Should I Outsource or Not
The trend in outsourcing or working with independent contractors is becoming more and more popular. So how do you know if it will bring benefit to your business?
As with all data projects (big or small) success comes by finding the right balance of internal and external resources. When it comes time to decide what to outsource and what to keep in-house, how do you choose?
Finding the Right Balance of Internal and External Resources
When should a business consider outsourcing parts of its data function?
Every business is different, however, businesses benefit the most from outsourcing when:You’re looking at doing something new that requires specialist technical skills. Predictive modelling and establishing business triggers are areas where it often makes sense to get external help.
You are setting up a new model that is complicated and beyond the skills of your existing staff; temporarily buying that expertise in makes a lot of sense. Establishing processes on unstructured data or where you’re performing a new type of analysis on your data often benefits from expert help.
There are peaks of work. Rather than hiring an additional full-time employee, it can be more cost-effective to bring in temporary talent to get through peaks in work flow. For example, if you have a number of campaigns launching at the same time, additional resources just at that time can be very helpful.
Data cleaning companies can come in and quickly rectify gaps in your data, such as incomplete names and addresses. Although you can do this process internally, it’s usually a lot more cost-effective to outsource. Data companies also offer lead services, where they identify other customers with characteristics similar to your own, making them a useful source of qualified leads.
Insightful decision making from your data.
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Management and Control
Are there any particular types of organisation that benefit more than most from outsourcing?
Small businesses and start-ups tend not to have the specialist skills required for complicated data analysis in-house. When you’re small, you need people who can hit the ground running, with minimal training because your staff often have less time for training others given the frenetic pace of start-ups.
Which types of benefit can businesses expect from outsourcing?
The right suppliers will bring with them up-to-date knowledge of what is current market best practice in their field. In addition to identifying gaps in your team, they can often help you work out the best way of organising your existing analytical resources.
When external suppliers work with your own team, they share knowledge from other projects they have worked on. This transfer of skills will benefit your in-house team.
Are there things you wouldn’t recommend outsourcing?
Your high-level data strategy isn’t something you can totally outsource (obviously you know your business vision and objectives best), though having experts guide you through the process can be invaluable as they can disseminate best practice in the field of strategic planning and management to ensure you get this crucial step right. That’s important as all your activities and deliverables will stem from there.
Once you have your high-level data strategy in place and you have quantified exactly what it will deliver, you can then start to look at how you’re going to flesh out and implement your data strategy, and explore the internal and external resources available to help you achieve those goals.
A combination of internal and external staff works well for strategic projects to ensure internal guidance and involvement.
Do you have any specific advice for companies looking at outsourcing?
Outsourcing support with your data is no different from outsourcing other strategic business functions; you need to be clear about your objectives and manage your suppliers carefully.
Make sure your supplier understands exactly what you want to achieve – both strategically and tactically. You don’t want them going off on tangents or analysing things that aren’t commercially useful to you.
Ensure your data is protected:Check you have provided them with access to all the data they need to perform their role.
Ensure there are clear rules around who can access your data and how the data can be used.
Make sure the supplier understands which fields in your data relate to privacy, so any actions they perform comply with your opt-out policies.
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