26 April 2010

The Recession is Over

The Recession is Over: "

I got a sales email today entitled “Leadership in a Recession..Guide to getting the most out of your employees”. I think they’re a little late with that message. While the last 2 years have been lackluster, Q1 was really good for Anderson Analytics. So far in April I really feel that the attitudes of clients I speak with have completely changed for the better.

They are once again interested in new techniques like text analytics and of course social media, whereas just four months ago it was very much “we’re only doing what is absolutely necessary”. Clients once again are interested in doing next gen market research in order to get an Information Advantage over their competition. Wonderful!

Are others experiencing this too?


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21 April 2010

Challenge the Best - I´m IN

"Hello Eduardo, 

we congratulate you on being selected as one of the
forty student-participants for “Challenge the Best” at the University
of St.Gallen!"...



19 April 2010

ESOMAR Offshoring Transparency Debate

ESOMAR Offshoring Transparency Debate: "

The current issue of ESOMAR Research World is largely about one of the biggest trends in market research to occur during the past 10 years. No it’s not about Social Media, DIY, or any other cool new methodology like text mining. It’s about much larger yet much quieter trend, offshoring.

As part of April issue the FTO (Foundation for Transparency in Offshoring) was allowed to submit a 800 word by-lined article about the organization and it’s mission. Two responses/rebuttals to the article are also published in the issue, including one from Diane Bowers of CASRO. ESOMAR members can click the image below to log in and read the entire issue.

For others who are interested I’ve posted the FTO article and two responses below. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this important issue, so feel free to comment after reading. We have been promised an official stance in regard to the FTO from ESOMAR, and I will post it here on the blog as soon as we receive it.


Transparency in research offshoring

Is it time to discuss our industry’s unspoken policy on offshoring and associated risks?

By Tom H. C. Anderson

Offshoring is most commonly defined as the relocation of key business processes - predominantly by companies headquartered in North America and western Europe - to countries located primarily in Asia, South America and eastern Europe, in order to exploit substantially lower labour costs.

By this definition, conducting a global study using local fieldwork personnel would NOT be considered offshoring, because the primary motivation for enlisting local fieldwork services is not to save money, but to meet exacting study design requirements.

This definition also does not equate ‘offshoring’ with ‘outsourcing’, because offshore operations can be either ‘captive’ (wholly-owned), independent third-party or joint-venture enterprises.

The market research industry - like many other industries - has become increasingly dependent on cost efficiencies from offshoring. This is particularly true of large, multi-national research companies who now offshore many critical research services, from data collection to advanced analytics. A frequently quoted study by ValueNotes suggests as many as two-thirds of research companies now offshore; though factoring in non-Honomichl 50 firms, this is probably an overestimate.

The problem

Of course, there is nothing outwardly wrong with saving money by hiring qualified candidates in ‘non-Western’ countries who will work for lower wages. Certainly, a major attraction in offshoring hotspots is that they offer an abundance of candidates with graduate and post-graduate degrees.

But while there may be cost benefits, there are also significant risks that are rarely discussed. Many offshoring destinations do not have comprehensive legal and regulatory safeguards in place. For clients whose research suppliers deal with intellectual property and/or customer survey or database information and offshore - depending upon which processes are offshored and the country where the offshoring occurs - the risk that sensitive data may be misappropriated, misused, leaked or stolen is very real.

Market research buyers have at best a vague sense, if any, that their projects are being offshored, and very few have sufficient information to assess the relative strengths and risks associated with offshoring. They simply defer to their suppliers, who in many cases have a highly vested, potentially conflicting interest in protecting and advancing offshoring practices.

A recent multi-country survey, conducted among 850 research buyers and providers by the Foundation for Transparency in Offshoring (FTO), a non-profit research industry advocacy group, exposed a significant transparency gap. Clients were far more likely than suppliers who offshore, to see problems with offshoring various market research processes, especially with regard to innovation-related projects such as concept and ad testing.


Sonia Baldia, who is an FTO Advisory Board member and a legal expert on offshoring, explains: “Clients absolutely need to know about any offshore subcontracting and the location in order to gauge risks and protect themselves. Many offshoring destinations do not have well-developed intellectual property laws and data protection laws. On top of that, their court systems can be a significant trap for the unwary because of the difficulties in enforcing contracts. Liability depends largely on how the service delivery model is structured, and in many cases, the local jurisdiction’s laws might be weak, confusing, unenforceable in practice, or even nonexistent.”

Some of the most popular offshoring destinations provide no statutory or other legal protection for trade secrets, including intellectual property and proprietary customer data. As such, parties must rely primarily on contracts that can be exceedingly difficult to enforce. In fact, the World Bank often ranks these destinations exceptionally low on contract enforcement.

Some of these locations also log notoriously high employee attrition rates, leaving clients extremely vulnerable to potential confidentiality breeches. According to Ms. Baldia, evidence suggests that a majority of instances of data misconduct stem from employees or ex-employees of an offshore service provider.

Citing recent cases reported in international media involving theft of trade secrets from offshoring, Ms. Baldia observed that local authorities “did not recognise ‘misappropriation’ of trade secrets and the client did not have any contractual arrangements with the ex-employee whereby it could directly enforce its rights.”

Some European researchers have mistakenly suggested that EU data protection directives (written before the breakthrough of web-based surveying) and ISO standards insulate them from similar concerns. But while the EU directive is intended to protect its citizens’ data privacy, it does not account for all potential security or confidentiality breeches.

FTO has introduced a self-certification process modelled after the EU Safe Harbor Compliance Framework. Details at http://www.offshoringtransparency.org.

[Tom Anderson is managing partner of Anderson Analytics, LLC and founder of the FTO. Sonia Baldia is a partner at Mayer Brown LLP and co-chair of the firm's India Practice.]

The risks and opportunities

By Sunil Mirani

First of all, even sending work to Canada is ‘offshoring’; so long as it goes outside the home country, it is offshoring. Second, while it certainly started with cost saving as the primary motive, it is much beyond that. Companies are now offshoring as much for access to skills (that they don’t get in their home country), and other advantages (such as faster cycle time, flexibility of resourcing), as they are for cost. Therefore, it is more accurate to portray this as globalisation of the human resource supply chain, rather than merely exploiting substantially lower labour cost. In the process, if companies benefit from a cost point of view, so be it.

Tom refers to risks such as protecting sensitive data, but in fact, the data is completely masked and cannot be linked to an individual. However, the main point is - this risk is as high (or low) as any other supplier; whether they are offshore or onshore is irrelevant. The more important issue is the measures taken towards data security, and I would argue that many of the large, established offshore players (for whom this is their main business), have far more robust security systems than many local smaller agencies onshore (just compare the number of Indian BPO players with ISO 27001/BS 2711 certification with that of onshore providers).

I can’t comment on the regulations in China; however, India has made great strides in the last few years to protect its leading position among outsourcing nations. The Information Technology Amendment Act makes it the responsibility of the outsourcing company to maintain reasonable security practices and procedures, and makes any such disclosure of sensitive data punishable by law, by recognising both criminal and civil liability. Further, India’s leading IT-BPO industry body, NASSCOM, has vigorously promoted self regulation through establishing the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) to promote best practices in data security and privacy. There is ample protection for both market research and outsourcing companies against data pilferage/theft.

[Sunil Mirani is founder and CEO of Ugam Solutions Pvt. Ltd.]

Transparency is already required

By Kevin Menk and Diane Bowers

Business process outsourcing is commonly and appropriately exercised across all industries in global commerce - the survey research industry is no exception. Based on knowledge of our members and our representation of survey research businesses, CASRO does not support the assumption that research companies have forfeited due diligence in selecting and managing subcontracted service providers, whether these suppliers are located offshore or ‘down the street.’

The quality and reputation of a survey research firm - indeed, of the research industry itself - depends on the integrity of research and business practices, including prudent supplier selection and supervision. Codes of standards and business practices, like CASRO’s Code and the ICC/ESOMAR International Code, require transparency. Transparency is also a requirement for the nearly 300 companies around the world (thus far) that are certified to the ISO research quality standards. These codes and standards call for particular care to ensure that adequate security measures are observed, guarding the data protection rights of individuals when personal data are transferred from one country to another. And, yes, these legal issues may be more complex and require more due diligence when subcontracting internationally (our members have shared their subcontractor experiences and solutions in educational forums).

Providing information and guidance to companies about managing their subcontractor relationships through legal contracts, auditing, and quality controls, continues to be important work for our associations and industry. But the presumption that Asia, South America, and eastern Europe are out-of-bounds for offshoring, is inconsistent with the global research community’s hard work in developing harmonious ethical and quality standards for our growing, and increasingly multi-national, research industry.

[Kevin Menk of Strategic Resource Partners is board chair of CASRO and Diane Bowers is president of CASRO and a member of ESOMAR's Professional Standards Committee.]

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17 April 2010

What happens if the ash stays over Europe for a year?

What happens if the ash stays over Europe for a year?: "

One of the standard parts of futurism is to conduct mind experiments to explore scenarios. At the moment there are no air flights over most of Northern Europe, because of volcanic ash. The ash is being caused by a eruptions in Iceland, at the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano.

According to the news services it seems the most likely event is that it will clear up over the next few days and things will get back to normal, but with a massive, further, hit to the profits of airlines.

But what if it does not clear up? The last time this volcano erupted was 1821, and that time it lasted for a year.

So, perhaps we should consider 3 scenarios:

It clears up in a few days and does not return. This would simply make it like a bad weather incident, or a strike. It would have few long term implications.

It clears up, but returns for a few days at a time for a year or two. This would start to chip away at Europe’s standing in the world. Businesses, conferences, organisations would probably change the balance of how much they were focusing on Europe, in favour of other locations. Tourism could be hit very hard, both in-bound and out-bound.

The problem lasts a year (or more). This could result in the business, academic, and social isolation of Europe. Companies would ‘temporarily’ move headquarters to other locations, conferences would be held elsewhere, tourism would shift from planes to trains, with major consequences. It is likely that there would be rush to develop technology, looking for remote meetings, distance teaching, and for modifications to planes to make them able to fly through the cloud. This scenario would be very bad for Europe; it would be a major acceleration in its slide into irrelevance.


12 April 2010

You still have one month to apply for SABF

You still have one month to apply for SABF: "

Along the following post, we provide you with essential and useful information for all of those who want to take part of an amazing experience. We have introduced links for each of the subtopics you may be interested in.

We really hope this is useful for you and we are available for further doubts and inquires.

The South American Business Forum (SABF) is an event that takes place annually in Buenos Aires for 3 days in the month of August. Each year the forum receives 100 outstanding university students from around the world, together with 40 leaders of business, political and academic areas.

The event will explore topics of global relevance and particularly applicable to the reality of South America. We expect that, through dialogue and the interaction between the current leaders and the future leaders, a contribution to the development of the region can be made.

Who we are


Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires (ITBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina.


August 6th, 7th and 8th, 2010.

Main topic

Boosting our Actions in the New Decade


Workshops and trainings. Networking with the best talents and executives from the main companies. The opportunity to experience a unique and enriching cultural exchange with students from all around the world. Development of international links. Posibility of letting others know what you think, inmersed in a respectful, interesting and rich atmosphere.

Application form

Deadline: May 9th, 2010.

In order to finish your application process, you must complete every step at the online application form, and upload your essay about the main topic (Boosting Our Actions for the New Decade). You will be able to modify your form until the closure of the application period. (This last point includes the essay). The essay has to be betwen 1200 and 1600 words long and may be sent as .odt, .doc, .pdf or .rtf.

Winning essays from past editions: http://www.sabf.org.ar/forum/essays-from-past-editions

Results Information

Every contestant will be informed in the first days of June 2010 about the decision of the Jury.


The SABF 2010 postulant must belong to one of these categories:

• University students in their first course of studies, born from January 1st, 1980 and afterwards.

• Students who graduated from their 1st course of studies in 2009 or 2010, born from January 1st, 1980 and afterwards.


Others Links:

List of delegates along the world

Frequently asked questions

Media diffusion material


Special issue in European Planning Studies Spatial planning and place branding: rethinking relations and synergies

Introduction:  Kristof Van Assche, Raoul Beunen and Eduardo Oliveira  Rethinking planning-branding relations: an introduction . https:...