs. KPIs give organizations real-time information about different parts of outsourcing projects. This helps them keep track of progress, find places to improve, and make choices based on data. Better performance measurement helps businesses get the most out of their outsourcing relationships, keep improving, and make their operations run more smoothly overall.

Good Management of Vendors  

KPIs are very important for managing vendors because they let companies keep track of and judge the work of outsourcing vendors. Companies can judge a vendor’s performance, service quality, and compliance with contractual responsibilities by setting and keeping an eye on key performance indicators (KPIs). Effective vendor management encourages open conversation, accountability, and transparency, which leads to outsourcing relationships that are good for both parties.

Continuous Improvement 

KPIs help businesses find areas where they aren’t performing as well as they could and start working to improve things right away. By comparing KPI targets to actual performance, businesses can find ways to improve, take corrective steps, and keep making things better. KPIs also let you compare your results to industry standards or best practices. This encourages learning and new ideas within the company and helps with ongoing efforts to make processes better.

Better Decision Making 

Organizations can make choices based on facts and data when they use KPIs as performance indicators. Key performance indicators (KPIs) give us a way to measure how well and how much an outsourcing job is worth. They help companies figure out their return on investment (ROI), how outsourcing affects their most important business goals, and whether it’s possible to grow or scale up their outsourcing projects. Companies can make choices that are in line with their overall strategic goals when they have access to correct and useful KPI data.


KPIs are important tools for checking how well and how well outsourcing projects are working. Companies can effectively track and evaluate their outsourcing relationships by making sure that KPIs are in line with their business goals, setting SMART goals, and thinking about the details of the outsourcing relationship. Tracking KPIs is even easier and more accurate with the help of technologies and tools like performance dashboards, automatic monitoring systems, and data visualization tools. KPIs help businesses save money, improve service quality, be on time, make sure customers and employees are happy, be productive, save time, follow through on contracts, handle risks, and come up with new ideas. Organizations can improve how they measure performance, manage their vendors more effectively, push for continuous improvement, and make better choices when they start outsourcing projects by using KPIs.

For an in-depth exploration of these strategies and more, download our free eBook, “Third Wave Outsourcing,” and position your business to thrive in this new era of global talent acquisition.