Everyone thought that technology would kill off manual data entry. Actually, it’s had the opposite effect.
Yes, customers now do a lot of their own data processing online. Yet the sheer volume of data that passes through your organisation is so vast that everyone spends a chunk of their day on data entry. For example, salespeople spend around 15 percent of their day on administrative tasks, when they could be selling.
It’s expensive, but it’s not something you can cut corners on. Data needs careful handling. Erroneous data can cause problems with your reports and affect your relationship with your customers.
Data entry outsourcing is one way to balance the need for efficiency with the need for accuracy. A good data entry outsourcing partner can take over this kind of work, improve efficiency, and maintain quality. An excellent data entry outsourcing partner can help you to improve everything about the way you collect, organise, and analyse your organisation’s data.
5 Steps to Get Started With Data Entry Outsourcing
Like most process changes, data entry outsourcing will only benefit you if you approach it in the right way. Let’s take a look at how to start working with the right partner:
1. Think About What You Can Automate
The first step is to perform a thorough analysis of your business and see where data entry outsourcing might help.
Effectively, any repetitive task involving data is a candidate for data entry outsourcing, such as:
- Application form processing
- Invoice processing
- Database cleansing and validation
- Internet research
- Data conversion
- Quality assurance and auditing for existing data
These are just some examples. Take a look at all of the repetitive tasks performed by your staff and if it’s work that directly generates value. If not, then you should consider outsourcing.
Some of this work can also be automated in the long run, creating even greater efficiencies. A good business processing outsourcing partner will help you implement automated and human-led services as appropriate.
2. Define Your Requirements
What do you want a data entry outsourcing partner to do for you? And how much should you pay them?
These are things to think about before you start looking for an outsourcing partner. Regarding the kind of service you need, focus on questions like:
- Speed: How quickly do you need things done?
- Customer service: Do you need a partner that’s available by phone or IM at all times?
- Accuracy: Do you need additional layers of quality assurance, like double entry?
- Flexibility: Are your needs likely to change on a regular basis?
- Technology: Do you need a tech-oriented outsourcing partner that works with the latest platforms?
- Scaling: If your company grows, can your partner grow with you?
Each business has unique needs. By understanding your own needs, you’ll be in a better position to find a partner that’s perfect for you.
3. Look for a Data Entry Outsourcing Partner
Now that you have a clear idea of what you want, it’s time to go looking for a partner.
Every data entry outsourcing company offers something a little different and not all of them are right for your individual needs. That’s why it’s so important to start by defining what you need and then hit the market to see what services are available.
When you’re shopping around for a partner, keep an eye out for some things like:
- A professional website that’s regularly updated
- Courteous and fast responses to your queries
- Positive testimonials and user reviews
- Whether it’s an established company or new venture
Don’t restrict your search to your city, or even to your country. Remember, there is a global, educated workforce out there. They speak your language, and they are ready to help you.
4. Make a Transition Plan
Switching over from in-house work to outsourcing can be a substantial change management project. Things can go wrong if you or your outsourcing partner don’t adequately manage this transition. You could run into problems like:
- Data loss
- Data corruption
- Security breaches
- Compliance problems
- System disruption for your employees
- Service disruption for your customers
All of this is entirely avoidable if you find a data entry outsourcing partner with plenty of experience. They’ll know the potential pitfalls ahead and will use their expertise to guide you safely past them.
Even with a great partner, you will still have to do some change management on your end. To stay on course, you’ll need to:
- Appoint someone in-house to be responsible for the handover
- Do a full assessment of how the changeover will impact every department, not just yours
- Open clear lines of communication between all project stakeholders
- Talk to your data entry outsourcing partner when you have concerns or need guidance
5. Complete the System and Process Integration
Going live with the new process may involve several steps, such as:
- Rerouting incoming materials towards the outsourcing partner
- Granting secure system access to data processors
- Ensuring that everyone on your side switches to the new process
During this transition, you need to be conscious of security, so that you know that all sensitive data is safe.
Thankfully, cloud technology offers excellent security, sometimes better than your in-house systems. They also make it easy to collaborate remotely, so you don’t have to grant anyone access to your local network.
The integration stage is where it helps to have an excellent data entry outsourcing partner. A good partner will offer solutions that are quick, easy and, above all, secure. If you find yourself investing heavily in up-front work, you may need to reconsider your choice of partner.
6. Trust your outsourcing partner
With the right planning and the partner, you won’t need to do anything else after set-up.
The right partner will manage everything on their side. That means relevant KPIs to monitor performance, support from analysts to monitor quality, and regular communication to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
You can now focus on how to utilise the extra capacity created by outsourcing. What value-adding work can your team focus on, now that they don’t have to waste time on data entry?
Data Entry Outsourcing in the Long Term
It doesn’t end there. Like every other part of the business, you need to regularly check in and make sure it’s all running smoothly. In the long term, you’ll need to do the following:
- Stay in touch with your outsourcing partner
Even if everything is running smoothly, you’ll find it productive to have regular conversations with your outsourcing partner. Set a regular time to discuss things like data quality, data volume and any issues they feel you should be aware of.
- Review your ROI (Return on Investment)
Outsourcing can lower costs. Outsourcing can also increase revenue by freeing up people to do more productive work. For example, when salespeople don’t have to spend time on prospecting, they’re free to make more sales.
So, when you’re calculating ROI with respect to outsourcing, you have to look at those things in combination. How much value is being created by this outsourcing arrangement? Is it greater than the cost of outsourcing? If not, then it may be time to review things.
- Look for other outsourcing opportunities
If outsourcing is generating a significant ROI, then you might want to consider outsourcing or automating other processes. Most firms don’t specialise in data entry outsourcing but offer a range of BPO (business process outsourcing) options. If you have found a great outsourcing partner, talk to them about other ways they can deliver value.
Get the Best From Your Staff with Data Entry Outsourcing
Full-time staff should focus 100 percent of their energy on the important work: innovation, building relationships and delivering services.
In practice, this rarely happens. People get bogged down in tasks that, while essential, don’t create additional value for the business.
Data entry outsourcing is one of the smart ways to take this work out away from your full-time staff. By working with the right partner, you can hand off this work to a professional team who will get it efficiently.
Of course, data entry outsourcing is just one way to bring down costs. Automation can deliver even further efficiencies, especially when there are larger volumes of data to deal with.
In practice, you may use a combination of both approaches – automating where appropriate and using skilled data entry outsourcing workers in others. A great partner can help you implement whichever solution is right for you, and help you to plan even greater efficiencies in the future.
Finding the right partner is the most important step. Talk to Taskeater today and find out what we can do for you.