10 things to consider when outsourcing market research

  • Are you preparing to expand your business and operations to the next level?
  • Do you want to advance your in-house skills set without incurring extra costs?
  • Do you want to strive for something exceptional to enhance your competitiveness?
  1. Discuss with the project’s decision makers. To avoid misunderstanding and infringing on anyone’s, the extent of control the employees of the outsourcing company can exert over the project should be communicated clearly.
  2. Do you have a proven record of accomplishment? The ideal way to assess a probable service provider is to examine their service track record from multiple viewpoints. You should connect with existing customers of vendor and check their overall service experience.
  3. How will the account be managed and processed? Ask the vendor which dedicated resource will handle day-to-day operations and what quality measures will be taken/protocol followed to ensure quality and timely delivery. It is best to clearly communicate the desired quality and timelines. Visiting the vendor’s premises can also give you confidence in their management expertise and physical infrastructure.
  4. What are the data security procedures? Ask for a detailed description of how confidential information will be input and output, and of the firewalls in place to protect data from unauthorised access. Above all, service providers should comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if they will be dealing with data relating to EU citizens.
  5. How cost-efficient would this option be? Compare pricing in the market (including hidden costs) before finalising the vendor. Ramp-down and ramp-up models are the most cost-efficient strategies (i.e., paying only for productive days/weeks/months). Additionally, include a clause in the agreement relating to penalties in the event of errors or delays in service. Weigh the final pricing structure against your total cost of ownership (TCO) to get the total pricing picture
  6. What is the value added? What does the vendor offer besides the standard, requisite function, and how will this give you a competitive edge? Assess whether the vendor is genuinely able to adapt to meeting your current and future requirements. Ask the vendor to share recent examples of success related to the services you will soon be availing yourself of.
  7. Analyse the vendor’s financial stability. A vendor with a strong market presence and no debt is most appropriate. Review the vendor’s cash flow and other financial information to mitigate the risk of losing a business partner due to sudden financial death.
  8. Assess how you would ensure a management/policy change at the vendor’s end does not impact your business. It is important that you and the vendor hold substantial one-on-one discussions, together with all key leaders, during the pre-contract stage and during implementation. It is also important to track progress and understand that getting buy-in and governance right is not a one-time event, but a continuous process. Conduct experiential workshops to understand the experience of all the people, processes, assets and technology involved.
  9. How to handle loss of key talent/poor knowledge transfer. The vendor should have retention policies. After a period of outsourcing, key talent at the vendor’s end who have become a key element for your business deliveries could look for a change in work and, very often, it is difficult to hire new talent with the same or a better approach and skill set. The flow of business may, therefore, be disturbed in the absence of the right talent. Thus, it is vital to ask the vendor whether they have a retention policy in place, as well as a continuous training programme for all key executives/leaders handling your account.
  10. How to control culture clashes or communication gaps in the case of offshore outsourcing. Global offshoring may be difficult if a good understanding is not built between the vendor and your key players. Specific training in multicultural awareness and communication would improve the team’s understanding of norms and customs in other cultures. The challenges could be overcome by using instant messaging tools (Slack/Skype), video calling, and conducting regular training sessions on matters such as email writing
  • Custom envelope design and mailing services
  • Precise data-digitising techniques such as OCR, OMR and ICR

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Acuity Knowledge Partners

We write about financial industry trends, the impact of regulatory changes and opinions on industry inflection points. https://www.acuitykp.com/