Data entry, though considered a basic and menial task, is significant for most organizations. Typing an incorrect number, for example, can ruin the result of a statistical analysis. Or consider a real example. Deutsche Bank sent a US hedge fund $6 million because of a simple data entry error.
Data entry goofs are recurrent, but they are not unavoidable. A good and reliable data entry outsourcing partner can go a long way in minimizing errors. The low barrier to entry and the high consequence make it extremely essential to choose wisely the data entry service provider to outsource data entry. But given that data entry doesn’t require specialized skills, does it make sense to outsource? Indeed.
Why it makes sense to outsource data entry
While businesses may be loath to outsource data entry given the criticality of the task, this is counter-intuitive—and counterproductive even. The resources and time required for the task and training of workers are substantial. And even if one has these covered, the pitfalls are far from covered.
Outsourcing data entry to specialized service providers with the requisite expertise, experience, and equipment is more practical and economical. Here are a few reasons why it is sensible.
- Improved accuracy: Data entry is easy in more ways than one. It is easy to make mistakes and to overlook them, and it can easily gobble up a large amount of time. Specialized companies have experience and robust quality control with necessary validation tools to ensure accuracy and consistency.
- Focus on core business: There is only so much one can focus on at a time. Outsourcing data entry frees up time and resources which can be diverted to core areas of business. But this doesn’t mean giving up watch, only entrusting those more equipped for the task.
- Faster turnaround time: A data entry outsourcing company has the expertise, employees, and infrastructure to handle large data volumes quickly and efficiently.
- Cost-effective: Outsourcing allows businesses to tap into a global talent pool at competitive rates. There are few overhead costs involved and it is easily scalable based on seasonal fluctuations in business needs.
Things to consider before outsourcing data entry
In most cases, it may be more sensible to outsource data entry. But that sensibility can be completely invalidated if the responsibility is entrusted to inapt hands and things are not delivered as desired. And given the plenitude of hands there are, choosing well which to reach out to is important.
The following considerations are necessary and handy.
Data security and privacy
The allure of ease, efficiency, and effectiveness of cost can be offset by the risk to data integrity. While the risk is real, its realization can be staved off. And the potential risk should not be a roadblock to the actual benefits that outsourcing data entry provides. But companies need to be heedful of certain factors.
Choose a data entry outsourcing company with robust security measures, access controls, and mechanisms in place to identify and address potential security risks. Ensure that it is compliant with industry regulations such as GDPR and HIPPA. This indicates its adherence to legal policies and ethical practices.
It is important to sign a non-disclosure agreement to maintain confidentiality. Also, set clear data transfer and ownership protocols and implement strict access controls. Establish from the outset, for example, who owns the data, how they’re stored, and who has authorized access.
Assurance of security must be coupled with quality. Before outsourcing data entry, ensure, if possible, that the standards and accuracy levels are acceptable. Previous work samples can be used to assess their performance. Consider also a trial period to evaluate the capability of the data entry service provider to meet quality standards.
Establish quality control measures to maintain accuracy. Outline clearly the data accuracy requirements and acceptable error rates. And once the project has been entrusted, implement quality control measures. This can be done by randomly and periodically sampling completed tasks, auditing, and validating to check for accuracy and completeness. Based on the assessment, provide ongoing feedback and ensure that issues are addressed promptly.
Reputation and reliability
Handing over data to another company is no mean business. It requires enormous trust from one and utmost accountability from the other. Identifying which is trustworthy and thus dependable may not be easy but there are signs one can look for.
Start with reputation. Appraise the data entry service provider’s history, reviews, and testimonials. Assess their knowledge and know-how in specific domains. And request client references, or reach out to them, and don’t rely solely on testimonials. Then ask about their experiences, especially about their reliability and adherence to deadlines.
Communication and project management
Outsourcing the task of data entry is not a one-time transaction. It entails numerous back-and-forth communications, which greatly affect how the collaboration panes out. It is thus absolutely crucial that the data entry service provider has effective communication systems with proficiency in verbal as well as written communication.
Before commissioning a project, establish clear communication protocols. Implement tools that facilitate real-time collaboration, task tracking, and reporting. Set project milestones with mutually agreed timelines, deliverables, and success metrics. And ensure that there is a dedicated project manager to serve as a point of contact and to ensure efficient problem-solving.
Cost and pricing
Cost-effectiveness is a big reason businesses outsource data entry. The pursuit of cost-saving at all costs must be avoided. It is essential to strike a balance between cost savings and the quality of services provided.
Assess the pricing model—per-entry, hourly, or project-based. Understand how costs are calculated and if there are hidden charges like training, data transfer, or quality control. Request a detailed breakdown of different aspects of the entry process to understand how costs are allocated.
Outsourcing data entry, though it offers numerous advantages, also involves plenty of stakes. It thus necessitates careful consideration of the plethora of data entry service providers to entrust the task to. A right match can accentuate the benefits while reducing the risks.