Alberto Álvarez Álvarez Head of Strategic Accounts Services

How to establish the KPIs of a managed service?

Any of the managed services we provide in Izertis to our clients has among its main objectives the continuous improvement of it. “What is not defined cannot be measured. What is not measured cannot be improved. What is not improved, always degrades”. This sentence of the famous physicist and mathematician William Thomson Kelvin (Lord Kelvin, 1824 – 1907), perfectly summarizes an essential principle for our Centre of Managed Services.

Besides having a detailed Service Level Agreement adapted to each organization, we always establish by mutual agreement with the client a set of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that are responsible for measuring its performance. These indicators, which may also be linked to penalties or bonuses, ensure that the established guidelines are followed continuously and that they also clearly show the areas where improvement is needed.  

But for these indicators to be a true reflection of the performance of a service they must be guided to measure the expectations that are intended to be achieved, otherwise they will become mere statistical numbers.

Guidelines, definition and characteristics of KPIs

So… how should KPIs be established? In Izertis and before we present a proposal for indicators we always have a talk with the person in charge of the service in the client and we establish the guidelines that will give rise to them.   Among others, the questions raised are:

  • How should the support service be perceived within the organization?
  • Do response times to incidents affect all business areas in an homogeneous way?
  • What is the definition of quality service for the business?
  • What are the medium and long term objectives for the support service?

Once these and other questions have been answered, it is time to define the indicators that, of course, must be “measurableand must have an achievable performance threshold. It should be taken into account that setting indicators that are impossible to meet will degrade trust between client and supplier, which is why it is advisable to “test” all KPIs for a period of time enough to obtain reliable data regarding possible thresholds and volumes. Once this period is over, it is the right time to establish penalties and /or bonuses that should of course be reflected in the Service Level Agreement.

If an organization modifies its objectives, the support service must adapt to them and probably will even have to modify existing KPIs.


The provision of a support service such as the one provided by the Izertis Managed Services Centre to its clients, must necessarily have a series of indicators that objectively show whether the service runs along the established path and if they are also able to measure continuous improvement.

To make an appropriate design of these indicators is essential”, “copy and paste” (which is not the same as “adopt and adapt”) the indicators established for other services is not a good practice and can have dire consequences on the client-supplier relationship. 

Finally, a little tip… the service provision indicators should not be an added pressure for the people who carry it out. It must be established a way of working that is able to reach the established thresholds and not meet them at any price.