Over the past decade, outsourcing data entry and data capture projects to India has become a popular option for
many UK companies.
However, while the initial cost-savings may appear substantial, an increasing number of businesses are finding
that these are outweighed by the hidden costs of this approach - some of which are discussed below.
The overhead – especially in management time – of outsourcing your data entry project to a foreign country
such as India can be very considerable, and needs to be costed into the project and schedule.
Compared to dealing with a local data entry provider, even simple questions or clarifications may take
time and effort to resolve.
Many outsourcing companies in India are represented by professional websites and experienced sales teams who
speak (and write) English fluently.
However, once the project is won, it is frequently sub-contracted to a network of (low paid) staff whose
command of the language (especially written English) is far less strong.
When dealing with hand-written or specialised information, this can have a serious impact on the quality of the
One of the most frequently overlooked aspects of outsourcing is drawing-up the necessary contracts and
Service Level Agreements (SLA). Both are vital when outsourcing to India, but represent a substantial
investment in time to draft and maintain.
Companies that specialise in data entry outsourcing frequently highlight the fact that they require no
knowledge of your business in order to process survey, invoicing or other business process data - this
is at the root of the savings they can offer.
However, in many cases, an understanding of the culture and context in which the data was captured is
vital to interpreting it intelligently.
Data Security and Confidentiality
A potentially serious disadvantage of outsourcing is the threat to the security and confidentiality of
your company's or clients data.
Bear in mind that a UK company remains subject to UK data protection law no matter where the data entry
work is actually undertaken.
Outsourcing may also result in a loss of flexibility in reacting to the changing needs of your clients and
overall business conditions.
Other disadvantages may include unfavourable contract lengths, a loss of competitive edge, problems in
contract renewal and contractual misunderstandings.
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