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To Insource Or Not To Insource?

Posted on  20 July 10  by 


The cover story in the July issue of Research magazine ponders the effect DIY online survey and analytics tools could have on the research industry.  While traditional market research suppliers focus on the limitations of DIY tools and the dangers of unfettered data collection and analysis, tool developers believe that there is an opportunity (especially for corporate Research functions) to cut costs without cutting staff.  As Dan Beltramo, CEO of DIY software supplier Vizu puts it, “I think the bigger issue is that there is too much bad research conducted by professionals who charge top dollar for it. One of the big advantages of DIY research is that less gets lost in translation between the client and the market research agent.”

MREB view: With the right combination of DIY tools and staff experience, many Research functions are taking advantage of the benefits of project insourcing.  The discussion on insourcing market research activities is nothing new; we first addressed the topic in 2003 when we outlined how Walt Disney World Park and Resorts fast-cycled their own insourcing of online research.  Over the last year, we have seen an increased interest is exploring this option again.  A number of our members have shared their own perspective on insourcing research activities on our Primary Research Forum.  Read their perspectives on ideal team make-up and break down of in- versus out-sourcing here

In whitepaper from earlier this year, we identified four main elements that not only guide the insource versus outsource decision but also build a compelling business case based on strategic advantages to the company:

  • Competitive Advantage: What assets, resources, skill sets, and products differentiate the company from its competition?
  • In-House Capabilities: Do we have the skills to do this activity internally? Can we acquire the skills? Do suppliers offer unique skills that we cannot hire or train internally?
  • Cost-Efficient Quality: Is a supplier less expensive than internal staff? Do we use this analysis often enough to pay for a full-time employee? How much would it cost to hire a specialist with this skill?
  • Risk Management: Are there liabilities or reputation risks involved in this activity? How sensitive is this information? What would be the consequences of losing this information?Click here for more information on these criteria and how to assess them

And if you’re looking for resources to help with your insourced projects (or would like to share recommendations of your own), you can find almost 20 recommendations for low-cost DIY survey tools here.

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