Data Entry is one of the most commonly outsourced tasks today.
Data entry is a key aspect in organizational development as almost all organizations rely on data to devise plans, marketing strategies, take crucial business decisions etc. It is a powerful tool for organizing, entering and process data.
This data can be in the form of hand-written documents, series of numbers, spreadsheets etc. Needless to say, it is a time-consuming task which requires data to be entered carefully into documents, records, systems etc. It requires high level of accuracy and diligence in doing the tasks and this is where most organizations struggle.
Most organizations find it difficult to dedicate a resource specifically to do the task on a consistent basis while leaving all other all important tasks that warrant attention not to mention the risk of mistakes and inaccuracies which in itself can prove to be costly.
However, there’s good news! A lot of companies offer to provide these services to companies at affordable costs. Outsourcing offers numerous advantages:-
- Access to specialized services by experts.
- Cost effective services.
- 98% accuracy with full data security.
- Fast Turnaround time as tasks are performed by experts who have years of experience working with large volumes of data.
Outsourcing data entry tasks is popular option being chosen by a lot of companies these days. In spite of multiple advantages it offers, it is not without challenges.
Here are some of the common challenges being faced by companies in outsourcing data entry tasks:
- Finding the right service provider – This is the primary challenge faced by companies. To be able to find the right company offering data entry services that best suits your needs, budget, timeline etc can be difficult especially when there are so many companies in the market offering similar services. You need to be careful with choosing the right company in terms of quality and cost. The chosen company should be flexible and accessible with the client company so as to ensure smooth execution of tasks.
- Outsourcing Data entry services v/s In-house operations – Another key challenge that businesses face while deciding to outsource data entry operations is the decision itself. The decision whether to manage data entry tasks in-house or to outsource the same to a third party. Will outsourcing prove to be more profitable? These are some of the questions that businesses looking thinking about outsourcing data entry services need to consider. The same depends on a lot of factors like location, cost factors, overall benefits etc. For instance if you are in countries such Singapore, Middle East, or in developed countries such as Europe or U.S where labour is expensive, it would be easier to outsource it to some company probably in India, Thailand, Philippines etc where it is easy to find skilled labour at nearly half the price. Similarly if you are located in any of the Tier 2 cities in India like Bhubaneswar, Dehradun, Nagpur etc, it would be easier to hire additional resources to manage the task in house as compared to outsourcing it to companies in Thailand, Philippines etc. Weigh your options and then decide judiciously.
- Cost v/s Returns – Cost is an important factor for businesses. Affordability is prime concern when it comes to sustainability of small businesses and therefore when deciding to outsource certain functions or tasks they must not only choose a reliable and cost-effective service provider but also take into account the benefits this arrangement would yield. For instance a business may decide to outsource some of its function and manages to find a reliable service provider at reasonable costs.
Over a period of time, the company realizes that it would have been easier to engage somebody in-house for the task as the requirement wasn’t much. They did not really need to take on an agreement with a third party. It was i n fact proving to be expensive and drain their finances.
Therefore the cost was low in the beginning but the returns they were getting wasn’t in accordance with the money being put in and therefore did not turn out to be a profitable arrangement. On the other hand, if you feel that data entry, data management, processing etc is going to be an on-going requirement for your business and outsourcing is an attractive option as engaging an in house resource for the task would mean diverting from other core areas which is not a good idea. In that case outsourcing can prove to be profitable as you will saving the time of in house resources which you can use in other core functions. On the other hand, outsourcing to a reliable and good service provider would guarantee quality and quick turnaround time with large volumes of data which would then be used to make sound business decisions and strategies. The returns from the arrangement would be positive therefore proving to be a fruitful decision. Therefore it is important to do thorough home work and analyze your business requirements and situations before jumping to any conclusion.
- Monitoring and exercising control - One of the major problems faced by small and medium businesses when they decide to outsource certain functions is loss of managerial power and difficulty in exercising control. Oftentimes companies find it difficult to exercise direct control on the day to day activities of the third party. This is especially true when you outsource to a company located abroad or in another geographical location. You are limited to communication by virtual means. In projects spanning long durations it poses a challenge to small businesses as lack of control can sometimes result in time and cost overruns. Therefore it is important to think along these lines and have a clear discussion with your service provider at the start of the project so as to avoid any hiccups later. Better still have a well-defined contract in place protecting the interest of both parties.
- Confidentiality – Last but not the least, confidentiality of sensitive data is crucial. Outsourcing data entry tasks to a third party exposes private information and data related to the company to the contracting company which can later be sold to competitors other companies for money. Data security is vital and companies should get the outsourcing companies to sign a non-disclosure agreement wherein they promise to keep all information private and limited to employees working on the project and that would never share or reveal data to any party ever.
These are just some challenges that small and medium businesses face when looking to outsource data entry or any other function. Proper paperwork, clear communication, regular interaction between client and vendor can help override such issues to a great extent. Outsourcing, undoubtedly offers multiple benefits to companies looking for expert help in certain areas of their business however clear expectation, great foresight and proper planning can help companies overcome challenges and make the most of the arrangement.