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Outsourcing Professional Body of Knowledge (OPBOK) in – 3 minutes


Title/current version

OPBOK (Outsourcing Professional Body of Knowledge) Version 10

The basics of OPBOK:

OPBOK (Outsourcing Professional Body of Knowledge) provides a set of best practices from around the globe for the design, implementation and management of outsourcing contracts, including a code of ethics and business practices for outsourcing professionals.


OPBOK (Outsourcing Professional Body of Knowledge) is owned and maintained by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP). which was formed in 2005 by a consortium of leading companies involved in outsourcing as customers, providers, and advisors. OPBOK was first published in 2006; the current version is Version 10, which reflects major updates from IAOP of the commonly accepted practices and skills required to ensure outsourcing success. It is the basis for IAOP’s Certified Outsourcing Professional® qualification and certification programmes.

OPBOK describes the generally accepted set of knowledge and practices applicable to the successful design, implementation, and management of outsourcing contracts. It provides:
•  A framework for understanding what outsourcing is and how it fits within business operations
•  The knowledge and practice areas generally accepted as critical to outsourcing success
•  A glossary of terms commonly used in outsourcing deals and contracts

OPBOK is divided into ten knowledge areas covering major areas of outsourcing expertise. The OPBOK framework is based on a five-stage outsourcing process (see Figure).

Figure: OPBOK five-stage outsourcing process

Source: IAOP

Target audience
Targeted principally at outsourcing professionals who are buyers, providers and advisors in the outsourcing industry; also of interest to senior management in buying organizations; trainers and academics addressing outsourcing topics.

Scope and constraints:

The scope of OPBOK is governance and defining a strategic approach to outsourcing, governance, identifying and communicating business requirements, selecting and qualifying providers, gaining internal buy-in, creating project teams, and getting value for money and return on investment.

OPBOK and Carnegie Mellon’s eSourcing Capability Models (eSCMs) are becoming the most relevant outsourcing standards. OPBOK complements eSCM-CL (eSCM for clients). OPBOK focuses on outsourcing of any service (but only outsourcing). eSCM-CL focuses on sourcing of IT-enabled services and covers multiple types of sourcing, including outsourcing, insourcing, and shared services. OPBOK is used as the basis for individual certification – the Certified Outsourcing Professional (COP), while eSCM-CL supports organizational appraisal, evaluation, and certification.


OPBOKreflects the best practice of outsourcing professionals worldwide, including the‘make or break’ factors that can affect any outsourcing initiative.


OPBOK does not address insourcing or shared services.

Relevant Reading:


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