Understanding the Importance of User Generated Content

Understanding the Importance of User Generated Content

Understanding the Importance of User Generated Content

Corporations, especially those whose business is selling products or services to consumers, or individuals, have been known to actively seek feedback from users, or customers. This has often been done through mechanisms like customer surveys, in order to understand what their target customers think about their products. In the absence of this feedback, they are reliant upon the vision and understanding of their leadership team and senior functionaries and their knowledge of the market to guide the company to prosperity.

The knowledge generated through such internal mechanisms can be insular and one-sided, and exposes the company to risk. With feedback from external sources, most importantly the target customers, this knowledge becomes much better rounded and comprehensive. In any case, the objective of the organization is to be relevant to its customers, and not its employees and owners. Hence, internal knowledge is no replacement for feedback provided by customers.

This, in a way, is also the importance of user generated content. It goes beyond the ‘party line’ and brings together content on the subject from a variety of external sources, making it comprehensive. In addition, as it comes from sources that have apparently no interest in how it is used, it could be considered to be the most unbiased and hence, reliable.

The growth of user generated content has coincided, and fed off, the growth in internet penetration and social media adoption. Coming into its own in the same generation, with experience of over 8 years, oWorkers specializes in providing data related services to its clients from around the world. Many of these services revolve around user generated content. oWorkers has been repeatedly identified as a top three BPO player in this space, globally.

 

What is User Generated Content?

User Generated Content, also known as UGC, is content created by users.

What does that mean? Isn’t everyone who uses an application a user?

Yes and no.

In the case of content being created on an open platform, say a social media platform like Instagram, all content created is being created by users. The hundreds of millions, maybe billions in case of some platforms, of individuals who have created accounts and are engaged in sharing of ideas and thoughts through the platform.

Membership of these platforms is no longer available only to human beings. Organizations are also active participants, doing all they can to push their respective cases, business or otherwise. Hence, the users that create content on social media platforms are not individuals alone; organizations as users are engaged in creating content on an ongoing basis as well.

Platforms also permit organizations, and individuals too, to create their own corners in which they can create groups and communities for pushing their own agenda forward. Recognising the importance of user generated content in their media mix, companies, in particular, have grabbed this with both hands and actively promote their spaces on these platforms on which users interested in their brand participate. For these company-sponsored spaces, then, the term UGC applies to the content that is being created by their visitors. The distinction often used in such cases is that users do not have any vested interest in the success or failure of the brand whose community they are a part of.  

The discussion on UGC, as you may have noticed, is mostly in the context of social media. Though UGC creation is wider than the social media world, a very large percentage of it happens on the various social media platforms. Companies also seek them out and create their own communities and spaces in order to promote unfettered flow of information and ideas. While many companies encourage user participation on their websites as well, it is a limiting environment as compared to a social media platform. As a result, social media platforms remain the preferred ecosystem which nurture and promote interactions. 

Content today can come from anywhere in the world. We know people in different parts of the world speak in different languages, hence the ability to operate in multiple languages becomes crucial for a supplier who has clients from around the world and who supports services that could be generated in any language from around the world.

oWorkers has located its delivery centers in three distinct geographies around the world. On top of that, it has consciously and consistently followed a practice of employing a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural workforce. As a result, they can offer services in 22 languages to their clients, becoming a partner in their growth, and not a hindrance.

 

The importance of user generated content for platforms

User generated content lies at the core of social media platforms. The purpose of their existence is to permit creation of content by their users and making it easy to share and exchange ideas and thoughts. When content is created and shared and responded to, the usage of the platform multiplies. As a private business, mass adoption of the platform holds the key to its financial success too.

The most popular platform today is Facebook, with over a billion active users on it. It is difficult to say if the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, who created it out of his Harvard dorm, had the vision of success that it has achieved, while he was creating it. His original intention appears to have been to provide a non-invasive channel, as it involved messaging, that could be used by students. Of course, the rapid growth of Facebook, jumping from the student community to people at large, then on to organizations, is part of business history now.

Of course, it filled a need. Of course, it served a purpose. But it required continuous engagement in the form of content creation, which is what each imprint of a user on the platform is, to spread its reach across the world. It requires constant engagement from users to become more and more important in their lives, like a self-fulfilling prophecy; the more you use it the more you will need to use it.

Many other platforms have, since, jumped on to the social media bandwagon and found success, either in a specific niche or target group, or even otherwise, addressing all markets and target groups.

Twitter is a social media platform that positions itself for use by everyone. Its unique positioning is that each post is limited to a certain number of characters, and no more, and only in the form of text.

Instagram promotes itself as a visual medium entirely. It enables users to easily share images and videos.

TikTok enables the creation and sharing of short videos. It has become popular with youngsters as a medium for expressing themselves.

Each platform would have its own unique positioning but the importance of user generated content is the same for all of them.

With access to a perennial hiring source in the form of walk-in candidates, oWorkers can afford to be choosy in its selection and hire the best for its various projects. This is a result of oWorkers being a preferred employer in each of their delivery sites where they have become a contributing member of the local community, where they pay local and social taxes. It is also a result of them working with hired resources, instead of contractors and freelancers, as some of their competitors seem to prefer. Whatever the reason, they consistently get rated 4.6 and above by employees, both past and present, on platforms like Glassdoor.

 

The importance of user generated content for companies

Trust companies to not be left behind. If it is useful for individuals, it will, invariably, be useful for companies too. A big reason for this is that companies need customers. Individuals from a big chunk of customers of many companies. Even if it is a B2B business and sells to other companies, it needs to find ways to impress the individuals who could be the decision-makers in that other company. Hence, individuals are indispensable to the success of most companies.

One of the most basic ways in which companies use social media to their advantage is by creating an environment where ‘users’ of the brand become advocates. As these users do not derive financial gains from the success of the brand, nor lose money if it fails, their views on the brand are seen as unbiased and, therefore, more reliable, compared to the messaging out by the company itself. With an interest in the sales of their products, their opinions on their own products are, hence, seen as biased and less trustworthy, akin to advertising. By enabling people well-disposed towards their products to voice their support creates a fertile environment for non-users of the product to become users too. Social media, in any case, facilitates the sharing of such communication far and wide to create a ripple effect.

But the importance of user generated content for companies goes beyond providing an unbiased opinion.

Content generated by users is free. The company does not have to spend money on employing a large marketing team or hiring vendors to produce copy for them. The users who create content for them are doing it because they like to, for their own reasons, and not because they are being paid to. It is possible that some costs do arise in managing this widespread creation of content, but it has been known to be far lesser than the expenses involved in hiring teams and vendors.

And what is more, this community will keep increasing as the message spreads and there is greater adoption. As the community increases in size, so will the creation of content, in a happy, ever-increasing, circular economy replication.

Perhaps as a result of doing it because they like to, content created by users comes from a good place, and is not forced production of content by a marketing team because they have a deadline to meet or bonuses to earn by producing a certain number. It is genuine. Moreover, coming from a diverse user set, it is likely to offer far more creative and diverse content as compared to what can be created by a small group who keeps doing it again and again.

Getting users to create content does not seem to be a favor, as some companies may have feared initially. Human beings are social animals, and crave community. They want to be a part of something larger than themselves. The community created by a brand gives them the opportunity that. They will probably find many other similarly disposed people there and a social group will form and grow, which becomes a goodwill creator for the brand.

oWorkers has strong partnerships with technology companies, enabling easy access to the latest technologies. This works well for their clients as it is their projects these technologies are used for. Also, 85% of their clients are technology companies. oWorkers, necessarily, has to ensure sharpness in the technology it uses to support clients otherwise they will be caught out.

oWorkers operates from facilities that are secured with ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certifications and GDPR compliance. Physical segregation is also available through access control.

 

It is here to stay

We are in the digital age. You already know that.

Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Though usually attributed to Charles H. Duell, then director of the US Patent Office, many believe he never said such a thing. In any case, we now know it was not accurate. The pace of inventions has been gathering pace each day and each moment.

Digitalisation is no different. If we believe all that could be digitised has already been, we are sure to be caught out soon. Digitalisation is progressing apace. User generated content is bound to grow further with the spread of digitalisation. Even if it does not grow, it now occupies a central place in the media strategy of most companies.

In order to leverage the importance of user generated content to your advantage, you need to partner with a provider like oWorkers who specializes in data-based offerings such as handling UGC related services. Clients from the US and Western Europe note savings of almost 80% when they outsource to oWorkers. Their global centers are equipped to operate 24×7, enabling quick turnarounds. They are led by a team of professionals with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry.

Understanding the Basics of Content Categorization

Understanding the Basics of Content Categorization

Understanding the Basics of Content Categorization

If the person has blonde hair, she must not be very intelligent.

Japanese are workaholics.

If the person is of Indian origin, she should be good with software development.

If he is Brazilian, he must be a good soccer player.

All American Indians wear war bonnets made of feathers, ride horses and frequently let out a war-cry.

Australians are great sportspersons.

What do the above statements convey?

They convey a stereotype. We have arrived at inferences about a person based on his or her nationality or ethnicity or looks or some other group or category the person belongs to. And belonging to a particular category may have been a choice or merely an accident of birth. It is like arriving at a judgment about a person. We have slotted or categorized a person and our future interaction will be conducted in the shadow of this categorization.

We know that we should not ‘judge a book by its cover.’ We are told that it is demeaning to categorize people. While that may be the right thing to do, the process of forming opinions and views, being a subconscious process, goes on unhindered. It is not a process that can be legislated. We may choose not to act on those opinions, but we are unable to do much about the process. If we pass through a certain section of the city, we might clutch our bags more tightly for fear of it being snatched. On the other hand, if we are at a golf club, we might leave our belongings unattended as we do not expect them to be stolen.

These are instincts that enable us to process information. They could be based on personal experiences, or on the sound-bites we receive from our surrounding environment, that could include friends and relatives, it could include portrayals of people in cinema, it could be the news we consume. This process helps us in managing our lives. If we have an armed intruder lunging at us with a big knife, we are not going to ask a polite question, “are you mad at me?” or “do you intend to hurt me?” before taking action. We perhaps have enough anecdotal data to categorize this as a dangerous situation that calls for safety measures to be adopted.

 

What is Content Categorization?

Do the same rules apply with things? Or ideas? Or products? Or business assets?

Think about any item that you are fond of and tend to collect. Let us take the example of books. If you have a large collection of books, how do you store them? Would you pile them up randomly or would you classify them neatly; mystery in one section, biographies in another, cookbooks in a separate section, and so on. While at some points the books may end up in a random pile, the likely intention is normally to classify them in a manner that permits locating a book when the need arises. This is much more easily done if the books are stored according to a categorization system and not randomly.

Let us take a digital example. Many companies have a blog on their websites. Each post on a blog will probably have one or more categories as well as one or more tags assigned to it. This is also a way of categorization. The post will show up each time a reader selects one of the categories that have been assigned to it, as one of the possibly several posts that meet the reader’s interest in that subject.

Even date or chronology is a method of content categorization.

If we go a level higher, at the website level, they also need to be classified even though there is no ‘official’ classification of a website; no space you fill out while creating a website that defines its type. A news website or an entertainment website. A sports website or a medical website. And it cannot be left to the owners as they may have their own vested interest in classifying it as one and not another category. This is a task done by website classification services that ingest the information and decide based on their algorithms. Classification of websites helps in filtering content, blocking out suspicious ones and helping companies decide on placement of ads.

 

Relevance for business

With rapid advances in digital technology, websites and digital and online are gaining in prominence for doing business. In digital space, customers need to navigate themselves around the space. There are no in-store sales people or signs to guide them where they should go. There is no counter at which they place an order and a minute later a counter clerk comes back with the set of products they asked for. In the digital space a customer needs to navigate around the store on her own.

This brings into focus the need to ensure that the virtual store is laid out in a manner where the visiting customer finds it easy to locate what she is looking for, resulting in a sale for the business. Perhaps not just a sale of the product she had in mind when she came over, but also related products that she may not even have had in mind when she contemplated buying the original item. It is almost like we must anticipate the mental processes of customers and how they would go about the task of looking for a product. Knowing it will put us in a better position to create it in a manner that facilitates the task.

We know users will either use search engines or, if they know about your website, might go there directly and look there. In a world of choices, the website where the customer has reached, needs to make it simple for her to find the information and products she may have come for, while having a pleasant experience navigating the site.

Content categorization is the way the process of a customer finding a product is enabled. It is a part of what is known as the content management strategy of an organization.

 

Challenges

Logical and intuitive structuring is what websites strive to do in order to make it easy to locate a product. But it is not as easy as it might sound. There are several decisions that need to be taken. The objective should be to make it easy for visitors while lending itself to changes that may need to be made later.

Is the categorization natural or intuitive? If you sell sandals, would it be better to categorize it under footwear, or clothes and accessories, or sandals? Which one will be easier for a visitor to locate?

Is the level of detail adequate? If you sell sports gear, would it be adequate to classify all items under sports, or should there be a next level like Tennis, Baseball, Basketball, followed by the type of item under each, like Rackets, Balls, Shoes, Apparel, etc.?

Is the sequencing correct? If you sell sports gear, is it better to first separate by item type and then by brand and not the other way round? For a Head tennis racket, the visitor should first be looking for tennis rackets after which she will be interested in identifying a brand.

Can it be modified later? Product ranges may be pulled, expanded or modified. Does the current method support ongoing changes?

 

Outsourcing content categorization

Having come to occupy an important place for companies, it needs to be done professionally.

The rise in volumes of this work has resulted in it emerging as a specialized line of work for many BPOs like oWorkers. While each company will need to decide on its own strategy, whether to outsource or not, it has emerged as a choice for many. With their experience across multiple clients, BPOs are also able to guide their clients on how they should be doing content categorization.

If outsourcing is your preferred choice, here is how you should go about identifying a partner:

Deep knowledge

The partner should have deep knowledge in the space so that the collective knowledge of the client and partner can be a force multiplier in ensuring implementation of the most suitable solution. This should also result in producing work of greater quality and accuracy.

oWorkers specializes in data-based services and has been identified as one of the top three BPO providers in the world. We have executed many projects for clients across the globe, with most of them being continuing and growing ones.

Remote work systems

With mankind’s recent experience with the Covid-19 pandemic, it becomes essential that the partner has systems in place to ensure continuity of work even if physical locations of work are not accessible. In other words, a team that is equipped to seamlessly operate from home when the need arises.

oWorkers was able to keep the businesses of their clients up and running during the most severe lockdown periods.  

Hiring pool

Access to deep hiring pools at reasonable prices is one of the distinguishing factors of successful BPO players. The pool is needed for ensuring adequate resources, including as replacement for the ones leaving.

Being a preferred employer in all its operating geographies, oWorkers is able to attract a perennial stream of walk-in talent looking for jobs. This gives oWorkers a choice for its various projects, like content categorization. It also enables oWorkers to support clients during periodic peaks and troughs by hiring at short notice, to the extent of additional 100 people within 48 hours, a huge saving for any client.

Technology

Being the key enabler that has made global outsourcing possible, technology capability of vendors is a critical capability. It facilitates transaction processing and frees up humans for value added work.

With the deep relationships forged with many technology companies, oWorkers has access to the latest technologies being developed. Our clients benefit from these relationships as the technologies can be used for their work.

Speed of turnaround

Outsourcing often helps in speeding up the turnaround time for transaction completion. It is a business for them, and not a support activity, hence it is done with care and attention.

For several clients that operate in different time zones, oWorkers is able to provide overnight delivery. By the time the client starts work on the following day, yesterday’s work, which would have been completed by oWorkers while they were asleep, would be available in the inbox.

All facilities of oWorkers are equipped to operate 24×7, for clients that have this need. This will also speed up transaction processing.

Data security

Business information holds value and needs to be held securely. A partner with information systems that can ensure the safety of information that is shared by clients for the purpose of transacting, is an essential requirement.

oWorkers is not only GDPR compliant but also ISO (27001 :2013 & 9001:2015) certified. It operates from secure facilities and its remote access tools are designed to keep client information secure.

Business continuity

While the ability to work from home constitutes an important element of the evaluation, there are times when a particular location or geography could be under siege with even telecommunication links not operational. This could happen in times of political and climate related events. At such times it becomes important to be able to operate out of facilities that are geographically distant and not impacted.

With its facilities in three distinct geographical regions of the world. oWorkers has the ability to provide business continuity options to its global clients, depending on need.

Multilingual delivery

While there is convergence happening in technologies and languages, modern technologies are also making it simpler for people to operate in their preferred languages, instead of adopting a common language like English for their needs.

Across its three centers, oWorkers employs a team that is capable of delivering services in 22 languages most commonly spoken across the world. Each time your business expands, you don’t need to go looking for a new vendor to support a new language.

Pricing

Pricing is always an important consideration in any commercial engagement, which an outsourcing arrangement is. However, care should be taken to ensure that focus on pricing does not result in other important factors getting low weightage.

oWorkers operates on a transparent pricing structure, with clients getting a choice between dollars per unit of output and dollars per unit of input resources. Our clients routinely note savings of almost 90% from their pre-outsourcing costs once they outsource to oWorkers. This is generally true for our clients from Western Europe and the US.

 

In Conclusion

With a leadership team that has hands-on experience of over 20 years in the industry, your content categorization projects are in good hands with oWorkers.

Your work enables us to employ people from the less privileged sections of the societies we work in and give them an entry pass into the global digital workspace.

The What, Why and How to do Content Tagging

The What, Why and How to do Content Tagging

The What, Why and How to do Content Tagging

In the physical world that humans have historically lived in, and still do despite the deep inroads digitization has made into our ways of life, we have been used to the concept of tags, or tagging, which have been used to provide information about the object that is not evident or displayed or available.

  • A tag could be a ‘price tag’ attached to objects displayed on the shelves of a shop.
  • A tag could be stickers on artefacts displayed in a museum identifying their source.
  • A tag could be similar colored pins affixed to the shorts of children to identify them as belonging to one specific group.
  • A tag is an identifier or a descriptor and the process of tagging is the process of creating an identification or description by affixing a suitable tag on the object to be identified or described.

 

What is content tagging

The digital world tries to keep things simple and mostly uses terms and phrases in the same way they would be used in normal parlance. Tag, or tagging, is a good example.

Techopedia describes a tag as “a piece of information that describes the data or content that it is assigned to. Tags are non-hierarchical keywords used for Internet bookmarks, digital images, videos, files and so on. A tag doesn’t carry any information or semantics itself.” It could be considered as metadata for the content for which it acts as a tag.

One could look at tags as markers of content on the internet that provide additional information about the content and/ or help us in locating content in the unimaginably large universe of cyberspace. Search engines use tags to identify content and produce accurate results.

Added to a piece of content on the web, a content tag seeks to connect the publication to other pieces of content that are similarly tagged.

Blog tags

Blog posts are based on themes or subjects and tags are created in order that the post gets associated with some form of topic or theme. In some cases, tags associated with posts in the site are displayed in the form of a tag cloud by the Content Management System (CMS) where the post resides, with the tags used more frequently appearing more prominent than other tags. By clicking on one of the tags, a user can call up all the posts to which that tag was assigned. Most blogs permit multiple tags to be associated with a post.

Social Media tags

Social platforms use tags widely. Content can be brought to the attention of other users by tagging them. Tagging creates a link that adds the content to the tagged user’s timeline.

Twitter has made popular the use of a modified version known as the hashtag. A hashtag on Twitter is used to collate information about a topic on the platform. The use of hashtags has since been adopted by many other social media platforms.

Tags could incorporate one or more of the following pieces of information about the content:

  • Titles and subtitles
  • The volume of content
  • Editors and authors
  • Copyright information
  • Key phrases, terms, words
  • Bibliographic information

oWorkers, with its focus on data based BPO services, has developed expertise in tagging content based on guidelines and objectives, over many projects executed for clients over the last eight years. It has been repeatedly identified as one of the top three data services BPO providers in the world. Partnering with oWorkers can give you a head start in your efforts at tagging your content.

 

Why is content tagging beneficial?

Being reasonable, rational creatures, human beings would not be doing it unless they saw some advantages to it. How does tagging help?

At the basic level, in the digital world, tagging is a process through which content is classified into classes or categories, which also links them to other pieces of content that have a similar classification. It gives a layer of structure to the publications and content you manage, allowing you a tool through which you can, firstly, measure or analyse it, and secondly, use those insights to structure it in ways that deliver benefit to the organization or company.

Some benefits of tagging:

  • Better searchability is the first and foremost benefit. Tags can be used by content consumers to reach other publications which have been tagged in a manner similar to what they are currently reading, in an efficient manner.
  • It helps in creating an archive, a historical record of publications, where it is possible to understand what has gone on in the past. This can provide some guidance on future additions to the repository.
  • With the help of this information, you could create a strategy that could choose to fill gaps in your content mix or focus more on tags that are popular. Possessing the knowledge gives you the power to decide.
  • Efficient tagging is used by search engines which consequently drives traffic to these publications. This can help drive advertising revenues for the publisher. It can also drive syndication opportunities as publishers are interested in content that receives more eyeballs.
  • Tags also enable content to free itself from being confined to visibility as a subset of the platform it is posted or hosted on, and get an identity that is independent, or additional. It becomes searchable over multiple channels.
  • An effective system of tagging provides users with relevant information about your content which could be in the form of text or audio or images or video.

While clients’ business benefits from effective tagging through oWorkers, they will also get the benefit of the unique position oWorkers occupies in the communities it works in. Being a preferred employer, it is able to attract a lot of walk-in talent without spending money on advertising for positions. This not only affords us the luxury of choice for client projects, but also provides the flexibility to support sudden ramps in volume, either on account of seasonality or driven by specific actions. We can hire a hundred people in 48 hours, if called upon to. This becomes a significant cost-saving measure for clients as they don’t need to maintain staffing at peak levels.

 

Different types of data

Content is of various types and often divided into Textual, Image, Audio and Video content.

Textual content is relatively simple to understand for search engines and for marketing teams to leverage. It can be further enhanced by adding metadata like tags for the various reasons described earlier.

The other forms of content, however, do not offer a natural ‘handle’ for search engines and marketing teams to leverage. How does one identify or search for an audio or an image or a video file? There are no characters or words to look for. Natural Voice Processing (NLP) technologies have been used to convert the audio, where available, to text, for use as a ‘handle.’ However, speech to text conversion routines are not perfect. If the context is sensitive, it cannot be left to an NLP tool to convert and forget. It has to be humanly supervised. In any case, image files do lend themselves to speech to text conversion.

For such data, the addition of metadata becomes key to their use in any application, whether it is for marketing leverage or for searchability. With the explosion of bandwidth available to users at lower and lower prices, the consumption of videos has gone through the roof. There is a huge opportunity for marketing teams to leverage by ensuring the content tagging of such data is done in a suitable manner.

Our leadership team comes with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the business and understands the nuances of the business. They lead projects from the front and have the knowledge to guide each of them, from inception through to maturity. Regardless of the type of data you wish to tag, oWorkers is equipped to do it for you.

 

Best practice suggestions for content tagging

Look at it from the visitors’ perspective

SEO should be a consideration while deciding on tags. How would a potential visitor or reader or consumer search for the content you have put out? Is it an acronym or the full form? Is it a colloquialism or the official form of the word?

Do not overdo tagging

It is believed that putting excessive tags on content can actually reduce the searchability of content. For a blogpost, a thumb-rule often used is that there should be no more than one tag for every hundred words of content in it.

Be specific

Because that is what people searching for content will be. Search engines allow free format typing that enables users to type in what they have in mind. Hence, keeping the tags closest to the contents is considered useful.

Provide a bank to choose from

Tags serve the important purpose of pandering to the tastes of readers by collecting together content that have the same tags. It will be a disappointment for the reader to find that there is no other, or very little, content that answers to that tag. Hence, it is considered desirable to have a wealth of content answering to each tag used.

oWorkers follows the best practice of employing an Internal Quality (IQ) team. It monitors the performance of the delivery teams, gives them feedback, and calibrates output expectations with clients. It is also responsible for implementing best practices and undertaking process improvement initiatives in tandem with the delivery teams. The IQ team acts as the eyes and ears of senior management on the shopfloor and reports directly to them.

It operates out of three global locations and employs a multicultural team that enables offering services in 22 of the most commonly spoken languages of the world. The centers are equipped to operate 24×7 for clients whose business requires it for quicker turnarounds

 

How is content tagging done?

Manual tagging

Manual tagging is always the starting point when you begin to create and publish content on the web. With tagging being done by a small group of people who are aligned with the content strategy of the company, it is possible to ensure that tagging stays in line with the company philosophy and direction. This is also known as tagging by the publisher.

As in everything else, this is an expensive proposition as it leverages the time of qualified resources who could be doing other things for the company. Besides, as the company starts to ramp up the volume of content, capacity can become a challenge.

Automated tagging

When we are trying to automate everything, why not tagging, especially since it can help us overcome the constraints of capacity that manual tagging might have.

There are many technologies that rely on NLP and semantic extraction engines and emotion analytics to add contextual metadata to your content. The challenge is the same as with most automation of unstructured information; engines and tools do not have the fine sensibilities of the human mind to always make the right choices.

Public tagging

This is another way content tagging can be done. As can perhaps be made out, this can be done by any and everybody and could be considered as the opposite of publisher tagging. Visitors to the website are the ones who choose how to tag the content they are consuming. They are the ones who decide its relevance and context. Some of the social bookmarking sites like Digg.com and 9rules.com could be considered as examples of public tagging.

Thanks to their partnership with leading providers of technology, oWorkers has access to the latest technologies. These technologies can also be used for client projects, enabling clients to benefit from them.

Delivery takes place from super secure facilities with protocols that further enhance the security of your data. It is GDPR compliant, ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified, and able to operate either from office or from home, given the constraints imposed on account of the pandemic.

 

The oWorkers advantage

oWorkers operates in a cost and resource-managed environment that results in low operating costs. This, in turn, results in offering better pricing to clients. Clients have a choice of either dollars per unit of input (usually manhours) or dollars per unit of output-based pricing. Clients from Western Europe and the US report savings in excess of 80% over their pre-outsourcing costs.

Besides, the content tagging work you outsource to us will help us in employing a few more people from the disadvantaged communities we work with and give them their ticket to the global digital workplace.

The importance of website content categorization

The importance of website content categorization

The importance of website content categorization

There are websites that enable you to search for content on the internet. There are websites that businesses have, that generally work as their sales front-end or lead generators. And businesses can be of many different kinds. There are websites that are social media platforms that encourage interaction between people and sharing of content. There are websites that could be created to disseminate information about a specific event, say the Wimbledon tennis tournament in 2021 or a concert of Justin Bieber in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There could be people interested in publishing and sharing their thoughts through weblogs, or blogs and video blogs, or vlogs. There could be websites dedicated to portfolios of creative artists like painters, writers and musicians that seek to promote their work. Then there are websites that provide news and updates on happenings around the world.

In short, a website can be of any type.

Whatever the type of website, oWorkers understands it and knows about it. In its journey of eight years, it has supported a wide set of global clients to handle support functions like categorization and focus on their primary business. Its success can be measured by the growth in relationships over this period. oWorkers is recognized as one of the three best providers of back-office BPO services in the world. And it is not an isolated recognition.

But, what does this have anything to do with categorization?

 

What website content categorization is, and isn’t

In simple terms, it means the categorization of websites based on their content. BBC might be categorized as a news website while Twitter might be placed under social media.

So, who decided that news and social media will be a part of the list of categories?

Nobody. Or, anybody.

Website categorization is a natural activity that exists independently in the world on its own, ready to affix a stamp on every new website that is being created and modified, based on a pre-existing, natural algorithm that is not known to humans. Right?

Nothing like that. A category field does not even exist on the registration form for a new website where you either fill or select the category from a dropdown list.

So, how are categories decided and on what basis are websites categorized?

Website content categorization is an activity created by human beings for a commercial purpose. That of helping people make sense of the millions of websites in existence for various purposes that will be touched upon later in this article.

Hence, it could be done by many people and organizations, each for meeting their own unique objectives and for satisfying the perceived needs of their identified set of target clients. Hence, it perhaps follows that there is no requirement for any two to be similar to each other. Moreover, to answer a question asked earlier in this text, news and social media may not even be a part of the list of categories maintained by a provider. Of course, the web is a living, moving, evolving being. Categories may need to keep evolving too, to keep pace with it.

However, while it remains true that a website categorization service may create its own list of categories, there is a list which is perhaps viewed as some sort of a standard list. This is the list developed by the IAB (alternatively the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Internet Advertising Bureau). As is perhaps evident, it has been created with the primary purpose of enabling advertisers to choose how and where their ads should be visible. It offers approximately 400 categories for users to choose from over multiple levels of categorization.

It must also be remembered that:

  • Website content categorization has nothing to do with website rankings based on visitors or any other parameter
  • Categorization defined by a website for itself or for the content inside them, is not relevant for a categorization service

The talented staff at oWorkers understand what categorization is and also what it isn’t. Being active participants in the communities it hires from, oWorkers is blessed with a year-round traffic of interested jobseekers, giving them a choice for various roles. It also keeps their hiring costs low, as they do not need to advertise for candidates, which eventually gets passed back to clients as better pricing. Many clients, particularly from Western Europe and the US, mention savings of almost 80% after outsourcing work to oWorkers, and getting the benefit of their transparent pricing models.

The walk-in talent pool gives them, and consequently their clients, other benefits too, like flexibility of handling ramps. Most businesses go through ups and downs in volumes, driven by seasonality or based on specific events. The deep talent pool oWorkers has access to, enables them to meet these short-term requirements without breaking a sweat. They can hire almost a hundred additional people within 48 hours. This is a substantial saving for clients who may otherwise have to hire resources for the full year.

 

The need for website content categorization

An activity will be carried out only if it delivers some use for someone. That someone will either undertake the activity or pay someone else who is doing the activity that is useful for him, or his company.

Categorization of website content is no different. It is done because there are certain uses and applications of the categorization, which could also be called benefits.

So, what are the benefits of website content categorization?

Reliable identification

A website or web page can be created by anyone. Each creator has a view about the web property they are creating and it is done with a certain objective in mind. As a result, they might follow a system of assigning categories and tags to the website and its content that takes them closer to their objectives, even if these categories and tags are at odds with the general understanding the world might have of the content offered on their website.

As opposed to a self-classification, a third-party doing the classification is likely to be a more neutral one where the world view takes precedence over the view of the website owner. This information can be valuable for many companies.

Detecting malicious websites

As earlier stated, a website or web page can be created by anyone. Not everyone may have noble intentions, as proven time and again in the course of history. Websites are no different.

Cyberattacks can have a disastrous consequence for organizations big and small. Theft of information and disruption of automated processes could result from malware attacks. In addition, they could also open up the business for consequential damages to third parties, apart from loss of consumer confidence. If you come to know that a certain travel portal you have been using for your bookings has been the target of a cyberattack resulting in the loss of data pertaining to customer logins and their passwords. Apart from losing respect for the portal, you would also run the risk of those IDs and PWs being misused as many people use similar, if not the same, IDs and PWs across many websites.

In such cases, prevention is certainly better than trying to cure it later. The ability to identify such sites will certainly give you a head start.

Staff access

Productivity of employees is closely monitored by many employers. With many of the applications used by employees gradually becoming web based, access to the internet for employees, that may have been a choice many years back, is now a given.

With access to the internet comes the ability to access the billions of websites out there. Apart from being potential malware hazards for the company’s network, it can also be viewed as a waste of productive time. Hence, the company may wish to block access to certain types of websites from being accessed by employees, or give access only on a need-to-access basis instead of making it a default. The marketing team may need access to social media websites but the sales team may not.

Insights made available by web categorization tools can help companies in even determining which ones to block and which ones to permit access to.

Marketing decisions

Categorization operates as an aid to marketing decision-making. With marketing spends moving towards online marketing, it is important to spend wisely and get the maximum mileage out of those spends.

With limitations on online marketers’ access to browsing information of people gradually increasing, website categories are often used as a good surrogate to take decisions regarding contextual marketing and placement of advertisements. It allows for display of ads on websites that target customers are expected to visit and browse, instead of doing it only on the basis of keywords and tags.

It not only helps to create a positive list which the company is comfortable in being associated with, it also helps them avoid association with unsavory websites that could tarnish the brand. 

Parental control

This is a bit like access to staff members. School-going children are extensive users of the internet. With the Covid-19 enforced lockdowns, much of school education has moved online. In order to prevent exposure of children to inappropriate content, parents can use categories to block access to websites for their children.

oWorkers understands the importance of categorization for its clients. In addition to trained human resources, oWorkers is able to access the latest technology tools suitable for this activity, thanks to its enduring partnership with leading providers of technology. Our clients also benefit from our relationships because eventually these technologies are used for client projects.

Our staff being employees, as opposed to freelancers and contractors used by many competitors, have a stake in the success of client projects. On the flip side, they benefit from the constant guidance they receive from oWorkers for performance improvement as well as progress in their careers. It makes for a symbiotic relationship, with both feeding off each other.

 

How is it done?

Manually

Like most other things, it can be done manually. Before anything is automated, it is manual. Once a process or task becomes ongoing, automation solutions are sought that help in increasing processing volumes and efficiency and relieving humans of repetitive tasks.

In manual categorization, a set of users will typically review the content of a website, identify relationships, keywords, concepts, etc. and place it in a category as defined by the rules and requirements of the organization.

However, there is a challenge. According to the Hosting Tribunal, there are over 2 billion websites in existence with under 400 million of these being active.

Handling such volumes, even assuming it were possible, would be extremely time-consuming, expensive and slow.

Automated

With the help of technology and tools built for the purpose, website categorization is generally handled through automation. It could be simple taxonomy-based mix and match engines or more advanced technologies that leverage Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Automated tools may have a schedule of crawling through the web and categorizing websites and maintaining the data on their files that can be accessed by users. They could, generally in addition, and sometimes only, have an online and real-time categorization process through which as soon as a website is called, their engine will ingest that URL, study it, categorize it, and release the information to the caller. Once again, the information generated will be retained for the benefit of other users.

Subscribers to automated website content categorization services will get the benefit of this workflow when a user within their network calls a website.

There are many providers but, as always, the quality varies and the offerings may be different too, including their method of categorization. You will need to ensure that the service will be able to maintain an updated database and be in a position to scan ‘on the fly.’

It is probably ironic, but the best automated tools are the ones that are able to mimic the human mind and human process the closest. The same applies to content categorization tools.

oWorkers being GDPR compliant and ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified keeps your business secure when you partner with them. In addition, they operate from secure facilities in three different parts of the world. In fact, oWorkers has been one of the earliest BPOs to equip staff to work from home, ensuring their clients’ businesses remained unaffected during the peak of the Covid-19 driven lockdowns around the world. Today, oWorkers is fully equipped to work from the office as well as home, depending on the situation on any given day.

 

Common categories

Each company’s strategy for website content categorization might be unique, based on their own understanding of the concept as well as the positioning of their offering and target customer segment.

The following is an indicative list of categories that one is likely to find in most tools:

  • E-commerce
  • Gaming
  • Gambling and betting
  • Sports
  • Job search
  • Drugs
  • News
  • Video streaming
  • Legal
  • Social Media
  • Music
  • Malicious
  • Adult
  • Phishing
  • DDNS Services
  • Search engine
  • Pornographic
  • Remote Proxies
  • Web Mail
  • Chats
  • Instant Messaging

 

With several unicorn marketplaces as longtime clients, oWorkers understand the challenges of this work as well as client concerns. They have centers in three of the most sought-after delivery locations in the world and employ a multi-cultural team which enables them to offer services in 22 languages.

It is led by a management team with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry. Under their guidance, oWorkers has been going from strength to strength.

How to use AI for custom content tagging

How to use AI for custom content tagging

How to use AI for custom content tagging

Most of us perhaps have a general understanding of AI, short for Artificial Intelligence.

Though we have been witness to tremendous changes in our lifestyles thanks to the rapid advances digital technology has made in just one generation, the computing ability of that wonderful organ, the human brain, remains unsurpassed. Not that digital technology does not have advantages over the human brain. It can process much larger volumes than one single brain. It can apply defined rules, without fail, transaction after transaction. It does not tire or bore, of doing the same task over and over again.

And this is mostly with reference to what we call structured data. Software tools are able to understand characters when they are input in a structured format, what we often refer to as software code or software programs. Software can identify these characters and, based on their arrangement, interpret their meaning and take action based on those meanings.

However, when we come to unstructured information, software is not able to match the human brain. The effort has been ongoing now for many years for enabling machines to understand, interpret and act upon unstructured information, and to update themselves based on the additional inputs they keep receiving. This is usually referred to as AI, the ability of a machine to think like the human brain. We are already seeing AI being used in various types of software solutions. If we search for an airline ticket from New York to Chicago, you will perhaps start seeing advertisements for hotels and cab companies in Chicago. Stepping aside the issue of invasiveness of technology for a moment, this is an example of AI, where the software is able to understand that if you are traveling to Chicago, you will perhaps need a hotel to stay and a car to move around in.

There are many applications for AI, many under advanced stages of exploration. AI for custom content tagging is one of them.

Operating from geographies long considered the most suitable for data based BPO, oWorkers offers a host of services to its clients, in over 22 languages, among them content tagging.

 

What is content tagging?

A content management system could be described as a software that is used to produce and read, as well as do a number of other actions on, content on the web. A content tag is a term or identifier or locator added to it so that it becomes grouped with other pieces of content that might have been similarly tagged. It could be seen as a tool for content classification.

For example, a blogger may be publishing a blog based on sport, in which she writes about various sports and different aspects of each. Let us say she writes mostly on tennis, football and baseball. Some of her posts could be on games that have been recently played. Some could be on the careers of major players in the sport. Some might focus on team composition, some on new signings for the season, and so on and so forth.

She can tag her posts in many different ways, based on its contents and based on the profile of her readers. The most obvious one would be to tag it based on the sport it is about; tennis, football or baseball. She could also tag it with the names of the major players that feature in each post, say Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. With this tagging, if a reader is interested in posts about Djokovic, he can simply click on that tag and directly access all posts that have been similarly tagged.

A hierarchy of tags can also be used. For instance, the player’s name as tag may be a second level tag, after the main tag of the sport has been chosen.

A content tag, then, becomes an item that is visible to the audience or readership, and often appears in the form of a hyperlink that can be clicked to access its underlying contents. The primary objective of tags is not good SEO karma. They are used more from the perspective of end users and make filtering and accessing content easier for them.

While much of content tagging has been done manually, AI for custom content tagging is now increasingly being used to make content structured and useful.

Much of the success achieved by oWorkers can be attributed to their deep engagement with the communities they work in, that gives them an edge in hiring resources for various assignments. As a top employer, they receive a constant stream of walk-in applicants, from which they can choose the most suitable. It also keeps hiring costs low, as they neither need to advertise nor travel from one location to another in search of candidates.

The constant supply also gives them the flexibility to ramp up when a client needs it for unplanned or unforeseen volumes that they don’t want to let go of, as it is additional business. oWorkers estimates that they can ramp up by an additional 100 resources within 48 hours. This is a huge cost saving for clients who don’t need to maintain buffer resources to meet such peaks.

 

Benefits of tagging content

Here are some benefits content owning organizations might hope to realize from their efforts, regardless of whether AI for custom content tagging has been used in the exercise or not:

  • It keeps content relevant for a long time to come. While content may have been created based on circumstances and events at a point in time, which will gradually fade, the tags this content gets associated with can be expected to have a much longer life.
  • It creates a sort of common platform for content to be accessible through, regardless of the technology platform it resides on or the authoring tools used.
  • The content gets life as the monetization opportunities get multiplied with tagging, whether through advertising rates increasing, more syndication opportunities, licencing or recommendations.
  • The relevance of each tag, and in an indirect way, the underlying content, can be estimated based on their visibility and usage. This also provides inputs to the organization for future content creation.
  • Metadata can provide the intelligence to base publishing decisions like what and when on. It also becomes easier to repurpose content when the description and organization are predictable and consistent.

oWorkers staff being employees, and not contractors as some competitors choose, there is flexibility in deployment. oWorkers pays local and social taxes for all staff. They regularly receive ratings of 4.65 or more on a scale of 5 on portals like Glassdoor.

 

Where does AI for custom content tagging fit in?

Content published on the web needs metadata to be associated with it so that it gets context and becomes searchable and accessible to machines and software programs, which is what content tagging does. If content tagging adds value, it needs to be done.

Before automation there was, or is, a manual process. The same applies to content tagging. In the examples of the blogger that we had discussed earlier, she perhaps tags her content manually. This is also how many organizations do it when they start out with producing content for consumption of their customers or others. As they find success with their early efforts, the need for larger volumes of content, and consequently greater tagging effort, soon become a reality, especially for consumer businesses that need to reach out to a large number of customers and potential customers.

It may be enough for some organizations to neatly classify their content for internal use, many others will probably wish to extract the mileage they can extract out of it for business benefit. They would like to use the content at their disposal, which is also growing, in an intelligent manner, again making content tagging a requirement.

Depending on the core system where tagging is being done, content tags can be applied either in a rigid manner, in the form of selecting from an available dropdown list, or it can be a more open system where even users are allowed to create tags that then become available for future use and search. A combination of the two may also be possible.

Manual tagging, while it may deliver results that are closest to what the content owner desires, suffers from the usual limitations of manual processes. It limits the scale to which it can be applied; a human can only do so much and no more. Expanding the manual effort entails a cost. And sometimes, humans can think and act in different ways, thanks to the organ known as the human brain, leading to compromises in standardization.

This is where automation and AI for custom content tagging can overcome some of these limitations and support the business in tagging their content. Technology makes it possible to perform content tagging in many different ways, mostly relying on advances like semantic extraction, content analytics and natural language processing (NLP), creating metadata that enables other machines on the world wide web to find that piece of content. More often than not, AI models are relied upon to make the unstructured information understandable to other computers.

While it may enable content owners to efficiently and effectively tag their content to make it accessible, how they do it and what they do with the content in order to meet the business objectives, remains their problem to solve.

Their deep relationships with technology companies gives oWorkers the heft to leverage the latest technologies and use them for delivery which, again, is a benefit to clients. oWorkers is not only GDPR compliant, but also ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified.

 

What does AI for custom content tagging do?

Many publishers are looking at AI with hopes of leveraging the technology for creating content tagging for their vast archives of information, thereby releasing them for use and monetization. Once the engine has been primed with enough training in the form of terms and examples and samples, and the AI now knows what to expect and what to do, it can speed up the process of publishing and make content available faster. It also makes content tagging predictable and less prone to the errors that only humans can make, like missing put on key tags altogether.

While in publishing and archiving documents, time may not be a constraint, but in certain other aspects of publishing, like news, time is of the essence. At such times, expecting humans to create metadata at the speed of breaking news might be unrealistic. In such situations, an AI engine can keep pace with breaking news and continue to tag content as soon as it is published. Of course, the underlying assumption in this is that the AI engine has been well trained through adequate examples and data.

Individuals will often save content in ways that seem most appropriate to them. But everyone thinks differently. What may be intuitive to one may not be to another. Companies that rely on AI for tagging often improve the searchability of their content manifold, as it becomes predictable and standard. AI can work with form data, extract information from unstructured text and help in grouping similar content together.

With its clearly defined focus on data services, oWorkers is a pure player and has been identified as one of the top three BPO providers in the world. It is led by a team that has over 20years of hands-on experience in the industry.

 

oWorkers provides tagging support

Organizations are not alone if they are starting out on their journey. Established vendors like oWorkers, who have been doing content tagging for many years, are available for support for AI for custom content tagging.

They work for several unicorn marketplaces, with clients routinely note savings of almost 80% after outsourcing to them. They also appreciate the pricing choice they get, between dollars per unit of input or dollars per unit of output, based pricing.

The 24/7 operation they run not only ensures quick turnaround on transactions but can also provide business continuity in case of a particular location not being accessible.

Client work enables them to engage underprivileged youngsters from local communities and usher them into the global digital economy. Your work will enable them to do the same for a few more.

How to do content categorization for self-driving cars?

How to do content categorization for self-driving cars?

How to do content categorization for self-driving cars?

Once in a while, a development takes place that alters the trajectory of humankind and has a far-reaching impact on many aspects of our lives.

The automobile, or motor car, is possibly one such invention which, combined with the assembly line production pioneered by Ford, made cars affordable and commonplace.

It got rid of people’s reliance on horse-drawn transportation for traveling any kind of long distance. Distances that could be travelled became longer as the means of transport did not need to be rested or fed. Traveling for work or vacation rose, with a consequent rise in motels and quick-food outlets to house and feed travelers on the move. Suburban living came into being, since it became possible to commute some distance every day for work.

More than anything, it fed the yearning for independence, even rebellion, and acquired a prominent place in popular culture with movies, books and even music paying homage to the idea of the automobile, like a James Dean driving a Mercury coupe in Rebel Without A Cause or Don McLean singing about driving his ‘Chevy to the levee’ in American Pie are unforgettable images and sounds emblazoned on our minds.

Efforts have been ongoing to enhance designs, technology, comfort, speed and many other aspects of cars, but they have all been incremental, small changes, without altering much the position of the automobile in common perception.

We now seem to be on the threshold of a development that could change the trajectory of humankind once again. The development is the introduction of autonomous or self-driving cars. For over a hundred years cars have relied on human intelligence to be driven. The fine senses and perceptions of that magnificent organ, the human brain, has found no match in the technology world.

While the superiority of the human brain remains unchallenged, a form of technology called Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged in the last few years that has shown potential to understand and interpret unstructured information that has, so far, not been possible for computers to do. They have only been able to understand and interpret and act upon structure information that is fed to them in the form of software code. Trials are being conducted by several leading technology companies, and introduction into the real world could happen soon. Content categorization for self-driving cars is one of the many key processes required to make this possible.

Whether it fires popular imagination in the same way as the manually driven automobile, with the attitude and romance associated with it, remains to be seen. But, from the commercial significance perspective, it is bound to be a significant event.

The leadership team of BPO provider oWorkers comes with hands-on experience of over 20 years in the industry. They actively track developments in the field of industry and technology in order to stay ahead of the curve in supporting clients. It is no surprise that oWorkers has figured in the top three global BPO providers list for data services on multiple occasions.

 

Content categorization for self-driving cars. How does it work?

AI models rely upon Machine Learning (ML) through which training is provided to the software that will eventually become an AI engine.

While it has been possible to understand structured textual information for a long time, what we typically refer to as software code, unstructured information has been beyond their ken. Only human beings have been able to understand and interpret unstructured information and act on it.

What is unstructured information?

All information is unstructured information for a machine, except which it has been trained or created to understand. For example:

  • Text – Textual content, when written in the format of software code, can be understood by a computer. Any other arrangement of characters cannot be understood.
  • Audio – A computer currently cannot understand audio the way the human ear can. It needs to be converted to a text string with the help of Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies and then read. Most of the time, however, it will yield unstructured information.
  • Image – An image is a random collection of pixels, possibly in different colors and shades, for a computer, unlike the human brain for which it could be a piece of art.
  • Video – Being a combination of image sequences overlayed with audio, video is bound to be met with the same blank look, if it had one, to convey its inability to understand it.

ML seeks to train the engine by familiarizing it with the type of content it will encounter in real life, creating connections with interpretation or understanding, and take actions based on that understanding. Content categorization for self-driving cars is the process through which different objects are slotted into categories based on which actions can be taken.

The ability to understand unstructured information gives it the equivalence of the human brain, by taking information in from the various sensors that capture information around the vehicle, and put meaning to it. This is then interpreted and actioned for the purpose of navigating and driving the vehicle. The closer it gets to identifying and interpreting every little object, stationary or moving, if moving at what speed and in which direction, information that a human brain can intuitively understand and process, the closer it comes to the human brain.

As the effort continues to enable machines to acquire human-like brains, oWorkers supports client projects with the help of the human brains of its processing team. Being a preferred employer in each of its territories, it has access to the smartest human brains available to the industry. This also rubs off positively on its costs as it does not need to spend much to attract talent. They walk in on their own. This is due, in no small measure, to oWorkers actively participating in the community.

A related advantage, and a huge cost advantage to clients, is their ability to support short-term volume ramps. oWorkers can hire almost a hundred additional resources within 48 hours of a request. This obviates the need for clients to carry additional headcount during the rest of the period, in order to support that peak period which usually last only a few days.

 

How is understanding gained?

In order to gain an understanding, let us look at it in simple terms.

An autonomous car is likely to encounter many different objects when it drives around, like traffic signals, like pedestrians, like other vehicles, like trees and buildings and other stationary objects, and many others. Each of these objects will have their individual dimensions and attributes. Two trees will not be equally tall or wide. Two vehicles could be traveling at different speeds. But that is perhaps the next level of detail. Let us go back to the initial level, of the existence of different objects on the road.

As we have seen, before any action can be initiated, one needs to obtain an understanding of the object in respect to which action has to be taken. The car may need to slow down if it ‘sees’ pedestrians crossing the road. It may need to continue driving if it ‘sees’ a green traffic signal. It may need to manoeuvre its way around a tree if it ‘sees’ one standing in the way.

As part of the learning process, ML will enable the software to recognise an object when it sees one, a tree for instance. In other words, it enables categorization of objects based on which actions can be taken. This can be viewed as content categorization for self-driving cars.

As the ‘eye’ of the autonomous car will see everything around it as an image or as a sequence of images, ML will feed the software with images that the car is likely to encounter and connect them with the objects based on which it will be required to take actions. For instance, a certain collection of pixels arranged in a certain manner might be a tree whereas another collection of pixels in another manner could be a traffic signal. Then again, there could be many different pixel combinations that could represent a tree and the same is the case with a traffic signal. By feeding more and more information to the software, ML keeps making the knowledge base of the engine richer and richer till it is in a position to identify objects based on the arrangement of pixels that its ‘eye’ encounters.

The enduring partnerships that oWorkers has been able to forge with leading technology providers around the world ensures that they can access the latest tools for their (client) requirements. Once again, clients are a direct beneficiary as the technology is deployed for the delivery of their projects. Technology that in the ordinary course they would not have access to.

Being GDPR compliant and ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified is the starting point for oWorkers. Their facilities are secure and they were one of the first BPOs to create infrastructure enabling staff to work from home in a secure environment, given the constraints placed by the Covid-19 epidemic.

 

Why content categorization for self-driving cars is important

Incorrect classification of objects is a challenge frequently faced by AI models. And it could just be on account of a few pixels being classified incorrectly.

A small inaccuracy can lead to a big consequence since we are dealing with the real world here. Mistaking a pedestrian who can move for a tree that is stationary, or mistaking a moving vehicle with a business name printed on it for a stationary shop front, can have disastrous consequences. If a large proportion of objects identified as cars are black, the software could associate the color black with being a car.

ML algorithms can self-learn. In other words, they have the capacity to evolve based on the inputs they receive. It becomes possible to feed a significant amount of varied inputs to the system in order that the AI engine can develop a holistic ‘view.’ Being a machine, it also has the ability to overcome human limitations, such as identifying pixel-level differences, or interpreting rules faithfully or doing the same or similar tasks over and over again in a predictable manner.

Accurate content categorization for self-driving cars becomes possible with greater and varied training inputs. It is a slow process nevertheless. Time is also needed after the training phase to validate that the right output is being produced and applied. Of course, it is far from perfect, and far from the innate intelligence of the human brain. That sixth sense of a child running out suddenly from behind the stationary vehicle, of the eye contact and tacit agreement as to who will go first, cannot be replicated. Yet. However, with the latest developments, real-life usage might become possible soon.

 

Do more with oWorkers

If more affirmation is required, oWorkers has a transparent pricing policy. They generally offer a choice between output-based and input-based cost to its clients, many of whom report savings of over 80% after outsourcing work to oWorkers. Their ability to run a tight ship reflects on the competitive pricing they offer. They work with employees, not freelancers or contractors, as some competitors seem to choose. While this brings greater responsibility for staff development, it results in greater engagement of workers as well as provides flexibility to the company. They pay social taxes for their staff and are generally rated in excess of 4.65 on a 5-point scale by employees on Glassdoor.

With centers in three distinct geographical locations and a policy of multicultural, multi-ethnic employment, oWorkers offers many of its services in 22 languages, and is open to expanding the list, with suitable prior information. Its centers are equipped to operate on a 24×7 basis to meet client requirements and, together, create a redundancy pool through which clients can avail business continuity benefits.

Several unicorn marketplaces and technology companies rely on oWorkers to keep their business running. We hope that for content categorization for self-driving cars, you will, too.

Guide on selecting a partner for SAS Content Categorization

Guide on selecting a partner for SAS Content Categorization

Guide on selecting a partner for SAS Content Categorization

 

SAS and The SAS Institute

SAS is a statistical software that has the ability to mine data from a variety of sources and perform statistical analysis on it. Over time, its capability has kept expanding with the addition of advanced analytics techniques to its capability set, and a point-and-click interface for non-technical users.

The company that owns the software is called The SAS Institute and is a private company which traces its origins to 1966, when vast amounts of agricultural data were being collected through USDA grants – but no computerized statistics program existed to analyze the findings.

According to the company’s website, “A consortium of eight universities came together under a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to solve that problem. The resulting program, the Statistical Analysis System, gave SAS both the basis for its name and its corporate beginnings.

North Carolina State University, located in Raleigh, NC, became the leader in the consortium because it had access to a more powerful mainframe computer. NCSU faculty members Jim Goodnight and Jim Barr emerged as project leaders. When NIH discontinued funding in 1972, the consortium agreed to fund the project, allowing NCSU to continue supporting their statistical analysis needs.

Over the next few years, SAS software was licensed by pharmaceuticals, insurance companies and banks, as well as the academic community. Jane Helwig, a Statistics Department employee at NCSU, joined the project as documentation writer, and John Sall, a graduate student and programmer, rounded out the core team. More than 300 people attended the first SAS users conference in 1976. With a growing customer base that already numbered close to 100 academic, government and corporate entities, it was evident that success as an independent operation was possible.

Goodnight, Barr, Helwig and Sall left NCSU and formed SAS Institute Inc., a private company devoted to the maintenance and further development of SAS. The company was incorporated in March 1976, and opened for business July 1. The primary focus, then and now, continues to be on meeting customer needs”.

SAS continues to be a trusted provider for organizations seeking to leverage their data. The software gives clients the power to discover insights from their data and make knowledgeable decisions based on it.

 

What is SAS content categorization?

It gives you the power to turn unstructured information into business analytics and data that can be applied to solve business challenges, with the aid of categorization and extraction rules that can be specified. Taxonomy development can be jump-started with the addition of taxonomies that are industry-specific, making it simple to define and refine rules. What is more, it is able to identify and extract context-sensitive data.

The challenge with the growing volume of data is that most of it is unstructured. Customer feedback, blogs, articles, comments, social media interactions, etc. are all examples of unstructured information that is available but cannot be readily harnessed.

Filtering this data is one of the challenges many organizations face. SAS provides tools that can help us extract relevant information that can aid business decisions.

Let us take a short example.

Your business has a number of different databases that are generated and built as a result of many different activities. There could be multiple client databases, multiple vendor databases and so on and so forth. So much so that the information that the business has in its possession is likely to be beyond the remit of most conventional methods of analysis.

Using advanced text analysis, SAS content categorization is able to identify relevant pieces of information that are likely to provide inputs into the problem the business is trying to solve, linking them to existing data. This often results in the manifestation of critical pieces of information that get hidden in mundane piles of textual content. In this manner, interlinked information can be extracted that is sensitive to the context of the exercise.

This can often result in simplifying information and making it available to company-wide users in a transparent, clear manner.

 

Should you outsource SAS content categorization?

While there are many technologies and tools available to the modern world, they need to be deployed in an intelligent manner. If not done effectively, your organization could be on the wrong end of the GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) principle. If not done right, even after getting an output you may be no wiser than when you did not have it.

For effective usage, technologies need to be understood, with users being trained and getting hands-on practice. All of it takes time.

There could also be expert users available for your projects. All you need to do is outsource your requirements, including the underlying data, of course with suitable contractual safeguards. How does that sound?

What would be the advantages of taking the decision to outsource?

First and foremost, outsourcing non-core activities leaves the specialist resources in your business to continue to work in jobs that they have knowledge and experience in. They can continue to create value for the business unhindered, instead of being distracted by work that they are neither trained for nor have ever expressed interest in. You may end up with a situation where the core work is being ignored while the non-core work is being done incorrectly and inefficiently.

Engaging a specialist team, on the other hand, that has signed up for the very task and has been trained in it, gives you the benefit of skill as well as motivation.

With specialization and volumes, since a provider has volumes that can be aggregated across multiple clients, comes the ability to invest in technology and process improvement and deliver even greater benefits beyond the aspect of specialization and efficiency. Individual business may neither have the volume nor the inclination, as it is a non-core activity, for these investments.

As a result of specialised workforce, purpose-built technology and processes and control mechanisms honed over an existence of doing similar work, are likely to deliver work of a better quality.

This might be a sign of evolution, but engaging partners for specialized non-core requirements is now an accepted principle of business.

 

Criteria for Selection of Provider

The decision to outsource being taken, given below are suggestions on what you need to look for while evaluating vendors for a possible partnership.

Prior Experience and Excellence

The vendor should be able to demonstrate prior experience with the nature of services you seek to outsource, as well as excellence in delivery. Their willingness to connect you with their existing clients should be seen as a sign of confidence in their ability.

A note of caution – In some cases vendors who don’t have experience in a line of work but are keen to get it on their profile, will be willing to offer substantial other benefits if selected. Hence, while prior experience is important, it must be viewed as one of the many variables in the equation.

The clients of oWorkers are referenceable and willing to testify to our delivery capability. With over eight years of experience over multiple engagements, oWorkers offers unmatched experience, skill, consistency and variety in its services.

Quality and Accuracy

BPO operators have been instrumental in a prominent role for the Quality Analyst (QA) embedded within the delivery structure, though not a part of it. QAs serve to keep an external check on the quality of delivery and prevent poor quality from reaching the client. They have a reporting line to senior management and serve as their eyes and ears on the shopfloor, enabling intervention when required. Shortlisted vendors should be able to demonstrate a robust QA process in place.

oWorkers offers industry leading QC (Quality Control) and QA (Quality Analysis). They follow a strict regimen of sampling a set of primary transactions performed by agents to ensure they are compliant with guidelines and are delivering the quality and accuracy that oWorkers is known for. The sample size is increased or decreased keeping in mind client requirements as well as performance of individual agents and teams. The QA teams also actively coach delivery teams to drive best practices. oWorkers has consistently delivered over 99% accuracy levels as measured by different clients across different scales and measurement systems.

Pricing

This parameter often tends to receive outsized attention among the many variables since it is quantifiable and does not leave room for interpretation, doubt or suspicion. This aspect should be watched out for. The effort should not be to get the lowest bidding vendor but the vendor who provides the greatest value to your business.  

The location of our centers which are amongst the most favored BPO locations in the world, and access to the local community for drawing resources from, makes oWorkers price competitive for clients from around the world. We often enable clients to save upto 80% of their costs when they outsource SAS content categorization to us, especially from the US and Western Europe, without having to compromise on quality or timing.

Speed of work

This is also referred to as turnaround time or TAT. How fast is the vendor able to complete the assigned work? Since BPO work happens continuously around the world, in some cases, the vendor location can give a natural advantage of overnight delivery of work. Is the vendor willing to sign up to SLAs that offer quick turnaround for delivery?

With centers located in three different regions of the world, supported by a continuously operating machinery that runs 24 hours a day 7 days a week, oWorkers provides 24 hour or overnight turnaround on many projects. In fact, a quick turnaround for all work is our preferred model, which enables us to do even more for you.

Multilingual capability

A growing company needs partners who are able to support their growth, and not become entities that need to be worked around. A multilingual operational capability is one such requirement. It caters to a company’s global footprint as well as future expansion plans. You should not need to go hunting for more partners when you are expanding.

With its diverse workforce, multiplied by three global centers, oWorkers provides support in 22 of the most popular global languages. Most of our clients have not found a business language that we cannot support.

Technology readiness

Technology is a great enabler. In a way, it makes business global like never before in history. SAS itself is a technology solution. The BPO business as well rides on a backbone of technology. Technology, then, is a basic hygiene factor now. Of course, it can also be a differentiator.

oWorkers has access to state-of-the-art technologies through its partnerships with technology owners and providers, and offers them for the use of its clients. We are ISO (27001 and 9001) certified. Our staff sign and operate under an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). Where required, we offer physical segregation of projects of different clients.

Hiring capability

The other big enabler is human resources. Work is outsourced to companies who can access resources who are in a position to do the work of a higher quality at a lower price. The ability to hire the right resources, at the right price, and provide them with suitable training to make them ready for the task at hand, is often the difference between a successful and unsuccessful provider. SAS content categorization is no different.

oWorkers is a preferred employer in all communities we work with. This provides us the privilege of a steady stream of walk-in talent looking for a job while reducing our expenses in attracting talent. Our independent training team takes over hired talent and makes them ready for the project they are assigned to.

Scalability

While volumes often are predictable, to a degree, they go through ups and downs periodically. It could be because of a seasonality impact, or based on events like promotional activities. Some spikes are predictable while some are not. Hiring resources for handling peak volumes and keeping them idle the rest of the time is a financial burden most companies would rather not incur.

With its model of working with employed staff, and not contractual or outsourced staff, oWorkers provides flexibility to clients in changing jobs and roles at short notice, as required by a client. With deep involvement in local communities, we remain an employer of choice and can offer the ability to scale up by 100 resources within 48 hours, significant for any region of the world.

Financial stability

Maintaining a healthy bottomline, while engaging in certain kinds of activities, such as SAS content categorization, is the aim of all businesses. If a provider’s financials are stretched, it is likely to lead to operating decisions that are less than suitable, and create challenges in delivery. Hence, choosing a provider with a sound financial situation should be the aim.

Operating as a locally registered company in all three different geographies of the world, oWorkers is intertwined with local lives. It pays local and social taxes on behalf of its staff and complies with all regulatory requirements. With costs carefully managed, the organisation has been a profitable enterprise from the get-go. Operating from the Eurozone, we are necessarily GDPR compliant.

Management commitment

Unless there is commitment from the leadership team to deliver on the contract, challenges can be forecast in a contractual relationship. While there may not be any specific parameters to assess this, the several rounds of interactions that happen between leadership teams of the two entities planning to enter into a B2B relationship, normally provides enough information for both sides to take a view on this aspect.

oWorkers has a hands-on top management team with over 20 years of experience in the business. Despite the development of a competent middle management layer in the company, they stay immersed in delivery, provide direction to the team and often directly interacts with clients

 

Conclusion

As a pure provider of data entry BPO solutions, with multilingual capability, oWorkers has few peers. That is perhaps the reason why several unicorn marketplaces have chosen to work with us. We have been chosen as one of the three leading providers of data-based BPO services in the world, on more than one occasion.

We have been able to create a path for many deserving youngsters from underprivileged communities to enter the global digital economy. Your partnership with us for SAS content categorization will enable us to do the same for a few more.

Content Categorization vs. Contextual Analysis; Meaning, Method and Purpose

Content Categorization vs. Contextual Analysis; Meaning, Method and Purpose

Content Categorization vs. Contextual Analysis; Meaning, Method and Purpose

We will begin with an attempt to understand content, since that is the underlying matter or subject or item on which categorization and contextual analysis will operate, to produce possibly different outcomes, before moving on to a discussion on content categorization vs. contextual analysis.

What do we need to categorize? Content.

What do we need to perform contextual analysis on? Content, in some shape or form.

The word ‘content’ itself has two meanings. One is a feeling of satisfaction or happiness at one’s situation or how the situation is. The other refers to the subject matter or what is contained. It could be the content or contents of a story, it could be the content of a speech made by a prominent personality, it could be the content of an educational program.

Our usage of content is with reference to its second meaning. The content could be of something that is written, or a verbal discussion or speech, or an audio recording, or an image or video. It could be a story or a set of numbers. It could be a poem or an abstract sketch. As long as it has the power to communicate or express something, it could be classified as content or having content.

oWorkers is an award-winning BPO In the data services space, and identified as one of the top three providers in the world. Our leadership team has over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry and leads from the front, regardless of the type of service a client requires.

 

Content categorization vs. contextual analysis: what do they mean?

Let us look at what the terms content categorization and contextual analysis mean.

Content categorization

Since the dawn of the internet age, humankind has been besieged by content. There is content everywhere. Unlike the pre-internet days when content publishing was the preserve of a few, today each one of the seven billion people in the world is a content publisher, apart from being a consumer of course.

The generation of huge volumes of content creates the need for storing it in a manner that it becomes useful to the owner of the content. It should be identifiable, retrievable when required and held securely so that it does not fall into the wrong hands.

While organizations may not have interest in the volumes of content being generated around the world, they are perhaps interested in the content that is being generated by them and for them. This data belongs to them and is their responsibility. In today’s hyper competitive world, content and data can be a competitive advantage that no company would like to forego.

Content categorization makes content useful for the future. Organizations with content to store and secure need to have a strategy for it. The strategy needs to be based on its future application and use. It defines how data is to be stored and how it is to be retrieved. It defines the sensitivity of each piece of content and the audience to whom it should be available. The greater the sensitivity, the smaller the audience. Technology systems operate based on these definitions to define access levels for the different roles and people in the organization.

Content categorization could be defined as the process of collecting, sorting and storing content in a manner that will enable easy retrieval when needed as well as access for retrieval, editing and deleting only to a defined set of personnel, or positions, based on the policy of the company.

With its talented pool of resources who have a deep understanding of content, oWorkers possesses the ability to go beyond the content categorization vs. contextual analysis discussion. Our position as a preferred employer in the communities we work with gives us access to the best talent, who are further polished by our dedicated training team.

Contextual Analysis

The word context is described by the Cambridge dictionary as the situation within which something exists or happens, and that can help explain it.” Its usage could be in reference to a text or piece of literature, or it could be in reference to any other happening in the world. As an example, if we are analysing the performance trend of a certain company and find that after a few years of growth, there is a contraction in its business in the year 2020, when we go deeper in an effort to understand the reasons behind the dip and find that the Covid-19 epidemic is the main reason, it becomes the context that influenced the performance of the company in that period.

The effort we made in uncovering reasons for the unusual performance, since the last few years it had demonstrated a growth trend, can be referred to as contextual analysis.

Some people use contextual analysis to mean an extension of textual analysis. Textual analysis analyses a piece of text and draws out its meaning, in a sort of literal manner, without any reference to the context. When the context is woven into the explanation, it becomes contextual analysis.

While this usage is not incorrect, it does not encompass the entire scope of the term. Any analysis where the meaning is drawn with reference to the context, whether it is a piece of text, a game of football or a war, it becomes contextual analysis.

Contextual analysis provides a more complete picture of the situation the analysis of which is being attempted.

With its access to a rich vein of resources, oWorkers is able to plug the gaps between demand and supply of resources that arise on account of seasonal or short-term spikes. It has the ability to hire an additional 100 people within 48 hours. This is a huge saving for many of our clients who have some variations in their volumes.

 

Content categorization vs. contextual analysis: how they are done

Content categorization

Historically, content categorization has been viewed through the prism of security and confidentiality. Many of us might have witnessed examples in period Hollywood movies where words like ‘Top Secret,’ ‘Confidential,’ ‘Strictly Private & Confidential,’ ‘Classified’ were dramatically stamped on a sealed Manila envelope presumably containing the referred-to documents. They are generally related to the government or the military. That is categorization as it was known in those days. Of course, if none of those stamps found their way onto the envelope, it could be presumed that the content of the documents was for public consumption.

The world has evolved. Though processes have changed. With the rise and rise of free markets around the world, a huge private sector has come into existence. Technology and software have taken over many of the manual tasks of yesteryear. The government and military systems of categorization are no longer adequate.

Today the preference is for multi-dimensional categorization. Not only must we know the level of confidentiality of the content, we must also know other aspects about the content, like:

  • What area does it belong to? Is it HR related, or concerned with Marketing?
  • Is the content relevant to clients, or employees, or other stakeholders like vendors?
  • Who should have access rights to retrieving and updating the content? Should it be the Head of HR or the VP of Marketing?
  • What are the aging guidelines? How long does it need to be stored for? At what stage, if at all, would it need to be refreshed?

It goes with saying that digitization has facilitated this process of storage, multi-dimensional tagging and retrieval. Some organizations determine the level of availability of data and access rights on the basis of the other surrounding categories that are attached with the content.

On account of its model of employing the resources needed for client projects, against the freelancing or contractual model adopted by some competitors, oWorkers is able to create a pool of experienced resources to handle the content categorization vs. contextual analysis discussion with resources adept at handling both sides of the equation, as well as a pool of multi-skilled resources who can step up when needed.

Contextual Analysis

It is difficult to put boundaries around how any content is to be analyzed. Who is to say what is the right way to analyse data? It all depends on the situation and the person doing the analysis, or for whom the analysis is being done.

One school of thought tries to break content down into quantitative and qualitative and then apply tools relevant to each. That is exactly the problem once again. Even if you have broken it down into quantitative and qualitative, there are so many ways of analyzing each, that it does not really bring us much forward.

Contextual analysis the boundaries get blurred even more. But where does contextual analysis begin and where does it end? Views differ. According to one view, all analysis is contextual. Without context there is no relevance to an analysis. It should be considered incomplete if the context is not used while arriving at conclusions based on certain content.

While there is no direct answer for this conundrum, we could perhaps use some of the techniques of contextual analysis used in the study of literature, where it is an established practice, that provides insight beyond the mere words and their arrangement, to get some understanding of how contextual analysis could be performed even in other situations.

In general, there are several questions a contextual analysis seeks to answer about the work in order to gain greater insight. Some of them are:

  • Does the language provide any clue about the period; either in which it was written or the period it I set in?
  • Can we draw on the personal situation of the author to understand the characters and the twists the story takes?
  • What about the target audience? Is it intended for the eyes of a certain segment of the population or a certain type of person? It could even be taken a step further in an effort to understand the segment for whom it is not intended.
  • Where do the morals, goals, objectives of the work draw sustenance from?
  • Can we divine the purpose of the author in writing this text? Is it similar to, or different from, other works of the same author? Either way, does that similarity or difference provide us any insight?
  • Does the text provide insights about the social fabric during the times the author lived in?

As you can probably make out, it is not a list that flows in any particular direction. It meanders. Each question is probably different from the others. And it is by no means a comprehensive list. To summarize, contextual analysis should be done in the manner that is most suitable to the purpose for which it is being done.

oWorkers is GDPR compliant, ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified and operates from super secure facilities in each of its three delivery locations. oWorkers is able to access the latest technology tools suitable for this activity, thanks to the enduring partnership it has forged with leading providers of technology.

 

Content categorization vs. contextual analysis: their purpose

Content categorization

Leveraging the content generated by or for the company, for furthering the objectives of the company, is one of the key goals of content categorization. This leads the organization towards creating a strategy in order that content can be best leveraged by the company when it is needed.

Categorization of content also serves to fulfil regulatory requirements from time to time, especially for closely regulated registered companies. This is true not only in terms of providing relevant information to authorities when asked, but also making changes if regulators mandate that it should be done. If, for example, a new regulation mandates that companies cannot store the phone number of customers, they need to be able to locate where phone numbers are stored and then delete them, as per the mandate. If information has not been categorized, they will not be able to find the numbers. And if they cannot find them, they cannot comply by deleting them.

Through an Internal Quality (IQ) team that serves as their eyes and ears, the leadership team stay abreast of developments on the shop floor and are able to intervene when the requirement arises. The IQ team also leads improvement initiatives and keeps a check on output to ensure the client does not receive sub-par quality. They monitor transactions and provide feedback and inputs to the operating units.

Contextual analysis

All relevant analysis being contextual is reasonably well established. After all, what purpose would an analysis serve if not done within a context?

Contextual analysis serves to highlight its position in the marketplace for a business when done with reference to external benchmarks. It can also serve as a gauge for internal evaluation based on contextual analysis of internal parameters.

Analysis of any type is never done for its own sake. It is always done with a purpose. The purpose usually, especially when being done by a company, is to understand the environment and position themselves for an improvement in performance in the future. It is the only period of time one can influence. The past cannot be influenced by our actions. It is done.

In short, contextual analysis serves as a key input for managerial decision-making. It is also often referred to as an ‘environmental scan.’

However, there could be other reasons for contextual analysis of the past. In the study of history, for example, context plays a key role in divining reasons for why something happened the way it did, especially when we go to a time period for which we have no authentic, recorded information available. It has to be built based on contextual analysis.

With several unicorn marketplaces as long-time clients, oWorkers understand the challenges of this work and is equipped to handle them. With centers in three of the most sought-after delivery locations in the world, oWorkers employs a multicultural team which enables it to offer services in 22 languages.

 

The oWorkers advantage

As one of the first BPOs to create an environment for their staff to work from the safety of home in times of the epidemic, as and when required, oWorkers has also emerged stronger from the global emergency created by the Covid-19 pandemic. With our technology, all staff can operate fully either from home or office, as dictated by the unfolding situation. Content categorization vs. contextual analysis ceases to be irrelevant when we can operate with equal facility on both.

A Guide to Content Classification and Categorization

A Guide to Content Classification and Categorization

A Guide to Content Classification and Categorization

 

While the two may be used interchangeably by many people, there are subtle differences between content classification and categorization which many scholarly articles have made an effort to highlight.

In the context of information systems, Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship of The University of Illinois acknowledges the difference by stating “Examination of the systemic properties and forms of interaction that characterize classification and categorization reveals fundamental syntactic differences between the structure of classification systems and the structure of categorization systems. These distinctions lead to meaningful differences in the contexts within which information can be apprehended and influence the semantic information available to the individual. Structural and semantic differences between classification and categorization are differences that make a difference in the information environment by influencing the functional activities of an information system and by contributing to its constitution as an information environment.”

Another common view is that data classification is the process that results in categorization of data. As an example, a pharmaceutical company that produces drugs may wish to classify its products by the type of condition they address based on which the drugs may be slotted into categories that are based on conditions they address. Alternately, the company wants to classify them based on whether they are prescription drugs or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and put them into these two categories. A binary Yes-No classification is also a valid classification with the Yes and No becoming categories in this case. A category could also have multiple sub-categories.

It would not be out of place to make a mention of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Based on the principles of rights, integrity, accuracy, storage limitations, minimized data, scope and fairness, this set of global guidelines has been rolled out to define how sensitive data should be handled with respect and care. Penalties for violations are steep.

In this article the word ‘classification’ will be used to denote classification leading to categorization.

Whether it is classification, or categorization, oWorkers has been supporting its global clients and providing these services for over eight years. As a BPO focused on back-office services, it has gained recognition and been identified as one of the top three data services providers in the world. On more than one occasion. Clients across the world trust oWorkers.

 

Strategy for content classification and categorization

How does one decide in what manner a content classification exercise should be done?

For that, a more basic question needs to be answered. What is giving rise to the need to classify products, and information related to those products, into categories? Products could also be services or ideas.

Is the content classification and categorization exercise being contemplated so that it is easy to retrieve that piece of data when needed?

Is compliance the main purpose? Data needs to be classified so that it can comply with federal and other legal requirements?

Does it need to be done so that customers find it easy to look for what they want? On ecommerce websites, for example, the revenue could be directly linked to the ease with which customers can locate what they are looking for, and discover maybe even many other similar and/ or related products.

Or is confidentiality of data driving the classification decision? Has the business grown to a point where a larger set of people need to be involved in decision-making? Does it mean that information needs to be shared on a ‘need’ basis and not ‘everything available to all’ as may have been the case earlier?

Whatever the strategy, oWorkers has the talent to deliver the goods. We are not merely users of the resources provided by a community, we are active participants in the community and its development, wherever we have delivery locations. This positions us as favored employers, generating walk-in traffic of candidates seeking employment. This gives us a choice of talent while keeping our hiring costs in check, as we don’t need to advertise to attract talent. Our training teams make the hired candidates job-ready in a short period of time.

A related benefit of access to a continuous talent pool is the ability to provide for short-term ramps in client volumes. These could be seasonal or these could be driven by promotions or other events. Our deep supply pool enables us to meet these short-term requirements, resulting in significant savings for clients who would otherwise need to keep resources idle for the rest of the year.

 

How is classification done?

Very simply, classification of any content can be done in two ways; manual or automated. While discussing more about the two, the perspective will be content in the form of text. At this point, computers and machines are not able to understand any data except for structured text. Other forms of content like audio, video, images and unstructured text can be understood to the extent of an equivalence being created with structured text that they have been built to understand. Software programs are a form of structured text.

Manual classification

This is straightforward. Once a classification strategy has been agreed upon, human beings appointed for the task are made aware of the strategy, and provided training if required. They then review each piece of text that is in scope and go about the task of content classification and categorization.

The manual approach is likely to deliver the best results as the human brain remains an organ that, so far, has not been possible to replicate in machines, with its fine sensitivities and awareness of context.

However, the manual strategy also suffers from all the frailties and limitations of human beings:

  • It is expensive as humans require continuous compensation for sustenance.
  • It has limited capacity. A human can only process at the speed of a human, not a machine.
  • It is prone to human errors that can be varied in nature and difficult to catch as they don’t have a set pattern.
  • One may require an endless search for new resources as humans could get jaded doing a repetitive task or may choose to move to others.

Thus, while manual classification remains an option, it can only be used selectively, depending on the type of project and its sensitivity.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) based classification

Automation through AI is the other possibility. Bear in mind, however, that AI needs to be created, once again by humans. The process of an AI model creation goes through a process called Machine Learning (ML) in which thousands and millions of ‘training’ examples are fed to a computer so that it can begin to recognize and establish patterns and consequences between input and output.

It follows that the AI method develops its model based on past models. It is also called the ‘feature extraction’ method in which relevant features of content, along with their relationship with the ‘output’ are ingested by the computer. This enables the program to build relationships between the input and output. The more the training data the finer is the likelihood of the output. A point is reached where the model is able to predict the outcome based on fresh input data, with an accuracy level acceptable to the creators. The model then goes into business as a content classification and categorization expert, poring over data and placing it in categories.

While it is understood that AI does not yet possess the fine sensibilities of the human brain, there are many advantages it has because of which it is being deployed in many applications. The main advantages are:

  • Machines work at the speed of machines. They can process large quantities of data in almost the blink of an eye. Hence, they can be used for large volumes of data without any significant increase in time or cost.
  • Their speed makes analysis and classification possible in almost a ‘live’ or real-time scenario. Instead of a human reading through a large volume of content and then choosing a classification, a computer can do it almost instantly.
  • Computers do not get jaded. They do not get bored. Their work is consistent. When they make a mistake, they will make the same mistake again and again, and not new ones randomly. This makes the output consistent and predictable.

oWorkers is GDPR compliant, ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified and operates from super secure facilities in each of its three delivery locations. It has been amongst the first to create an environment for its staff to work from home in times of the epidemic, as and when required and can fully operate either from home or office. In addition to trained human resources, oWorkers is able to access the latest technology tools suitable for this activity, thanks to its enduring partnership with leading providers of technology. Whether you are looking for classification or categorization of content, we can do it for you.

 

Content classification and categorization – an ecommerce example

The content in this case is the product, or products, that the platform wishes to place on its shelves for customers to access and, hopefully, buy.

Ecommerce has been a rapidly growing business over the last few years, further fuelled by the global pandemic that limited many people to ‘in-place sheltering’ for long stretches of time and satisfying their various needs through online purchases. For this industry, classification and categorization of its products is a core activity that will determine its success.

What do ecommerce platforms seek?

An easy to reach site

Firstly, it seeks that the customer should be able to reach their platform easily. While this may be the end result of what your product categorization enables you to achieve, we start with this objective as this is where the customer journey begins. Being in a competitive environment, there are many similar platforms eager to attract the same customer.

Most customers will not access your site directly. A large number will do it through search engines, hence good search engine rankings are the goal for every website, like it is for you. A suitable taxonomy that allows you to create and populate the landing pages with the right words and phrases is what helps you with this goal. Google and other search engines will index the site and its products on that basis, enhancing or lowering the opportunity for seekers to find your site.

A pleasant browsing experience for the visiting customer

Once a customer is on your platform, how you can deliver the most pleasant browsing and shopping experience is your main objective. While the look and feel of your website is a contributor, this objective can be better fulfilled if your website is aligned with the objectives of the visitor. As the objective is shopping, perhaps the website’s objective would be best served if the visitor could locate the target products with the greatest ease.

Product classification plays a key role in enabling this objective. Should shoes be bundled with apparel or be a separate category? Should the Male/ Female pathways be segregated at the beginning of the journey or at the end when the customer has reached the product category? These are the type of decisions you will need to take to get this right. Remember, the customer has a choice of many websites. Typically, the first visit will not end in a purchase. The customer will look at different sites and go back to the one that most satisfies her unique combination of requirements that induces her to shell out the money required to make a purchase.

Making subtle suggestions for additional purchases

While the primary objective will always be to fulfil the basic objective of a customer’s visit, of facilitating the purchase of the item she came looking for, like any good business you would also want to make suggestions to her about products that she may not have come looking for, but could nicely complement what she did come looking for. Suggesting socks if she came looking for shoes and suggesting a belt if she came looking for trousers might not be out of place. Once again, product classification is what will help you achieve these objectives.

With several unicorn marketplaces as longtime clients, oWorkers understand the challenges of this work and is equipped to handle them. With centers in three of the most sought-after delivery locations in the world, oWorkers employs a multicultural team which enables it to offer services in 22 languages.

 

Outsourcing content classification and categorization

In a competitive environment, running a business is hard enough. If a business starts taking on the work that is required to be done in support of its main activity, its business is likely to suffer from a lack of attention.

Whether it is hiring, or training, or execution,. or quality control, leave it to an expert. Leave it to oWorkers. Operating with employed staff, as opposed to contractors and freelancers employed by many competitors, we regularly monitor each individual’s performance as part of a larger career management framework and take steps like training programs and job rotation as and when needed.

Our efforts have resulted in many youngsters being able to make a transition from their challenging circumstances to becoming a part of the global digital workforce. Your work will enable us to support a few more people to make the transition.

The Pros and Cons of Offshore Outsourcing

The Pros and Cons of Offshore Outsourcing

The Pros and Cons of Offshore Outsourcing

Outsourcing, in the context of Business Process Outsourcing, can be defined as the performance of certain processes essential to the creation of the intended product or service being done by a unit or company or business other than the owner of the final product or service. A legal firm may outsource transcription of dictated submissions and a startup might outsource its payroll processing.

Starting out as an almost contiguous establishment, meant to reduce pressure on high-cost real estate and resources, advancements in communications and software technologies have made it possible for work to be done from anywhere in the world. This has given rise to the phenomena that is offshore outsourcing which is a term used to describe the geographical proximity of the supplier, or lack of it, from the clients’ geographical position. It is normally used to indicate the vendor’s location in another, distant country.

If the vendor is located in a country that is contiguous or close, the term used is ‘nearshore.’

Some people also use ‘farshore’ to indicate the vendor’s location as being distant, but is not a popular usage. Neither is ‘sameshore’ which indicates presence in the same country. 

Enumerated here is an evaluation of some of the prominent benefits and challenges the strategy offers.

Advantages

Lower cost

Cost being a number, is transparent, clear and quantifiable and does not leave room for interpretation or doubt. This has been, and continues to be, one of the primary reasons for the existence of outsourcing as a business model.

Business has always been sensitive to opportunities of making and saving money. Offshore outsourcing has created one such opportunity. Each geography in the world has its own unique history and pattern of development bringing them to where they are today. The range is wide and the gap enormous between rich and poor. According to a World Bank report for 2019, the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in USD terms was 507 for Afghanistan while it was 55,060 for Australia, almost a hundred times greater. And these are not the most extreme figures in the table.

Just like a natural resource like water will flow from high to low ground, in a free market system, which is what much of the world today follows, work will move from a high cost to a low cost center, across the seven seas. While on the one hand the business that is transitioning work offshore will gain a competitive advantage, it will also result in raising the income levels and work opportunities in the delivery location.

oWorkers operates from some of the most highly rated locations for outsourcing in the world. Our clients report savings of upto 80% when they outsource to us. Our operational efficiencies enable us to save costs which we are able to share with our clients.

Access to a bigger expertise pool

“Clients come for the cost savings but stay for the quality” is how many BPO companies engaged in the business like to believe as the reason for their success. And they may not be wrong.

With the benefit of a high volume of similar transactions across multiple clients, offshore data entry outsourcing companies are able to develop proficiency in some of their areas of work, aided by adding a few industry experts at leadership levels to guide the business. This also enables providers to out their best foot forward as a knowledgeable organisation when they pitch for new business in that vertical.

From the clients’ perspective, the expertise built by a provider will only be beneficial in delivering them greater efficiency and quality. There could be the issue of being dependent on an external party which could be overcome by splitting across vendors it reached that point of risk.

oWorkers operates in its chosen areas of data entry, annotation and content moderation and has delivered successful results to over a hundred clients over eight years of operations. In many cases, on account of the expertise we have built, clients initiate the process directly with us, without first implementing inhouse and then transitioning.

Benefits of scale

By itself scale may not be an advantage form offshore outsourcing but it has the ability to trigger the release of several benefits. As a result of developing expertise in certain areas, providers create a brand value for themselves that results in attracting more similar business. This results in creating a large volume of similar activity or work through aggregation of the work of several clients. What this does is:

Reduces the unit cost of processing – Indirect costs, which do not increase with the volume of transactions, get shared over a larger number of transactions and resources, lowering the unit cost. This enables the vendor to earn profits as well as share some part of the savings with the client.

Enables technology investments – With aggregated volumes, investing in superior technologies often becomes possible and viable. This investment releases further efficiencies in the form of lowering manpower expenses and speeding up processing. Individual clients, with their limited volumes, may not have been able to justify the investment that the vendor is able to make. Working like aggregators, suppliers have even been able to create platform solutions for processes handled manually.

oWorkers partners with technology solution providers to leverage advancements in technology for delivering on client contracts.

Time Zone related benefits

Offshore outsourcing creates an additional variable in the form of time zone difference between the client and supplier.

Some benefits accrue when there is a large difference in the two time zones, both being ranged on roughly the opposite ends of the 24-hour scale, say client being in New York and processing organisation in Manila, roughly 12 hours ahead. What that does is create an overnight processing window. By the time business shuts down in New York it is time for Manila to start working. Work allocated by the client before the end of their business day is processed in Manila when they start their day, and possibly complete it during the day while New York is asleep. By the time they start work the next day, the allocated work would have been turned around, processed, almost like a fairy who waved a magic wand while they were asleep and completed the work.

This happens when there is a significant East-West displacement across the globe.

If the displacement is North-South and not East-West between the client and vendor, it means the two are likely to be in a similar time zone, which could facilitate handling processes that require greater coordination and interaction between the two sides. The key is choosing processes that can benefit from these displacements.

The three centers of oWorkers lie almost at the center of the world. They are located in time zones similar to Western Europe, and are far away from North America, the two main client locations. This allows us flexibility in providing overnight turnaround to US clients as well as being available during working hours for consultations and interactions for Western Europe. In any case, our 24×7 centers ensure that we are able to meet all client requirements.

Access to resources globally

In a competitive world, running a business successfully is hard enough. The need to manage many moving parts makes it all the more challenging. 

Offshoring often takes away some of the pain attached to managing these moving parts, like managing human resources that are required for the work. Getting the right quality at the right price is already difficult. The business also experiences peaks and troughs requiring adjustments in staffing numbers. If the business grows, it does not want to struggle for resources to support its growth. These are some of the human factors that offshoring can assist your business with.

oWorkers operates as a local registered company in all its locations. It is a contributing member of local communities. As a preferred employer, it receives a steady stream of applications that reduces its hiring costs as well as attrition numbers. It also gives oWorkers the flexibility to hire short-term resources to manage peaks, to the tune of almost a 100 resources in 48 hours.

Challenges

Disenchantment of processors

The objective of offshore outsourcing often being to create processing efficiency results in the breaking down of processes to small, repetitive tasks. Over time, this has the potential to create boredom and burnout amongst processors that can allow carelessness to creep in, leading to errors. Not only can this impact the processors, but even other roles that are supposed to monitor errors.

The employing organisation needs to ensure it has systems in place to capture processing errors before they become noticeable by the client.

oWorkers monitors the performance of each individual and provides opportunities for job rotation designed to keep employees fresh and engaged. In addition, fair and transparent employment practices, mandated by our presence in the Eurozone, also create confidence and engagement.

Intellectual Property risk

There are many reasons for some parts of the world being cheaper than others, one of then being a relative lack of governance and enforcement of laws. Such an environment can create a threat for the intellectual property owned by the client that is shared with the vendor engaged for offshore outsourcing, necessary for handling the outsourced processes. It is not unheard of to find that the IP has been violated or there are versions of processes and products available soon after.

In addition to GDPR compliance, oWorkers operates from super secure facilities & protocols for the security of client data and is also ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified. Each staff member signs a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before they are permitted to process client data.

Labor malpractices

While one can debate if there is greater respect for people in what are considered to be ‘developed’ societies or in ones considered to be lower on the same scale, in offshore outsourcing, the issue of labor malpractices has to be viewed through the prism of the client’s regulatory environment as that is what they are answerable to. If the client is from a society where labor malpractices are reasonably clearly articulated as well as enforced

If the supplier operates in an environment where there is greater acceptance of practices such as child labor on account of the prevalent poverty, while the client environment clearly prohibits the same, it could create issues for the client in their markets as well as with regulators, if their use of a vendor indulging in such malpractices becomes established.

Having adopted the model of working with employed resources as opposed to freelancers, oWorkers is committed to the career progression of its staff and offers a fair and transparent work environment drawn from best practices around the world. Our staff are also free to choose to work from home as long as the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic looms.

Cultural differences

It is sometimes said that though the main language might be the same, the dialect and version change every hundred kilometres or so. Two villages in Germany a hundred kilometres apart will be speaking German but have their own unique variant. As will be the case with the Hindi spoken in two villages in Central India a hundred kilometres apart. Culture and customs also change from one place to another.

Offshore outsourcing, where the distance between the two parties could be thousands of kilometers, such differences are likely to get magnified and could result in some amount of misunderstanding and errors creeping in. Sensitivities pertaining to cultural differences could get further magnified if the process involves customer interaction, like Contact Center support and could even result in customer dissatisfaction.

oWorkers, with a center in Europe, which is within three hours of flying time away from any major city in Europe, is culturally aligned to support customer business for Western European clients. In addition, our chosen areas of specialization that focus on data related work, mostly involved interaction with client staffers and not customers.

Hidden costs

While the business case looks promising, there are hidden costs in offshore outsourcing that could tilt the balance. Grid-supplied power supply may be erratic requiring investment in private generating capacity. Travel costs could increase as there will be a likelihood of outsourcer staff needing to travel to the delivery destination to ensure processes are followed and issues resolved. Local events like political unrest and demonstrations could jeopardize business continuity resulting in down time.

oWorkers provides transparent pricing to clients including a choice between rate per unit of output and rate per unit of capacity. Once a price is agreed, all additional costs are borne by oWorkers. We make arrangements to augment resources like power supply in centers where grid supply could be erratic. All costs are factored in when we quote a price so that there are no surprises for clients.

In Conclusion

While there are clear benefits offshore outsourcing delivers to a business, it comes with its own set of limitations which need to be managed. Successfully managing the downsides while taking advantage of the benefits results in creating value for the business.

There are political sensitivities associated with it as well, as it seems to reduce local employment while generating employment in faraway lands, even though many such views have been debunked in the past. In a free market, the flexibility of businesses to operate in a manner they deem suitable, while abiding by rules and regulations of the geographies they operate in, is seen as a fundamental right.