As a part of their service provision strategy, organizations are increasingly resorting to outsource research so as to handle effectively the capacity overload and specific research in some areas. This decision to outsource research is also based on the global makeup and the offshoring strategy of these organizations. The aim is to gather new knowledge that is valid to your business needs that will eventually lead to improved processes, products, services or systems that will help in the long run to boost up the sales and profits of the organization.
Factors that Determine Research Outsourcing
Outsourcing Research is a tricky process since the results that are achieved aren’t always in sync with what the client expected, hence not every singe item that is on the list of the parent organization is off shored for research purposes but before you actually research the following factors need to be check listed that help you in taking the decision of outsourcing:
- The expertise level of the vendor staff: is the most crucial factor in determining the success of research project because more than often there is a dearth of experienced researchers in these offshore ventures. Researches that involve handling complicated issues should not be sent to new companies and to begin with company descriptions, SEC documents, routine and credit reports should be sent.
- Need to explore: the range of activities that are covered by the term ‘research’ and thereby deciding on which activity is to be outsourced and to what degree.
- Weigh the factors: in advance that will determine the success of the outsourcing process and a detailed discussion be made on the same before you research.
- Request Review Duration: is the amount of time that the services staff takes to process each request should be considered before outsourcing.
- Contract Terms: Although maintaining the contract is essential in any outsourcing agreement but when it comes to outsource research projects, the same becomes all the more necessary. The contract must be negotiated individually because without access to the information sources of the client the outsource company can’t achieve a good research.
Four Perspectives of Outsource Researching
Jee-Nam Lee from Hong Kong who has done extensive and ground breaking study on research outsourcing gives four points of perspective to interpret the earlier outsourcing research and at the same time provide insight into the future research services:
- Strategy Management: basically revolves around the concerns of formulation and implementation of strategy to realize a desired goal. However the drawback with this perspective is that it doesn’t cover the management of the external environment that has a say in determining the outcome of the outsourced research.
- Economic Perspective: in this perspective what happens is that the vendor party considers each outsource research project as a separate event disjointed from future communications or more transfer of projects from the client to the vendor. Hence there is lack of an obligation towards each other.
- Social Perspective: considers that there will be an extensive relationship between the vendor and the client through the research projects. In this relationship more trustworthiness is displayed to make the relationship appear as a dynamic process.
- Mixed Research: In this perspective research is mixed with other important issues, for instance, a mixing of knowledge management research and outsourcing research. Lee also advocates at this point of time that those who are planning to outsource research in IS should try to mix the same with some other IS topics that are relevant to the study. Moreover he cites that in case of many locations, negotiation systems and group support systems should be used.
The mandate for outsourcing research usually comes from the top most levels of the organization and many of the companies who have already outsourced their research work would prefer doing it again for another set of work provided they would set a different set of expectations and also search for many locations before going for research. It can be concluded that the concept of outsourcing research isn’t flawed at all but many factors have to be determined and addressed before embarking on such a project.