- When it involves a lot of non-standardized research projects If your research firm is in the business of ad-hoc customized market research, every survey will be more or less different, which makes outsourcing them risky. Communication with local programmers is difficult enough, won’t it be impossible with a non-native English speaker living half-way around the world in another time-zone? These scripts are best handeled in house by researchers who have first hand knowledge of the research objectives.
- When the questionnaire is the core-source of success for your research project If it is critical to the success of your project, outsourcing is probably not the best solution. A lot of back-and-forth between the scripter and researcher will take place and again time zone differences impede the relationship when frequent discussion is needed to communicate requirements and last-minute changes.
- When experience is required (know-how) If a manual can replace the briefing to the programming or DP department than send the job abroad. If expertise is needed from the scripter, if scripting is another quality check in the process of getting the best suited online survey programmed, think twice before you decide to do it abroad. How can they perform a task the way I want it done without asking a lot of questions…the questions will drive me nuts? I remember hard it was to convince an Indian programmer that chocolate sprinklers in Holland are used for sandwich filling (nice: with lot's of butter!) and it really did not belong to the Cake / Pastry category!
An additional concer has always been retention of employees at the vendor. And now it's a widespread one: Staff churn is absolutely increasing. At first it looked as if it was just the programmers which college kids. These kids get a few months of experience and move on to greener pastures in their country. But we're seeing it across all staff levels now. It's a big issue.
Once a MR firm starts to outsource, it will take months (if not a couple of years) to realize that outsourcing may not be the best approach for efficient and seamless scripting. By the time the company realized this, the people who had the knowledge of doing it in-home would already have been laid off. And it will cost double the effort to obtain this business critical knowledge back in the company.