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The eSourcing Capability Model for Service Providers (eSCM-SP) is a framework developed by ITSqc at Carnegie Mellon University. The eSCM-SP is a “best practices” capability model with three purposes: (1) to give service providers guidance that will help them improve their capability across the sourcing life-cycle, (2) to provide clients with an objective means of evaluating the capability of service providers, and (3) to offer service providers a standard to use when differentiating themselves from competitors.


IT-enabled sourcing, or eSourcing, uses information technology as a key component of service delivery, or as an enabler for delivering services. Often provided remotely eSourcing services range from routine and non-critical tasks that are resource intensive and operational in nature to strategic processes that directly impact revenues.

Critical issues for eSourcing[edit]

While developing the eSCM-SP, 23 issues were identified as being critical for successful eSourcing. These critical issues have been classified into six themes:

  1. Good relationships between the service provider and the client, the end users, suppliers, and all stakeholders.
  2. Selecting, hiring, and retaining a motivated workforce.
  3. Well defined and delivered services that satisfy commitments and meet client needs.
  4. Managing common business threats, such as security issues, risk management, disaster recovery, and statutory and regulatory requirements.
  5. Providing world-class services that are always improving.
  6. Managing service transitions well at both engagement initiation and completion.

Model Structure[edit]

The current version, eSCM-SP v2, is composed of 84 Practices that address the critical capabilities needed by IT-enabled service providers. Each Practice is distributed along three dimensions, 1) Sourcing Life-cycle, 2) Capability Area, and 3) Capability Level.

Sourcing Life-Cycle[edit]

Although most quality models focus only on delivery capabilities, in eSourcing there are also critical issues associated with initiation and completion of an engagement, as well as the overall capabilities of the service provider. For this reason the first dimension of the eSCM-SP Practices highlights where in the Sourcing Life-cycle each Practice is most relevant. The Sourcing Life-cycle is divided into Initiation, Ongoing, Delivery, and Completion. Ongoing Practices span the entire Sourcing Life-cycle, while Initiation, Delivery, and Completion occur in specific phases of that Life-cycle.

Capability areas[edit]

eSourcing is delivered through a series of interdependent functions that enables service providers to effectively deliver service. The second dimension of the eSCM-SP, Capability Areas, provides logical groupings of Practices to help users better remember and intellectually manage the content of the model. These groupings allow service providers to build or demonstrate capabilities in each critical sourcing function, addressing all of the critical sourcing issues discussed above. All of the Ongoing Practices are contained within six of the ten Capability Areas: Knowledge Management, People Management, Performance Management, Relationship Management, Technology Management, and Threat Management. The other four Capability Areas are temporal and are typically associated with a single phase of the Sourcing Life-cycle: Initiation, Delivery, or Completion. The exception is Service Transfer, which includes both Initiation and Completion Practices. In addition to Service Transfer, the temporal Capability Areas are Contracting, Service Design & Deployment, and Service Delivery.

Capability level[edit]

The third dimension in the eSCM–SP is Capability Levels. The five Capability Levels of the eSCM–SP describe an improvement path that clients should expect service providers to travel. This path starts from a desire to provide eSourcing services, and continues to the highest level, demonstrating an ability to sustain excellence.

  • Capability Level 1: Providing services
  • Capability Level 2: Consistently meeting requirements
  • Capability Level 3: Managing organizational performance
  • Capability Level 4: Proactively enhancing value
  • Capability Level 5: Sustaining excellence


eSCM-SP comprises 84 best practices : for each of these practices, a list of activities and clarifying information are provided. Practices address the critical capabilities for eSourcing Service providers that are associated with successful sourcing relationships. Most practices refer to establishing a policy, procedure, guide, program or plan.

The relationship between sourcing life-cycle phases, capability areas, practices and capability levels is summarized below:


Knowledge Management
Share Knowledge - Capability Level 4
Provide Required Information - Capability Level 2
Knowledge Systems - Capability Level 3
Process Assets - Capability Level 3
Engagement Knowledge - Capability Level 3
Reuse - Capability Level 3
Version & Change Control - Capability Level 2
Resource Consumption - Capability Level 2
People Management
Encourage Innovation - Capability Level 4
Participation in Decisions - Capability Level 3
Work Environment - Capability Level 2
Assign Responsibilities - Capability Level 2
Define Roles - Capability Level 3
Workforce Competencies - Capability Level 3
Plan & Deliver Training - Capability Level 3
Personnel Competencies - Capability Level 2
Performance Feedback - Capability Level 3
Career Development - Capability Level 3
Rewards - Capability Level 3
Performance Management
Engagement Objectives - Capability Level 2
Verify Processes - Capability Level 2
Adequate Resources - Capability Level 2
Organizational Objectives - Capability Level 3
Review Organizational Performance - Capability Level 3
Make Improvements - Capability Level 3
Achieve Organizational Objectives - Capability Level 4
Capability Baselines - Capability Level 4
Benchmark - Capability Level 4
Prevent Potential Problems - Capability Level 4
Deploy Innovations - Capability Level 4
Relationship Management
Client Interactions - Capability Level 2
Select Suppliers & Partners - Capability Level 2
Manage Suppliers & Partners - Capability Level 2
Cultural Fit - Capability Level 3
Stakeholder Information - Capability Level 3
Client Relationships - Capability Level 3
Supplier & Partner Relationships - Capability Level 3
Value Creation - Capability Level 4
Technology Management
Acquire Technology - Capability Level 2
Technology Licenses - Capability Level 2
Control Technology - Capability Level 2
Technology Integration - Capability Level 2
Optimize Technology - Capability Level 3
Proactively introduce Technology - Capability Level 4
Threat Management
Risk Management - Capability Level 2
Engagement Risk - Capability Level 2
Risk across Engagements - Capability Level 3
Security - Capability Level 2
Intellectual Property - Capability Level 2
Statutory & Regulatory Compliance - Capability Level 2
Disaster Recovery - Capability Level 2


Contracting Management
Negotiations - Capability Level 3
Pricing - Capability Level 2
Confirm Existing Conditions - Capability Level 2
Market Information - Capability Level 3
Plan Negotiations - Capability Level 2
Gather Requirements - Capability Level 2
Review Requirements - Capability Level 2
Respond to requirements - Capability Level 2
Contract roles - Capability Level 2
Create contracts - Capability Level 2
Amend contracts - Capability Level 2
Service Design & Development
Communicate Requirements - Capability Level 2
Design & deploy service - Capability Level 3
Plan Design & Deployment - Capability Level 2
Service Specification - Capability Level 2
Service Design - Capability Level 2
Design Feedback - Capability Level 2
Verify Design - Capability Level 3
Deploy Service - Capability Level 2
Service Transfer (initiation or transition)
Resources Transferred In - Capability Level 2
Personnel Transferred In - Capability Level 2
Service Continuity - Capability Level 3
Resources Transferred Out - Capability Level 2
Personnel Transferred Out - Capability Level 2
Knowledge Transferred Out - Capability Level 4


Service Delivery
Plan Service Delivery - Capability Level 2
Train Clients - Capability Level 2
Deliver Service - Capability Level 2
Verify Service Commitments - Capability Level 2
Correct Problems - Capability Level 2
Prevent Known Problems - Capability Level 3
Service Modifications - Capability Level 2
Financial Management - Capability Level 2


Service Transfer (completion or reversibility) - see Service Transfer (initiation or transition) above

See also[edit]


External links[edit]