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How to Outsource Research Projects

Companies are increasingly gathering research to make better and more data-driven decisions.

I’ve gathered some learnings from the projects they have done, so that hopefully you can best make use of their skills – or use in your own research project.

What is research, exactly?

(I’m not talking about the type performed at Universities. )

A client recently told me:

"A good researcher answers the question that was asked."

I think that summarizes what research fundamentally is: finding answers. In practice, it usually means to find new knowledge about something very specific.

The subset of research projects that is most easily outsourced, are the answers that can be found online – web research. When companies like investment banks, lawyers and consultancies send us research projects, they are often looking for data either to make or support a decision or advice. Others use research for the areas of their business that could benefit from additional information

Examples include:

  • Gather and analyze numbers, statements, facts on websites, reports, databases
  • Searching for and finding detailed personal and contact information across different websites
  • News, market, company, or industry research
  • Good researchers are experiences investigators

When I have asked our clients why they outsource research projects, answers include: not having the necessary expertise, shortage of manpower, cost saving and not having personal capacity to staff and manage research teams.

We’ve found that one of the best characteristics of researchers is intelligence and experience. Research is a skill in itself. To have experience in identifying sources, and then gathering, sorting and presenting data in a way that is useful, is a transferrable skill. Secondly, having someone with expertise in the specific field that is being researched is also helpful.

How to ask for what you want...

Since a good researcher answers the question that was asked. It follows that to succeed in outsourcing research, you must ask for what you want.

1. State your objectives clearly

“We need the price models of all TV-streaming services in the world to evaluate whether there is a need for a subscription product”

You want to make sure that the team performing the research project for you really understands the research objective, and perhaps also the significance of these aims for your business – what you need it for.

A well executed research projects requires on-the-ground decision making and intelligence on the part of the researcher. The best way to empower people to make those decisions in accordance with your aims, is that they know.

If for example the data is part of a legal due diligence,

2. Share your knowledge and opinion on methods if you have them

“I think a web search in local language, country by country would work”

Any knowledge you have about possible sources or methods that can be used to obtain the information will likely be time saving for the team and het you your research faster.

It is very different for gathering contact information from official, sourced sources and using web tools to gather them. Similarly it is different to gather secondary data from journal articles and web articles or published industry reports.

3. Show examples of your ideal format and presentation of results

“Send back in an excel showing name, URL, country, pricing model, pricing level. Add a presentation showing the distributions”

One of the most effective ways to avoid any misunderstandings in what you are looking for, and what kind of result you are expecting, is to give an example.

A common way to present is for example be a structured excel-document with specific columns marking the information you need on each observation, perhaps coupled with some simple visualizations of the headline data or findings.

4. Consider asking for a review after an initial phase

“Let’s have a call if you meet any complications in gathering this when you get started”

Often in research projects it is unclear to everyone beforehand how hard it will be to get the data. Usually shortly after the project has been initiated, the research team will know much more about which kinds of data are hard or most time-consuming to identify.

This might also be a good time to reconsider the research objective, and get a new cost estimate or timeline if necessary.

Use data to improve your bottom line. 

We experience a growing demand for research help from our customers. I think this is one of the ways companies are utilizing the growing access to data in order to get usable insights for specific business areas to increase their bottom line. 

As our tools are getting better and information can be accessed ever easier, the value of the human element, finding needles in the haystack, become larger. 

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There are many professional courses in this period, and one of the most talked and mostly opted courses in management studies. This course had originated in the early 20th century after the effects of industrialization. Came into light soon after companies and the industries tried to set up their management in a scientific manner. It helps an individual to learn and practice the ways to manage, lead, command, in a variety of business sectors and internal business portfolios.

A postgraduate programme in enterprise management also known as PGPEM is done with a specialization in a particular field. There are various specializations like Human Resources, Finance, Marketing, Information Technology, etc. This has to be chosen while keeping in mind where and in which field one has the ambition to work in the future. There is no bar of streams chosen in graduation for in case of joining a management study, anyone with a recognized degree can appear for an entrance exam and move forward with a PGPEM.

One has to qualify the entrance exam conducted by various universities for taking admission in PGPEM. There are various exams that are conducted on the National level for admissions in National Universities (IIMs) and various B-Schools. There are competitive exams namely CAT, MAT, CMAT, etc. for IIMs and GMAT which is internationally accepted. Your rank in the exam also plays an important role in choosing the right PGPEM school and specialization.

Specialization is the most important factor while choosing a college for management studies. This factor should always be kept in mind. The college you are willing to join should offer the specialization you are willing to opt for. Like, if a person who is more inclined towards marketing should go into it without any doubt, but it also requires some skills and polish from the professors and trainers. The specialization itself is the main part and the foundation of one’s career. As being given earlier, there are mainly four specializations and there may be more industry-specific specializations in many Institutes and B-Schools like Pharma, Entrepreneurship, Fashion, Digital Marketing, etc. which are more into light these days.

The campus is another important thing that must be taken into consideration while choosing colleges in Andheri or in any other city like Mumbai. Every other college now claims to provide you the best infrastructure and lecture rooms. But one should ensure how good the college is actually is because the campus plays an important role in your psychological and personal development. The campus must have good and comfortable rooms for lectures, soothing sound systems, well-configured computer systems, good internet facility. For people who are planning to go to some other place for studies should also enquire about hostel, food, stores and other basic needs. There should also be good exposure, regular conduct of events, seminars and industry visits, etc.

Student-to-Teacher ratio is one of the basic things which has to be kept in mind while choosing an institution from schooling to post-graduation. Because the concentration of the teacher matters. We always walk on the path which our teachers show us. The role of a teacher/professor doesn’t change even in the higher studies though many may be thinking so. If there is no concentration and attention from the teacher then the student fails to concentrate and cope-up with the subject. If there are few students and a teacher for them then it is easy to interact and know more.

Nothing in this world comes for free and nor is education. Before choosing a college and finalizing it for studies, one should enquire about Fee and allied expenses. Most of the B-Schools charge fees which more than 5-6 Lakhs, which may be unaffordable for some people. And some people may go for education loan and they should plan everything with accord to the fees charged by the institution in which they are planning to study. One should understand the fee structure and loan conditions (if applicable) before proceeding further. The return on investment should also be pondered upon. The fees paid are, in other words, an investment which should be recovered in the near future. The inquiry of the job placements must be done because most of the students of B-schools are ending unemployable or ending up earning 10k-12k per month which is not fair enough.

The clarity in Degree or Diploma certification must be there. There are not many institutions offering PGDEM programs.

The ideal institute should be like the Fazlani academy of business sciences. approved by AICTE & Ministry of HRD (GOI).

It has a good track record of delivering quality education to its students, has expert faculty who can train students to cope-up with the current industry needs. It also has a 100% placement record which is really impressive.

It offers modern computer labs, a spacious library with knowledgeable books on Management studies, various journals, and magazines. It grooms students personally for the future challenges which are to be faced, by improving their soft skills, interaction by various competitions and events. It helps in the improvement of working as a team, doing supervision, enhancing leadership skills and critical thinking. It is India’s only institute which provides placements before admission. Offers four different PGDEM courses such as in marketing, human resource, operations management, and investment banking and securities operations.

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