The Outsourcing Happiness Index

By January 25, 2013January 20th, 2022Archive

Two weeks ago when I wrote a blog entitled “If my dashboard is so green, why am I so unhappy,” the fabulous Chris Gattenio of IBM tweeted about the article, saying new measurements were necessary to track a “happiness index” of sourcing clients. Well Chris, you got me thinking.

Several years ago, I wrote an article entitled the “The Sustainable Outsourcing Relationship Quiz. But, in revisiting the article, sustainability does not equate to happiness. How many of the outsourcing relationships we know of are sustainable due to acceptable levels of service, a reasonable stream of benefits, or even inertia? Most of them.

So I went to one of my favorite sites, the Happiness Project,  as more of a glass-is-half-full sort of gal than not, I am amused by some of the tips—how to be happy in your new house, how to be happy about exercise—you catch my drift. But there’s no happiness index for outsourcing clients.

So, taking a riff from the Happiness Project, see how many of these phrases apply to you when you complete the sentence “Outsourcing happiness is…”

  1. Only one trip to India each year
  2. Engaging with a provider that understands the importance of deadlines, and meets them
  3. A very low level of noise from stakeholders, and even an occasional “I’m glad we outsourced—good job”
  4. Having a successful career after you get to business as usual
  5. Retaining the folks you want post transition because they saw a real opportunity to grow their careers
  6. Having only a few open change requests at any given time
  7. Implementing a quarterly governance program that’s not used to punish the provider and  that only takes a day to prepare for
  8. Actually able to access the metrics that prove that the program is effective.
  9. Finding sufficient bandwidth to create other, lasting value for the business
  10. Internal clients that do not second guess your decisions
  11. Working within an organization that views the program as “strategic” rather than “back office.”
  12. The ability to experiment with new ways of working without worrying about risk or cost.
  13. Being paid commensurate with other executives that manage large operations
  14. Not having to cover  for the provider when something goes wrong
  15. Never hearing your provider cry “I can’t do this for what I negotiated—I need additional fees.”
  16. Being sure that the provider’s sales guy did not confuse the selling with the doing
  17. Not bringing  work back in-house due to lack of performance
  18. Feeling more than happy to give your provider a good reference
  19. Not having concerns about provider attrition
  20. Being delighted by the quality of the experience as well as the quality of the delivery


How happy are you by the number of boxes you can check?  Score over 15 and your relationship is an exemplar for the industry. Tick off 10-15 and you’re a lucky guy or gal. Fewer than 10 but over five and you’re probably taking out your frustration on your family. Fewer than five and it’s get a new job…or a new provider.