Businesses facing economic crisis are finding means on how they can lessen the cost of their expenditures. This continuous attempt to trim overhead costs and other expenses in the business industry gave way to the birth of outsourcing. Back office tasks are outsourced; customer services are brought to firms offering specialization in dealing with clients and customer complaints; and other routine tasks are being offshored or nearshored by many companies. And now, as the outsourcing industry progresses, research processes are now being outsourced to firms that are capable of providing quality data search.
Research process outsourcing or RPO is a segment of knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) that focuses entirely on research and data gathering. Research activities such as telephone surveys, data gathering through questionnaires and checklists, and interviews are being handled by RPO firms. Aside from that, RPO companies are also providing financial analysis and modeling, competitive intelligence and data search, and company profile preparations.
Advantages of research outsourcing
From past discussions and evaluations, outsourcing, indeed, produces commendable results. Cost reduction, efficient and accurate results, and tasks completed by specialized individuals are one of the major outcomes of outsourcing.
- RPO firms are specialized in gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information; thereby, making them more capable of efficiently performing such tasks.
- Firms have access to competitive professionals who can perform research tasks and well-trained staff to conduct full-scale consumer surveys.
- Leverage specialized knowledge and expertise.
- Faster turnover
- Firms have the necessary know-how and idea where to find and locate particular information.
Like any other outsourcing activities, RPO also has some drawbacks. Here are some of them.
- Less control of research/ work
- Ambiguity of projects. Any research tasks that are outsourced must be very specific. Ambiguity (e.g hesitation to provide required information) can only prolong the project process and may even cause delays.
- Outsourcing partners or firms may not have local knowledge of the consumer distinction and behavior as well as available brands in your locale.
- Researchers are focused on utilizing secondary sources such as the internet.
Drawbacks that research outsourcing has can be overcome by planning and careful evaluation of the problem and needed information. It is always important that both sides, the company outsourcing the research tasks and the receiving firm, must collaborate to achieve the optimum results of their efforts. If any of the parties fails to communicate, then, the possibility that the project will not produce accurate results is high.
Preparing to outsource your tasks
But before you run to the phone to inquire for the research outsourcing services of any company, it is important to check the compatibility of the outsourcing company with your needs. Varying situations or needs may require certain or better yet, specific KPO firms to cater to the requirements of your company. Here are some things that you may want to consider before you start to outsource your research projects:
1. Make sure you identify your marketing problems, having a better and clearer perspective of the problem from various angles.
2. Try to be specific with your research objectives. Have an idea on what particular information you are hoping to find out. Also, identify the possible decisions that must be made based on the results of the study.
3. Define your research needs and make sure to write it down. Include the specific requirements and particular parameters of the study. General statement of the problem, research type needed, and the information needed must be specified.
4. Browse and search for possible firms where you can outsource your tasks. Ask colleagues for referrals and make sure to conduct reference checks on the companies of your choice.
5. Assess the company’s capability to render such service. Conduct online researches to see if the company has established a good reputation in the outsourcing industry. Moreover, consider the “chemistry” between you and your chosen research provider.
Research outsourcing activities will greatly benefit organizations that conduct comparatively low research activities. This is because they usually lack the needed and specialized individuals who can conduct the research properly. Moreover, even big companies can gain benefits from outsourcing their market researches as they can gradually trim down their labor cost and lessen their manpower and other overhead expenses.
Research outsourcing may or may not work for you, depending on how you handle and deal with the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. With that, it is best to first know your needs, understand the rules and consequences of outsourcing, and find ways on how you can minimize your expenses while getting the best possible results for your business.