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The Pitfalls of Outsourcing Data Entry to India 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.

Management Overhead

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.

Quality Control

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 captured data.

Legal Costs

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.

Context and Culture

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.

Business Flexibility

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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