The ability to evaluate both research and research experts is always challenging, but research clients cannot afford to bypass this difficult task. One obstacle is due to the basic purpose of research in providing a more complete understanding of a specific topic. This can involve both subjective and objective criteria. Another common difficulty is measuring different research results and then assessing which is better. A third common problem is the inability to calculate the costs that should be allocated to research activities. If research results cannot be quantified, how can we evaluate the research experts?
Evaluation of Investment and Business Research Outsourcing
While many forms of research are frequently subject to the three challenges noted above, certain universal aspects of research are more likely to lend themselves to an objective evaluation. Here are 10 suggested criteria to include when evaluating research experts:
- Ability to provide data involving areas as diverse as scientific research, investment research and business analytics.
- Affordable and cost-effective pricing.
- Timely delivery of research work.
- A guarantee of client confidentiality executed by methods such as security protocols and non-disclosure agreements.
- Compliance with ISO 9000 and 9001 (International Organization for Standardization) standards for quality management.
- Research services available for outsourcing by organizations of all sizes.
- International capabilities.
- Flexibility and customized research for each client.
- Willingness to communicate with clients based upon individualized preferences.
- Zero tolerance for potential conflicts of interest (totally unbiased research).
Customized, Unbiased and Cost-effective Research by Outsourcing Experts
The last three criteria noted above (flexible, individualized and unbiased communication and research) deserve special emphasis when evaluating research experts. They are so important that their absence should be sufficient to eliminate a research organization from further consideration. Without customized and unbiased research and communication, a client has little to gain from dealing with a research provider.
Nevertheless, many so-called research experts produce generic and biased research products that are not created with a specific client in mind. For example, investment banking firms have historically boasted about the quality of their investment research. The underlying purpose of their research is more likely to be in support of facilitating a client company raising money with a security offering than anything else. Is it any wonder that many investment banks do not charge their customers a fee for biased financial research like this? Unfortunately, bank deregulation in many countries has made internal conflicts of interest like this commonplace. Regardless of the research experts who might be present, unbiased research is rarely found in such circumstances.
Research clients understandably want to avoid ethical dilemmas like those just described. One of the most flexible strategies for working with unbiased research experts is to identify a highly-qualified independent research firm that easily satisfies all 10 criteria suggested for evaluation of research experts. Many organizations already successfully rely upon a research outsourcing program to provide timely, flexible, customized and cost-effective research for scientific, investment and business purposes. An appropriate starting point for any company interested in improving their current research relationships is to perform thorough due diligence when evaluating new research organizations. A genuine research expert should be a “10” by meeting and surpassing all recommended guidelines.
– Research Optimus