On Shore vs. Off Shore Outsourcing Solutions- The Modern Dilemma
This discussion does not get into any of the emotional, political or economic reasons and is limited to typical business drivers of price, data quality, processing turn-around time, data security, technology etc.
Quality of Work: Data Quality
Keying of data from source document is very person dependent. Is the person keying the data having a good day, or bad day, or thinking about the weekend while keying the data? That is why best practice solution providers build into their platform double key and compare entry (which is; the same data keyed by two separate analysts and a check of variants by the third Compare analyst) and they build in the maximum number of data validation checks. So a judicious insertion of technology into a mostly manual task now reduces the dependency on an operator. It does not matter if the operator is sitting in New Jersey, Texas, or in India- it is the design of the work processes and the design of the platform which gives you the high quality data. You simply do not want a solution in which quality is people dependent. A qualified solution provider needs to bring sound technology, take the time to understand your work specifications and, develop a work process which can guarantee you close to 100% accuracy of delivered data.
Is this a slam-dunk in favor of off-shore? To some degree, but maybe not to the degree you expect. The total price must consider not just the cost of key entry labor but all the other costs of obtaining superior delivery. How much time are you spending managing your vendor? Can you reach them at any time? Are they responding back to you on your time pressures, or, theirs? How about quality of data – do you have a plethora of errors that need to be corrected post-delivery? How quickly is your provider adjusting to your change in requirements? A strong solution provider with robust workflow processes, responsive client management and capable project management will typically deliver a 20-40% saving with an off-shore offering vs an on-shore solution.
Generally a solution provider with a large processing capacity and a strong past performance record of on-time delivery should be able to provide you quick cycle times and adjust more easily to your demand fluctuations. Is a data entry processing located in New Jersey faster than one in Ohio? Faster than one in India? Not really, data entry analysts work at about similar speeds. The greater importance is work process design and capacity planning. It could be argued that capacity ramping is somewhat faster in India simply because more qualified staff are available at any given time, for recruitment. However, if price premiums are offered- the same could be done in New Jersey, or Ohio.
A capable data entry solution provider will already be on top of this. Data needs to be kept secure and all the necessary security protocols need to be in place. Anti-virus, anti-intrusion, encryptions, scrambling algorithms – some or all may need to be in place, based on the data security requirements. Security at the physical facility, network and employee level must be present. If all correct controls are in place it does not matter if the server is located in New Jersey, or, Illinois, or India. It may make us uncomfortable (I promised not to discuss emotions) however, it is more an out of sight, out of mind issue. We have come to accept doing daily business transactions with the likes of Amazon and Google- who are very often storing data in off-shore servers.
Responsiveness to your requirements, availability for communication when you need answers, track record of on-time delivery performance, track-record of high customer satisfaction, track record of high ethics, ease of doing business – all credentials to seek in the data entry solution provider you select. Does an on-shore data entry provider do this better compared to an off-shore data entry provider. Not necessarily, however it could be argued here that on-shore solution provider with an off-shore processing capacity can bring both the local presence as well as the global advantage, hence providing you the best solution.