Using freelancers may not be as cheap as you think

Using freelancers may not be as cheap as you think

Using freelancers may not be as cheap as you think

Freelancing is all the rage in the gig economy. It has been further fueled by the resetting of working norms during the Covid-19 pandemic which made work from home, or WFH, an acceptable part of work. Though the lockdowns and restrictions on movement have substantially eased since, what started as work from home seems to have settled down as a permanent feature, in the form of virtual work.

Employers and workers are getting together in numbers greater than ever before, for the purpose of freelance work. The engagement is usually specific to an assignment, after which they are free to go their respective ways. They come together either through directly contacting each other or through the many platforms that have emerged as facilitators of freelance work, such as Freelancer.com, Fiverr.com, and Upwork.com.

A future workplace report published by Upwork in 2021 found that more than 70% of the companies surveyed by them planned to either stay at extant levels or increase their efforts at hiring freelancers to work for the company.

As an established outsourcing provider, oWorkers tracks developments in the freelancing world. oWorkers provides a credible solution to companies looking for creative, reliable, inexpensive ways of working, and takes on projects in various areas. In its chosen space of data-based BPO services, it is now recognized as one of the top three providers in the world.

 

Benefits

If the trend has caught on, it must be driven by some underlying benefits that accrue to either the freelancers, people and companies who hire them, or both.

For freelancers

By choosing to work as freelancers, people seem to be making a statement of taking their life into their own hands, after decades of messaging in the media about seeming exploitation at the hands of large corporations. Many are rejecting the idea of sacrificing themselves in pursuit of putting together a nest egg based on which they can have fun in old age. They are choosing to have fun today, while still trying to create a nest egg for old age. Through freelancing, they can work at the pace they choose, and provide time for the other important things in their life, which could be hobbies, greater involvement with the lives of their young children, or any other.

For employers

Freelancing sets employers free from the need to find constant work for their employees since they are anyway being paid a salary. Sometimes work is created so that they do not sit idle. Looked at from another angle, with freelancing, they get resources when they have work, and not otherwise, which results in cost savings, as they do not need to pay salaries even when there is no material work to be done. In addition, the freelancers are likely to be experts in their craft as that is the one skill, or set of skills, they have been offering to clients again and again. As opposed to in-house resources, who tend to become generalists, and develop limited skills in their field. Moreover, freelancers also get wider exposure as they solve the problems of different clients and learn to apply their skills better.

The above notwithstanding, a company looking for a processing solution can get a lot more with a partner like oWorkers. For example, it has pursued a policy of working with a multinational and multicultural, employed team. A direct benefit that has emanated from a consistent adherence to the policy is the development of a multilingual team. oWorkers can support client requirements n over 20 languages. No freelancer can do that.

 

What lies beneath – the downside

While these benefits are understood, there are many limitations of freelancing that employers often fail to appreciate, leading to dissatisfaction and ineffectual performance.

While freelancing certainly creates opportunities on both sides, companies would be well advised to take a minute to understand the downsides as well, before they do jump onto the bandwagon.

There are many moving parts in a company

A company operates in a dynamic, competitive environment. It has to manage a multitude of moving parts, all together, to give itself a reasonable chance of success.

Full-time employees are sensitive to changing requirements. They understand that the long-term success of their employer is beneficial for their long-term well-being and display flexibility in accommodating them. This enables the company to operate as a cohesive unit and in a better position to deliver to client requirements.

A freelancer comes with a limited perspective; the successful completion of his/her assigned task. Perhaps justifiably so, as it is quite likely that his/her compensation is based on it. Hence, if the sensitivity to changing circumstances means compromising on the commercials, it is an unlikely accommodation, giving rise to the possibility of dissonance within the organization. Moreover, if freelancers are permitted greater leeway, it could cause friction amongst employed staff members.

Thanks to its leadership team, which has several decades of hands-on experience in the industry, oWorkers has been able to keep the various moving parts of every client’s business moving in tandem.

Access to limited talent pools

Companies thrive on identifying and developing talent, as people are a key resource. They are able to access freelancing talent through many standard channels such as freelancing marketplaces, job boards, and talent consultants. It has been found by many companies that the talent available on job boards and freelancing sites are often similar. Choosing a freelancing option to hire does not give them access to any newer or richer vein of talent for their work. Many people looking for jobs could also be the ones looking for freelancing work.

A partner like oWorkers prides itself on its access to talent. By contracting with them, not only will a company get access to another source of talent, in a new geography, it will not have to make any effort in attracting it too. The position oWorkers occupies, as a preferred employer, in each of the geographies it delivers services from, provides it with an unparalleled pipeline of walk-in talent. This not only saves money, as they do not need to advertise to attract talent but also facilitates the identification of the best resources for their various client projects.

Infrastructure does not change

Freelancers are required to operate within the confines of the infrastructure that a company has created for its work, be it physical space, be it technology, or be it other experts. The extent that these were limiting factors for the company, does not change. A freelancer does not bring any newer infrastructure or technology or resources with him/her. What he does bring is his/her ability, skills and knowledge, and the desire to do a good job.

In fact, on account of freelancers relying on their own private resources such as laptops and network connections, in many cases, they may not even have a setup that could be considered optimum for the task.

With oWorkers, a client gets access to infrastructure that includes not only the physical facilities but often also technologies that will create efficiency in their business processes. Each employee is provided with the tools and technologies that will enable him/her to provide optimum efficiency and quality to the client. oWorkers provides cutting-edge technology owing to the partnerships it has nurtured over many years with leading technology companies.

Task versus responsibility

With freelancers, the responsibility of managing them continues with the employer. The freelancer is almost like another employee, with the contractual terms being different. Whether hours are being clocked, and whether work is being done timely, needs to be managed at the individual freelancer’s level, and there could be many of them operating for the company at the same time. This could create management overhead and cost.

When oWorkers gets into the picture, the task management responsibility shifts to them. The engagement level is contractual, with all the different tasks and responsibilities under it being managed by oWorkers on a day-to-day basis or as required. It provides periodic dashboards to clients to ensure they are aware of the progress of their assigned business processes, without the need to manage them on a task or day-to-day basis.

Frequent transactions

Each freelancer is unique. He/she is perhaps good at the job, but not much more. From the freelancer’s perspective, this is the way it is supposed to be.

For the employer, it means that hiring transactions are frequent, probably many more than the transactions for hiring permanent employees, since permanent employees are expected to stay longer and perform a variety of different roles, as required by the company. The costs add up quickly and could offset the financial gains of working with freelancers.

Though it might rely on freelancers occasionally, oWorkers follows a policy of working with employed staff. This gives permanence to the staff and enables the building of skills that benefit client delivery. oWorkers is also able to cater to sudden, unplanned requirements of resources, again thanks to its position in the local community. It has been able to hire over a hundred additional resources within 48 hours on several occasions.

Uncertain outcome

There is an ever-present risk of being left high and dry by a non-serious or uncommitted freelancer. Though the company would take the hiring decision only after verifying the antecedents and perhaps references, the risk of a sudden abandonment never goes away. The reason could be that the freelancer has got a much more lucrative offer, or personal developments make it impossible to continue with the assignment. There are no backups available. The reason freelancing is lucrative for a company, that is works out cheaper, could work against it here. The eventual financial benefit to a freelancer from an assignment is always limited, unlike in employment, where a lifelong career could be at stake. Hence, it is easier to abandon an assignment as compared to either full-time employees or an outsourcing partner. Who knows, one freelancer might even be handling multiple assignments at the same time. At some point, he/she could choose to just focus on the one they like or is more remunerative and abandon the rest.

oWorkers operates as an extension of the client. It has the people and processes and systems to be in a position to offer 24×7 support. It means that for the contracted processes, it has multiple resources that can execute, else a 24×7 coverage would not be possible. And it has significant business investment and goodwill at stake, which they are unlikely to jeopardize for one assignment or even one client.

 

In conclusion

Outsourcing to a competent partner is equivalent to creating a branch or unit of your business. It could be in close proximity, or thousands of miles away, depending on the need of the business processes as well as the terms available.

While there is a fair number of freelancers who operate in this manner as a choice, there also seems to be a large number who bid for freelancing opportunities while they look for a more permanent role elsewhere. After all, the benefits one might get as an employee, such as retiral contributions, assistance with taxation, insurance, etc. are not available when one is a freelancer, and one needs to handle all the various compliance requirements individually or take assistance from consultants. It is a cost and a demand on time.

Results are mixed. While there are many companies who are happy with their decision to freelance certain roles, there seems to be at least an equal number who are unhappy, for one or more of the reasons above.

Cheaper resources for an assignment might cost the company a whole lot more in the long run. It is better to consider and evaluate the options available. Outsourcing is an option that can deliver many of the same benefits and substantially reduce the risks present in freelancing.

How to prevent credit card fraud

How to prevent credit card fraud

How to prevent credit card fraud

Financial products run the risk of fraud more than any other type of product.

Why is that?

That is because the perpetrator of fraud is looking to get access to some easy money, rather than working for it, as most people do. And a financial product is already almost in the form of money. It is not a stolen car for which you will need to find a buyer, or strip it of its parts and then find a buyer for the parts, to convert into money.

Take credit cards for instance. If a fraudster gets access to a credit card, he/she has access to the amount of money still available in it. He/she can happily start shopping.

oWorkers works tirelessly to process your transactions and protect you and your customers from fraud. All their delivery facilities are geared to operate on a round-the-clock schedule, 365 days a year, to ensure that someone is available whenever there is a transaction taking place, anywhere in the world, to respond in case help is needed.

 

Impact of credit card fraud

From a cardholder’s perspective, fraud may not do much financial harm, as zero-liability protection is a standard cover offered by almost all credit card issuers. That being said, there are terms that limit the protection. The cardholder needs to inform the issuer within a defined period of time. What if he/she fails to notice the usage, even though another common feature these days is transactional information being sent to the user’s mobile phone? But errors can happen in sending/receiving the information. Or, he/she may be too busy at the time to take action and forget thereafter.

Even if the holder does notice it in time and manages to inform the issuer, there are other challenges he/she has to encounter. Firstly, the process of hotlisting the card and applying for another one has to be kicked off. Issuing a fresh card could entail some charges. Then, what about all merchant services for which a standing instruction had been set up on the earlier card? The process of setting them up all over again has to be gone through. In the meantime, and during this period, the holder would also need to ensure that no essential services have been curtailed because payment could not be made in time.

Enough reasons for hoping that fraud never takes place on your credit card.

Despite all the measures instituted by issuers, including education of cardholders, credit card fraud appears to be a huge global industry, and growing. By 2027, credit card fraud is expected to touch a staggering $40 billion.

Processing of back office, data-based transactions is the area of expertise of oWorkers. They have worked with their global clients to mitigate, and in some cases eliminate, loopholes in processes that empowered fraudsters. Today oWorkers is recognized as one of the top three providers globally in their chosen area of work.

 

Preventing credit card fraud

All the players participating in the ecosystem, which include card issuers, cardholders, and merchants (including e-commerce platforms) where credit cards are used, have a role to play in preventing fraud.

What can you do?

Follow best practices of password and login security

Sharing passwords is a strict no-no. In today’s day and age, this should be instinctive for all humans using digital systems. Sharing access to seemingly unrelated applications could end up compromising the security of your credit card. Hence, the simple rule to be followed is that no login and password information is to be shared; for any application; with anyone.

When oWorkers hires staff, they are put through a strict regimen, not only to enable them to understand client systems but also to ensure they understand best practices of working on digital systems. This is the reason many clients are able to trust their employees with their work.

Do not be rushed into using the card

A common ruse followed by many fraudsters is to create an impression of artificial scarcity in the mind of the target, forcing him/her to compromise with some parts of the security drill, and stealing information. Hence, do not be pushed into using your credit card in a hurry. Remember, we are participants in a free market economy. Many businesses are competing for our dollars. It is unlikely that what you want is going to run out. Like they say: Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Do not be the rushing fool.

Having established itself as a pre-eminent employer, oWorkers finds itself in the fortunate position of hosting a steady stream of walk-in candidates looking for jobs with them. This not only saves the cost of advertising but allows them the luxury of time while evaluating them for suitable roles in the company. The results are there for all to see.

Buy from trusted websites

Anyone can create a website today. Registering a domain and creating a website around it is a simple do-it-yourself (DIY) process today. A domain and website hosting can be purchased for just a few dollars. However, a track record, a satisfied customer base, and a real, well-capitalized company cannot be purchased for a few dollars. While globalization gives us access to products from anywhere in the world, it might be safer to deal with platforms run by people and organizations that we are more familiar with and whose antecedents we can easily verify.

oWorkers relies on employed staff, whose antecedent and background verification is done before they are taken on board. In comparison, many competitors work with freelancers and contractual staff who keep changing. As an outsourcer, you need to be able to trust the partner who you are entrusting with performing sensitive work for you.

Similar is not same; use the card consciously

It is important to use your credit card in a conscious state, and not a distracted one. Often fraudsters mimic well-known brands by changing one letter in the name and creating a website and logo around it. If looked at distractedly, it will probably appear to be the well-known company we are dealing with. But look closely, and it is not. This process is known as ‘phishing,’ an allusion to throwing bait to catch fish.

On occasion, we may be dealing in a language different from the one we are familiar with. In such situations, the possibility of error and oversight can rise. It helps to have a partner who can operate in more than 20 global languages, significantly reducing the scope of error due to a lack of familiarity with the language.

Asking for financial information should up your guard

Fraudsters also resort t many different ruses to get cardholders to reveal their credit card information through phone calls, emails, and messaging. Cardholders should know that financial institutions and established platforms never ask for proprietary financial information for any transaction, except if you seeking credit from them. If someone asks for such information should be warning enough that their intentions are not honorable.

Financial information needs to be handled in a sensitive manner. Even when it improves your bottom line as a result of the fine pricing, apart from pricing options, offered by oWorkers, which most clients appreciate.

Physical theft of information

While many of the methods of theft revolve around the digital world, theft of information through physical means is also practiced. Physical theft does not refer to the theft of the card itself, though that is also possible, but is too obvious to not alert the cardholder, but that of the relevant credit card information through physical means. For example, you hand over your card at a shop, and the attendant places the card on a device that makes a copy of the details present on it. The transaction you initiated was legitimate but ended up giving more information to the merchant than necessary. This is also known as ‘skimming.’ One golden rule is that you should never let the card out of your sight. Second, if you see a device or slot on the card reader that seems unusual, pull out of the transaction. Cards with EVM chips and two-factor authentication are overcoming the damage caused by such theft, but why let it happen in the first place?

While providing industry-leading digital security, oWorkers also provides the option of physical segregation of workspaces where clients so desire, for reducing opportunities of physical theft of any type.

Nobody gets prizes for nothing

While strange things can happen, there is really no reason for you to be chosen as the beneficiary of a bequest by a stranger in a foreign country, or having won the sweepstakes in another, without ever having participated. Having got your attention, the scamster will perhaps invite you to complete some details which will, inevitably require revealing sensitive information, either about your bank account or your credit card. If they have chosen you as a beneficiary, they will also find a way of getting you the money.

Unusual, unexpected, and unplanned situations can create unexpected challenges. One challenge that oWorkers is able to meet head-in is that of adequate staffing. With its deep roots in the local communities, it has developed the ability to hire at short notice, delivering almost a hundred additional resources within 2 days.

Go in for more security

Credit cards are adopting greater security measures, such as EVM chips, or two-factor authentication that requires either an additional code to be keyed in or a random number generated to your connected mobile to be used. Other technologies for everyday payments are also being introduced, mostly based on the mobile phone, the ubiquitous device that most people have. With the tokenization technology used, they are safer to use. Moreover, use you choose to limit the amount you keep in the mobile wallet, limiting the damage in the eventuality of theft and misuse. However, you need to ensure that your phone is adequately protected against misuse, with a fingerprint or face-recognition, or password-based access.

One can never be too sure, or too secure. With its super secure facilities & protocols, along with ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015), oWorkers keeps you and your customers safe. Additionally, oWorkers is also GDPR compliant.

Keep them guessing

Most card issuers allow users to set limits for different types of transactions such as PoS usage, withdrawal from ATM, online transactions, etc. Evaluating your usage pattern and setting up limits is a no-brainer really. You should set them up. They can be modified through an interface that is usually quite simple to use. Hence, keep the limits only as much as you need for your day-to-day usage and enhance it in time for any one-off or unusually large transaction.

With the help of a team of quality analysts (QAs), oWorkers ensures that poor quality is identified and rectified before it impacts a client. The QA team also operates as the eyes and ears of senior management on the shop floor, alerting them to brewing issues and enabling them to get involved in time.

 

Conclusion

The good thing is that most of the steps needed to prevent credit card fraud, do not constitute launching rockets into space. They are all fairly logical, simple steps that can be understood by all the constituents.

The unfortunate thing, however, is that credit card frauds continue to happen.

What does that mean?

It means that some of us are failing to follow the recommended steps to prevent fraud.

Businesses need to continue to educate themselves and be responsive to the changing technologies and requirements. Partnering with experts who have been through the learning curve is now an accepted and sensible practice. Companies like oWorkers are able to create value for clients with their own knowledge, skills, experience, and even technological excellence.

The leadership team of oWorkers, with hands-on experience of several decades, are able to guide not only their own teams but also client teams on the best ways of running their business while helping them to shave off significant amounts of cost, which some clients estimate at close to 80%.

How to choose a provider for Resume processing outsourcing

How to choose a provider for Resume processing outsourcing

How to choose a provider for Resume processing outsourcing

A Résumé is understood to be a document that enables a person to present her background and relevant accomplishments in a concise manner. It is often used interchangeably with a Curriculum Vitae, or CV, and bio-data, though there could be subtle differences, like the Résumé being more detailed than a CV or bio-data.

A Résumé is prepared in a specific context. Hence, an individual could have multiple versions. However, the most common usage of a Résumé is as an essential artifact in the process of employment.

For the jobseeker, it serves to help her put her best foot forward and present credentials to the employer in a manner that would aid the process of being hired. For the employer, it serves as the first step in a sequence at the end of which they would choose the person they would like to hire. In most cases, the initial shortlisting is done on the bases of the submitted Résumé. Hence, careful perusal is required so that they neither shortlist undeserving candidates nor eliminate suitable ones.

Thus, the relevance of this document in the context of employment cannot be overstated. The increasing relevance of this document is driving demand for resume processing outsourcing.

oWorkers is one of the few operators who have a 100% focus on data and content-oriented assignments and ensure that they excel in their chosen field.

 

What does it contain?

A Résumé is a personalized document. Each individual preparing it can choose to create it in a manner that is believed to present her case in a favorable light.

That being said, there are certain baseline expectations of what it should cover. It is expected that it would provide details of prior work experience. It is expected that the educational background of the individual would be covered. With these two sections as anchors, the Résumé could cover some or all of the following:

  • Achievements (this could also be covered within the section on work experience)
  • Interests
  • Personal particulars such as family details and locational preferences
  • Contact information

Of course, it should be understood that the information provided should hold some relevance to the context. Scuba diving as an interest might have little meaning when applying for a role in accounts payable for a chemical manufacturer.

CV processing outsourcing services offered by oWorkers can work with a wide variety of CVs and ensure that they become suitable for the use of its clients. oWorkers supports work in over 20 languages. This substantially expands their ability to handle global operations. Clients can be confident that as they expand their footprint, they have a vendor who will be able to support it and will be an enabler for growth.

 

The challenge with shortlisting through a Résumé

With formal employment rising, the need to hire resources has been going up. Modern technologies have reduced information asymmetry. Online job posts and advertisements are visible to huge audiences.

As a result, the number of applications for jobs has been increasing.

While it might sound like a good thing for an employer to know so many people are interested in working for them, on the processing side, it becomes a nightmare. If they have 500 applications for a role, they need to go through all to do justice to the applicants and ensure they are finding the best fit.

This takes time and costs resources in the form of time and money.

In their quest for seeking efficiency in all processes, many companies are resorting to technological solutions to aid the shortlisting process. Tools that can do Résumé parsing, or analyzing the submitted documents and extracting the relevant information from them, are gaining in popularity.

This is where the challenge usually comes in. The Résumés are in such diverse formats that summarizing them through a tool yields only limited accuracy. Some people create a chronological Résumé, some create functional ones. Some go chronologically forward and some backward. Some use employer names in the headers while others use dates and job titles. The variety is endless.

Even for a parsing tool to produce useful results, often pre-processing is required. BPO providers are stepping up, as they have often done in the past, and offering resume processing outsourcing and CV processing outsourcing services to enable organizations to hire in an efficient manner.

With its ability to add resources at short notice, oWorkers makes it easy for challenges thrown up by client processes to be handled. oWorkers can hire an additional hundred resources within 48 hours.

 

What does CV processing outsourcing do?

An outsourced partner can add value to the hiring process of a company by ensuring that details contained in a Resume is presented in a manner that decision-makers have the best chance of identifying the most suitable candidates.

It often involves the categorization and classification of information in a standard format preferred by the employer, which makes it easier to scan through them as they now know what to expect in what place. It could involve highlighting keywords and phrases that are relevant. It could even mean some amount of editing, though that is generally a no-go area as editing could end up changing the meaning of what the applicant has presented.

Resume processing outsourcing could also involve a restructuring of the information in order that it becomes suitable to be processed by the client’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or a parsing tool being used by them, for better results. This may be a lighter touch processing.

oWorkers has worked hard to create relationships with technology companies, which helps them access the latest technologies for use in projects. These relationships provide additional options to them for creating solutions.

 

How to select a partner for Resume processing outsourcing

If yours is a company drowning under the deluge of CVs for every role you post, while on the one hand, you may pat yourself on the back for being a company that so many want to work for, you also need to ensure that the received applications are not wasted and that you are able to select the best out of them.

If you have determined that Resume processing outsourcing is the way to go, the only thing that remains to be done is selecting a partner to do it for you.

Of course, it is easier said than done. You need to ensure that you are selecting the most suitable vendor for the task at hand and that you are using the right criteria for evaluating interested parties.

What could some of these evaluation criteria be?

Ability to deliver high quality consistently

Capability in the required segment will always need to be the first, and foremost evaluation criterion.

It is advisable to pick a vendor with experience in the field of work. This way, the learning curve is shorter and your company may also get the benefit of improvement they have been able to bring about in the process as a result of work done for other clients.

This does not mean that bidders without prior experience should be directly disqualified. If that were to happen, nobody will be able to do anything. After all, there is always a first time. Some of the bidders may be keen on building expertise in this area of work and hence might be willing to be flexible in other terms and conditions. Sincere parties without the specific experience but who can demonstrate a credible and consistent record of excellence in delivery can also be considered, though it might mean greater monitoring, at least initially.

oWorkers is less than ten years old in the industry. In this short period, it has managed to reach the pinnacle of success and is now recognized as one of the top three providers in its chosen space of data-based BPO services, including Resume processing outsourcing. It is a result of the consistently high quality to scores of satisfied clients around the world.

Ability to hire suitable resources at the right price point

Human resources remain the key to the success of a BPO enterprise. They form the core of the business. It must be remembered that what could be automated has been automated. Extracting efficiency and price advantages from the rest of the processes is where BPO providers add value. These are activities that perforce must be done manually.

Many BPOs look for talent availability as one of the main factors based on which they make decisions to locate delivery centers.

Being known as preferred employers in each of their delivery locations is something oWorkers is proud of. It demonstrates their commitment to and involvement with local communities while ensuring their clients have access to rich veins of talent for their Resume processing outsourcing needs. While some of their competitors prefer to rely on contractors and freelancers for delivery, oWorkers has consistently followed a policy of working primarily with employed staff. With many of them rising to supervisory levels, there is a sharpness in the delivery of oWorkers that competitors struggle to match.

Ability to deploy the best technology in a secure manner

If human resources are the revenue driver for BPOs, technology is the key enabler and the backbone. In fact, in some ways, the industry owes its rapid growth and reach to the developments in communications and technology over the last few decades.

As often happens, each step forward is beset with new challenges that emerge. The reliance on networks to transfer huge volumes of data and take data out of the secure office to vendor sites for processing has created issues of security. The reliance on the cloud for storage and processing has opened up further cans of worms for companies whose data is being processed.

oWorkers operates out of secure facilities and networks that are ISO certified (27001:2013 & 9001:2015). Physical segregation of areas in which a client’s work is being done is also possible through access control measures. On accounts of operating from the Eurozone, GDPR compliance is a requirement for oWorkers, not a choice. Its employees sign non-disclosure agreements and operate under supervision. 

Ability to provide quick turnaround for transactions

In the classical operations or delivery optimization, speed of delivery is ranged along with quality and cost as the three corners of the ‘Iron Triangle.’ Every organization attempts to maximize all three, eventually settling at an optimal combination.

The faster something is done, the more of it can be done. Business wants more. Business wants fast. The speed of processing is a key determinant of processing ability.

That work can be handled in any part of the globe provides an automatic advantage in terms of turnaround time. When the client switches off for the day, the provider may just be starting its day. Thus, by the time the client starts the next day, tasks remaining at night would have been completed, as if by magic.

Adding to this magical ability is the oWorkers commitment to operate on a 24×7 basis, in each of their centers, throughout the year. With an operation running 24×7, 365 days a year, they can let clients choose the speed at which they want to operate.

Ability to provide industry-leading pricing

Whether we like it or not, pricing remains an essential ingredient in any commercial engagement. Revenue is what commercial organizations live for.

At times, pricing is accorded undue importance by both parties, simply because it is transparent and measurable, while other factors used for the evaluation may not be. This is the reason it has been introduced at the lower end of this list so that it is not assumed to be the most important parameter.

Instead of choosing the best or lowest price, an effort must be made to evaluate pricing in the context of the other factors relevant to CV processing outsourcing, mainly the quality of work. In fact, a price that is ‘too low’ should also be a cause for concern. What you don’t want is a partner willing to offer steep cuts for getting the business, but thereafter cutting corners on delivery and generally being a nuisance.

The oWorkers model of giving a choice between output-based and input-based pricing is the envy of other BPOs as clients seem to love it. In any case, oWorkers offers industry-leading pricing, as it runs a tight ship. Even its hiring processes are streamlined and efficient as, in most cases, they get walk-in applicants to fill the open positions, reducing expenditure on advertisements and job posts. The savings find their way back to clients through the pricing model.

Overall management and financial health

The senior management defines the direction of the company and its focus areas. When a future contract is being negotiated, the involvement of the senior team can be a good reflection of their interest in the engagement.

Besides, financial health can be used as a barometer of the company’s ability to deliver on its promises. A financially strapped enterprise is likely to look for cutting corners in order to save pennies. This can be disastrous for the business they are serving. Financial limitations can also prevent the BPO company from investing in technology and process improvement when required. It is important for a potential partner to demonstrate financial soundness.

oWorkers has been a profitable enterprise since its inception. It is led by a team that has several decades of hands-on industry experience. They operate as locally registered entities and pay social and local taxes for their employees.

 

In conclusion

With oWorkers, that is not all you get.

You get the ability to create business contingency with the help of the multiple geographies from which oWorkers delivers.

You get your own representatives in the form of a team of Quality Analysts (QAs) who keep a check on the operational activities and bring in the leadership team as and when required. You don’t even need to pay for this team.

Many clients note savings reaching 80% when they compare outsourcing costs with their pre-outsourcing situation.

How text analytics can be the wind in the sails of healthcare providers

How text analytics can be the wind in the sails of healthcare providers

How text analytics can be the wind in the sails of healthcare providers

From time immemorial man has striven to develop tools and technologies that could save labor and multiply effort. Like the wheel in ancient times. The steam engine in recent times. And computers and digital applications in the modern world. That is a trait that has distinguished humans from all other animals and continues to.

We have witnessed a remarkable graph of expansion of computational ability in just a few decades, and there are no signs of it slowing down. If anything, the pace is only accelerating.

oWorkers provides 24×7 support to its clients, much like the computers and digital technologies we are all now accustomed to.

 

Computers and structured information

A computer, at the end of the day, is a device that is built and trained by humans to act and respond to understand stimuli (inputs) and respond to them in defined ways. This is often referred to as programming, or software programming.

A computer is built to understand a program, or an input, that is provided to it, in a language it can understand. Each keystroke on the computer is assigned a specific meaning. Each combination and sequence of keystrokes will possess and convey specific meanings. Once it can understand and interpret it, it can carry out the tasks that the program requires it to. On many occasions, this, again, requires it to understand and interpret information that is provided to it, and make decisions based on its understanding of the information.

What are the limitations of this approach?

The primary limitation being faced is that the computer requires structure to function. The program needs to be written in a manner that it can understand. The information it is asked to understand should be presented in a defined format, such as in rows and columns, with each standing for only a pre-defined variable and nothing else.

As a provider that has chosen to specialize in the area of professinonal BPO services, oWorkers continues to excel. It is now recognized as one of the top three providers in the world in its chosen space of work.

 

Challenges with unstructured information

But, is that how most information in the environment occurs?

Definitely no.

Most information occurring in our environment is unstructured.

A doctor’s handwritten prescription is unstructured.

A phone call between any two people is unstructured.

An essay or an article is unstructured. Each person will write in his/her own unique style.

So what?

The issue with unstructured information is that it cannot become an input for a computer.

So what?

The challenge this creates is that it limits the computational ability of computers. They are not in a position to operate on the vast amount of unstructured information that exists in the world and often hold clues unlocking which can release significant value.

As a preferred employer, oWokers accesses deep pools of talent in all its delivery centers. In fact, they don’t need to spend much on advertising to attract talent; the reputation they have built up creates a strong pull effect. They have the ability to choose the best talent for all their client projects, out of the unending queues of job seekers that come to their doorstep, physically or virtually. 

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

While there are many areas that are advancing in parallel, one of the fields that have captured popular imagination is that of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the related field of Machine Learning (ML) through which software models are trained to become intelligent AI engines.

Through ML, we seek to create AI models that are equipped to operate on unstructured information, freeing computers from the confined world of structured information and harnessing information that could, hitherto, not be understood.

Why is that important?

It is important because companies are looking to harness information to create a competitive advantage for themselves so that they can create a dominant position for themselves in the future world by unlocking information that could not be accessed earlier.

But, if it is so difficult to get computers to understand this information, why don’t companies use human beings for it?

That, of course, is a possibility. However, humans require high maintenance and have a limited capacity. That is the whole essence of automation, is it not? Computers may not have as smart a brain as the average human but can process large volumes of data. Hence, equipping machines to handle unstructured information is the goal, and not creating a large number of human beings to do the same.

A secure operating environment is a prerequisite for complex technology solutions to operate in. oWorkers provides the best with its super secure facilities & protocols that guarantee the security of data, armed with ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015). It is also GDPR compliant.

 

Textual Analytics

Text, or unstructured text, is one of the formats in which unstructured information exists. In fact, all communication is linked with textual information in one way or another. Human communication relies upon languages, which manifest themselves either as an oral communication or as written communication, which is textual.

A doctor’s handwritten prescription is text.

An essay or an article is text.

To prise out the secrets that lie hidden within unstructured text, we rely upon an evolving discipline that is known as text analytics, or text mining, that seeks to analyze and uncover information hidden in unstructured text.

Let us remember that structured information has been handled. There are many ways in which computers can read and understand structured information, depending on the user, the company, the business, the location, the situation, and so many other factors. Of course, the effort for extracting more and more will be ongoing, but the basic challenge of submitting it to be understood by machines has been overcome.

The same needs to be done for unstructured information.

With the ability to hire at short notice, oWorkers not only caters to unforeseen volume spikes of clients but is also able to provide manpower cover in situations where human assistance is required by the technology. It can hire an additional hundred resources within 48 hours.

 

Technologies being harnessed

A number of technologies need to come together to enable this process to work. The main ones are:

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

NLP is used to extract information out of unstructured text and create meaningful structures from it. Once structured, it can be put to the same use as structured data, viz. getting deeper insights into the subject with which that text deals or pertains to.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

When one only has a hardcopy document available, or one that is handwritten, there is an additional step of converting it to a format so that its characters can be recognized nu a computer. OCR technologies are useful in doing this.

Deep Neural Networks (DNN)

OCR technologies use DNN techniques to extract information. The extracted information is then fed into the pipeline feeding information to NLP for drawing meaning.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is often the goal that drives the deployment of the various technologies. Once created, an AI model can create significant efficiency, synergies, and value.

With solid relationships developed with technology companies over a period of many years, oWorkers today is in a position where it can leverage the latest developments in technology for delivering on client projects, something very few providers will be able to lay claim to.

 

How is it done?

As a science, or discipline, text analytics has evolved certain practices and methodologies from the time the information is ingested into the system and the eventual output is released. Though it could vary based on the user’s preferences as well as the application, detailed below is the most commonly followed sequence:

  1. Identification of the language needs to be done because that is integral to drawing inferences. Some languages could also have many versions and dialects.
  2. Breaking the entire text down into small packets that, individually, carry meaning. These are further aligned with punctuation that is present to further enrich the packets.
  3. Alignment of the various packets is done, followed by ‘light parsing,’ or deconstructing each sentence into the parts that make it up.
  4. This is followed by parsing of the syntax, which is usually the step that consumes the most computing power. It also ends up revealing the sentence’s real structure behind the facade.
  5. The final step is usually termed ‘sentence chaining.’ At this stage, the unstructured textual information is ready to be analyzed.

This is only a high-level view and is not intended to be read and applied. It is a deep, scientific process that needs to be studied and practiced before you are able to apply it.

There are other complexities that emerge from time to time that we have not even covered, such as identification of intent and tone, especially where the original content is oral that has been converted to text. Those add further layers of complexity to the unstructured information.

Understanding language is key to any form of communication, by humans or by machines. oWorkers, with its ability to serve clients in over 20 languages, has few peers. Offering multilingual services is an integral part of being oWorkers, a multicultural and multinational organization.

 

Application of text analytics in healthcare

One of the fastest growing areas of text analytics is its application in the domain of healthcare, with its growing emphasis on extracting valuable data from the massive amounts of data the industry collects and retains.

When you are armed with more, and better, data, it is to be expected that it will lead to better outcomes. With the deeper insights that can be gleaned, better correlations of causes with diseases as well as the effectiveness of cures will emerge, leading to an improvement in care. It can also reduce the burden on the healthcare ecosystem by preventing diseases and reducing hospital admissions.

Sharper profiling of patients leads to a personalization of the treatment, again, with a view to achieving better outcomes.

Deeper insights thrown up through information revealed by unstructured data can also help in combating the misuse of medication, prescriptions, referrals, and insurance claims. The result, eventually, is that the people who most need the care receive it at a reasonable cost  

oWorkers works with clients from various industries around the world, including technology companies and unicorn marketplaces, and is led by a capable team of managers who have several decades of hands-on industry experience.

 

In conclusion

The healthcare industry is sitting on a huge cache of information, that it has collected over many years, with the objective of bringing about improvement in outcomes for patients. Much of this information, unfortunately, is unstructured, rendering itself unfit for computation and extracting insights.

With recent advancements in AI as well as tools for analysis of textual information, the industry is hopeful of unlocking many secrets that are currently hidden in this unstructured data. These could lead to improving medical outcomes, lowering the burden on the healthcare system, and identifying and eliminating cases of fraud and cheating that increase costs for everyone else.

It will have to handle concerns regarding privacy and data security as it moves towards an end-to-end digitization model where every bit of information has a value that can be harnessed. While we may yet be far from the day of end-to-end digitization, each step taken is a step in the right direction.

oWorkers is known to offer beneficial pricing, among the best in the industry. Clients make claims of savings up to 80% of their pre-outsourcing costs. They pay social and local taxes in all the locations they operate from, and work with employed staff, not freelancers and contractors like some of their competitors.

They have successfully opened the doors of the digital economy to many youngsters from the underprivileged backgrounds that many of their employees come from. Your work will enable them to provide the same opportunity to a few more deserving people.

How to outsource data management

How to outsource data management

How to outsource data management

Data is the new oil, they say. It lubricates businesses, and life, in the digital world. The last few years have witnessed a quantum leap in data being created, as well as in the capacity of networks to carry data to the farthest corners of the world.

It is also a resource. In fact, a rich resource of information that, if leveraged well, can deliver huge benefits to a company. In an increasingly competitive world, every business wants to squeeze every bit of advantage they can get from any resource. Data being a rich repository of, well, data, is being looked at with hungry eyes by businesses seeking to unlock the secrets hidden in it, and deliver business benefits.

For data to yield its secrets to companies in a manner that makes it useful, it needs to be managed well. Not all companies are equipped to manage data. They can easily get overwhelmed by the volume and variety of data that comes at them from all sides, making the activity of generating all that data futile, since they are not positioned to manage and leverage it. It is a specialized skill. This is the reason many companies are turning to data management outsourcing solution providers for managing their data as a preventive measure, and also as a solution.

With a focus on data and related BPO services, oWorkers has emerged in the short period of 8 years as one of the three best providers in the world, in its chosen space. Its clients around the world benefit from the expertise of its employees, in data-related processing areas such as social media moderation, data annotation, invoice processing, and data management.

 

Understanding data management outsourcing

For companies to be in a position to leverage the potential benefits of engaging an expert third-party for the management of their data, they should first have an understanding of what it means and entails.

In simple terms, all you need to do is turn over the process of collecting data, storing it, and then digging into it to extract information relevant to the business. The provider may also be able to provide guidance on the methods of data collection as well as the information that ought to be collected through each method.

In essence, your company and people can focus on your business, which is what they know and are good at, and can leave the data management task to a specialist who will possibly do it better than them. This is one of the core principles of outsourcing in any case, is it not?

And they can do it at a competitive price point. Clients swear by the financial benefits that can be released by outsourcing to oWorkers. Some of their clients, particularly the ones from Western Europe and the USA, claim savings of almost 80% after taking their processes to oWorkers.

 

What is data used for

Everything.

That is the shortest and most accurate answer.

Companies use data to create new revenue streams and get existing ones to deliver more.

They use data to modify existing products and services and create newer ones.

They use data to create market strategies to drive performance.

They use data to identify customer segments and create well-defined products for them.

They use data to analyze feedback from customers and take action based on it.

They use data to create better processes and release efficiencies.

Like we said earlier…everything.

And since this everything can now happen at any time, anywhere in the world, it helps to have a partner who can cover this duration. oWorkers is equipped to operate on a continuous schedule for meeting the requirements of its clients. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days of a year. 

 

How is data stored – the commonly used systems

While potential partners will make a case for their storage services being the best, as the ultimate beneficiary of the relationship, you need to ensure that their method of storage is not only secure but permits access in a flexible, smooth manner. In other words, it permits access when needed. It permits access to authorized users but blocks others out.

Which are some of the more commonly used tools for data?

Customer relationship management (CRM)

Creates an ongoing repository of customer-facing interaction and events. Also promotes engagement with customers. Can be used for tracking the status of engagement with a customer as well as for identifying needs and issues and selectively targeting customers.

Marketing technology systems (MarTech)

These are in the direct purview of the marketing teams. The term MarTech could be applied to a variety of systems such as marketing automation, email services, digital marketing, and others. In the ideal world, MarTech systems would operate in tandem with CRM systems.

Data warehousing

These act as repositories of data that could be collected from a variety of sources and often act as the master data source. The collective data is the final source of data for business decision-making.

With the right partner, outsourcers can access the most updated tools that will further boost their efforts at leveraging data for making better decisions. oWorkers has courted and created a wide network of technology players. It is now in a position to access the latest in technology and leverage it for client work, in many different areas.

 

Benefits of outsourcing data management

Companies take decisions in a deliberate manner, not based on emotion or whim. Each decision is expected to move the company toward the attainment of its goals. A data outsourcing management engagement also needs to come out of a deliberate decision that can visualize benefits accruing to the company.

What are some of the benefits that the outsourcer can hope for?

Focus on business

Rather than getting distracted with activities they do not have the competence for, staff members can continue to focus on their core business, which is what their capability set covers, and ensure it stays on track. Companies that take on data management activities, run the risk of not only doing it badly but also jeopardizing their core business.

There have been instances when the leadership team of oWorkers, which has several decades of hands-on experience in the industry, acts as consultants for their clients and is able to advise them on their business.

Receive quality output

When you have a specialist doing a task, the output can be expected to be of a higher quality than would you would be able to produce yourself. The partner is able to provide inputs for your business that have the potential to benefit it in many different ways if acted upon correctly. They can reduce costs, increase revenue, or do both. They can enable you to understand customers better and create more effective products and services.

With the world becoming smaller, and large companies operating across many different locations, it becomes important to understand what is going on in each place. In different languages. With their ability to support clients in over 20 languages, almost no data acquired by the client is wasted, with the ability of oWorkers to work in so many different languages.

Get access to the best tools

Investing in tools and technologies that are not core to a business is always a challenge. Not being a revenue generator, it often gets pushed down in the priority list, resulting in the process staying manual or relying on outdated tools and technologies.

In addition, many companies may not have the scale to justify investment in tools that aid the task. The result is similar. They are forced to continue with less efficient manual processes or dated technologies.

With oWorkers, you get both; the benefit of working with a partner that has the ability and willingness to invest in the latest tools, as well as the scale to justify the investment. oWorkers is also equipped to create a team of people at short notice, going up to a hundred additional resources within 48 hours.

 

What should you look for in a partner?

There are many providers of data management services. Not all may be equally good at everything. Hence, you need to be able to separate the grain from the chaff and zero in on a partner who will add value to your business.

What do you look for in a partner?

Expertise in the area

Though obvious, this needs to be reiterated.

Potential partners need to demonstrate their ability with the many factors that are critical to the success of business process outsourcing, such as the ability to access and hire resources at a reasonable cost, such as the network and technology for the work to be carried out smoothly, the project management and transitioning skills, the quality of the physical workplace, and others.

As BPOs begin to offer specialized services, such as data management, it is equally important to ensure that they have the ability to deliver what they are promising. With a set of clients who can be referenced, and many who are willing to speak up for the quality delivered, oWorkers presents a compelling proposition as a partner.

Ability to secure data

In the digital world, the security of information has become a critical task. When we discuss data management, the criticality of the security of data gets multiplied manifold as data is all that we are dealing with. Data needs to be generated, accessed, harnessed and analyzed through processes that do not lead to unauthorized access leading to compromising its integrity and uniqueness.

Access rights and access hierarchies play a vital role in keeping data secure. Security measures should be able to ensure that the right people have access to designated sections. Nothing more and nothing less.

The super secure facilities & protocols that oWorkers operates from add to the sense of security clients have about their data. Its ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) further bolster its credentials. Adding GDPR compliance into the mix only makes it more compelling.

Can find the best resources

Just as everyone cannot become a mechanic or cobbler or cook without putting effort into it, the same is the case with data management. Not everyone can do it. It requires aptitude and mindset and needs to be touched up with training and practice.

Companies hire resources based on their business needs, driven usually by the requirements of the industry they are in. Data management is not a part of these manpower requirements for most companies. When the need does arise, they may not have the right skills among their staff for it.

With a partner, however, who does it for a living, the situation is different. They hire the right resources. In fact, they are able to identify the talent pools and skill sets needed in raw hires that constitute the right base skills that can be turned into quality resources with training. Since they do it regularly, they are also able to identify sources from which resources can be hired in a cost-effective manner.

What is the result?

Your business gets better quality, more experienced resources at a lower cost handling the job for you, producing outcomes better than what you would be able to achieve on your own.

Talent acquisition is one of the core competencies of oWorkers. As an employer of choice in all the markets it operates in, it received a steady supply of walk-in talent at its offices, looking for suitable roles. Not only does this enable them to hire suitable people for various client projects, it also reduces their hiring cost, as they do not need to advertise to attract talent, which eventually results in better pricing to clients.

 

Advantage oWorkers

Working with employed resources, and not contractors and freelancers, is a choice oWorkers has made. With the help of its tenured staff members, oWorkers is in a position to move up the complexity curve in handling client projects. That its decision has not been misplaced is borne out by the 4.6 (on a scale of 5) ratings it regularly receives from both past and present employees, on external platforms like Glassdoor.

oWorkers has been able to open the doors to the digital economy for many people from the disadvantaged communities it hires from. Your work will enable them to do the same for a few more.

How to make a choice between an Inhouse CFO and a Virtual CFO

How to make a choice between an Inhouse CFO and a Virtual CFO

How to make a choice between an Inhouse CFO and a Virtual CFO

The business, or industry, it wishes to be a part of, is a choice for a company. Decision-makers, usually at the time a company is started, make that decision, keeping various factors such as strengths, weakness, market conditions, competition, etc. in mind. Of course, it is also possible that the company, to apply a term currently popular, pivots along the way to a different business or industry.

While the business may be a choice, what is not a choice for the company is certain activities it has to carry out. It could be termed as the cost of doing business, or the privilege of being in an environment where it is possible to set up and run a business. Mostly these are regulatory requirements, such as filing of tax returns, such as maintaining hygienic conditions at the workplace, such as paying compensation that adheres to the minimum wages stipulated by the government.

In order to fulfill these requirements, the company needs to hire resources who are experts in these respective areas, to ensure that the requirements are fulfilled and it does not have to face embarrassment as a result of any failure or non-compliance. These activities are often termed as ‘support’ functions. In other words, they support the main business of the company in the achievement of organizational goals. Some of these functions also have a role to play on competitive marketplaces on which the company might depend, such as HR in the talent marketplace.

Over time, these support functions also strive to create value for the organization, over and above the regulatory aspect of the role.    

oWorkers provides support not only for the business of clients, but also for their support functions. Our focus on data based BPO services has yielded rich dividends. Today, we are recognized as one of the top three providers in the world in our line of work. For an eight year old company, that is a creditable achievement.

 

The role of Finance

One of the support functions in most large companies is that of Finance. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), who leads the Finance function, often has an important place at the leadership high table that comprises the most senior decision-makers in the company. It is, as it is called, a C-suite role.

It is not a surprise, since money constitutes the life-force that runs through the veins of an organization, and either infuses it with, or takes away from, the energy it needs to operate. The success, or failure, of a company, is defined in terms of money. It does not matter how many jobs your company has created, or how good its products are, until the financial statements show that it has made money, from a business standpoint the company has not been successful.

The CFO, along with the Finance function team, oversees the preparation of financial statements, reviews them and attempts to squeeze efficiencies out of the system by offering suggestions to the operational teams, tracks the funds situation in an effort to balance availability and requirement. Too much cash on the books might mean loss of interest or business opportunity. Too little cash might mean inability to pay bills on time. It interfaces with vendors and clients for invoices received as well as invoices raised. It has an important role to play in the success of the company.

Most business decisions are driven by money. With a pricing model that affords a choice to clients, oWorkers stands out from the crowd. Additionally, our ability to help our clients save up to 80% of their costs, is unsurpassed in the industry.

 

The CFO’s role

The role of a CFO is an established one in the organization structure of a company. It does not need to be justified. Most large organizations, with a sufficiently large business, are likely to have a qualified, well-compensated specialist occupying the role.

Smaller companies, though, struggle in this respect. Often, they do not have the business volumes and financial muscle to be able to afford a qualified CFO in the role. This struggle of the not-so-big companies could have created early interest in the concept of part-time or virtual CFOs.

They need the expertise but they don’t have the money to pay for it. What should they do?

Hire a virtual CFO?

What is a virtual CFO?

The core concept is that the person playing the role is not dedicated to your company. In other words, he or she is not a full-time employee. He/she provides either a fixed amount of time to your company or is engaged on the basis of defined responsibility areas, and compensated accordingly. He/she is free to ply his/her trade in a similar manner with other companies. Of course, there would need to be a clear understanding in order to ensure that business information and interest is not compromised. 

An inhouse, or full time CFO operates as an employee of the company and is available completely to focus on the company’s requirements, without distraction from other competing work engagements.

oWorkers operates with both inhouse employed resources as well as short-term hires taken on a contract. Even freelancers are hired for specific assignments. The rapidly evolving, competitive world requires fleet-footedness. Virtual resources can provide an edge in this situation. Even for its clients, oWorkers, with its close ties with local communities, can hire resources at short notice; almost a hundred additional within 48 hours.

 

Choosing between a virtual CFO and an inhouse CFO

What are some of the factors that should be considered while making a choice between a virtual or an inhouse CFO?

Availability and convenience

In business, time is of the essence. Decisions need to be taken quickly. In house resources are available at all times, facilitating the process of decision-making. A virtual CFO, on the other hand, will either be available at designated times, or not available. This could slow down the process of decision-making. Moreover, for the CEO, or the board, having an in-house CFO could be an added convenience, who could be called upon for a discussion or explanation when needed.

With all centers of oWorkers equipped to operate on a 24×7 schedule, you will never be delayed because of lack of availability of your oWorkers team.

Cost

For small and medium sized companies, cost often becomes an important criterion when making the choice between the two. A CFO is a highly paid professional, possessing a highly regarded educational qualification, with experience in most cases. Younger professionals with little or nil experience of work may not be considered for the virtual CFO roles. It is not unusual for CFOs to draw upwards of $300K annually in the US.

While large companies, with substantial revenues, a wide operational base and complex organizational hierarchy, hiring a full-time CFO is often justified, as the CFO is able to create adequate value to justify the cost. With smaller companies, that may not be possible. Often, the business is not spread widely enough or is not complex enough for a CFO to devote his/her entire time to just that company. Hence, many smaller companies tend to opt for virtual CFOs.

Confidentiality and data integrity

Information is a key asset of a business. For inhouse resources, who do not have competing work requirements, it is a straightforward task to remember who they work for and their responsibility with regard to data that is valuable for their employer.

When a resource, however, is working for more than one employer, even though each of the companies have taken due care to ensure that the person has signed and accepted relevant confidentiality agreements, the possibility of data being compromised is much higher, even though the act may be inadvertent or unknowingly done.

Of course, the possibility of data being compromised with ulterior motives is perhaps the same in both situations, hence not a factor in this discussion.

Client data is secure in the secure facilities & protocols used by oWorkers. Our ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) and GDPR compliance will further strengthen the security of your sensitive data.

Staying current and relevant

Each individual has limitations. After all, how much can one person handle? One of the requirements of any senior role in a specialized function in a company is to stay current with the changes taking place, either in the environment, or with regard to competitors, or in respect of regulations and laws. Experts keep track of developments, develop communities of similar professionals, participate in events and discussions in an effort to stay abreast.

A virtual CFO, on the other hand, while needing to stay relevant, might benefit from the presence of a team, either that supports him/her, or in the form of other similar professionals, all of them working for an accounting firm that offers virtual CFO services to companies. Together, they have the advantage of a natural community that can feed off each other and bring the most value to the companies they work for.

Under the steady hands of a leadership team that has several decades of hands-on industry experience, oWorkers stays in tune with developments impacting their industries as well as the various client industries.

 

Who should be a virtual CFO

Being a role that requires professional experience and the right educational background, newcomers to the field are unlikely to be accepted as virtual CFOs. They need to work for a company in a capacity that enables them to get the experience that will enable them to operate as a CFO in future.

Alternatively, fresh accounting graduates could join an accounting firm and through them provide services to clients, thus gaining experience.

It is, therefore, an accepted practice that experienced accounting professionals are the only ones likely to be considered for, and accepted in, the role of a virtual CFO.

With its policy of a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic workplace, oWorkers, as a natural outcome, has got the benefit of a multi-lingual one too. It is able to offer an organically developed ability to serve in over 20 languages.

 

The role of Accounting firms

Accounting firms are boldly going where they have not gone before. They have been scouting for opportunities to bolster sagging top line growth in the wake of a slew of DIY accounting software applications hitting the market. Value added services seems to be the go-to place for most firms, adding value to the business of their clients rather than merely helping them complete the compliance related tasks such as filing tax returns and audits.

Virtual CFO is becoming a prominent service for firms seeking to grow. They already have smart accountants who have been working with clients. In a way, they were already playing, somewhat informally, the role of a virtual CFO for many small and medium-sized companies. With the acceptability of virtual CFOs growing, they have a ready product to offer, complete with a team behind the CFO that is ready to do the heavy lifting. With many capable accounting heads becoming available to SMEs, they are addressing complex situations fast. Moreover, with this arrangement, they are not reliant on one head.

oWorkers has pioneered the concept of forging long-term relationships with other industries, such as technology, that can be leveraged for delivery to its clients. Accounting firms can learn from oWorkers and develop relationships with industries and companies that will benefit from their services.

 

Conclusion

The virtual CFO has opened new doors of efficiency and effectiveness for many companies. They need to welcome virtual CFOs and learn to take decisions in the absence of an inhouse CFO. Virtual CFOs need to deliver and meet and exceed client expectations even as they take them to places they have not been before.

Data analysis and interpretation, cost reduction, revenue enhancement, there are many areas where virtual CFOs can add value, even taking companies to places they may never have thought about, such as sustainability accounting.

The BPO industry is dependent on people for its work. oWorkers, recognized as a credible employer in each of its delivery locations, can draw walk-in candidates at will. In fact, we have to turn back many when we don’t have open positions. We are registered as local companies in all our service locations. We pay social and local taxes for our employees who rate us 4.6 or more, on a scale of 5, on external platforms such as Glassdoor.

Employee well-being and holistic health is a foundation for a strong business

Employee well-being and holistic health is a foundation for a strong business

Employee well-being and holistic health is a foundation for a strong business

On the one hand, the work-from-home culture that has been introduced around the world on account of Covid-19 related restrictions, has had a salutary impact on many aspects of the lives of employees. It has enabled them to save on commute time, it has enabled them to balance life and work in a more meaningful way, it has enabled them to stay closer to their loved ones, it has allowed them the luxury of home food, and many others. Of course, not everyone benefits from everything. These are some of the aspects many people seem to have found beneficial.

There is also another side to this picture. The prolonged work-from-home and Covid-19 environment, as it started getting extended into a second year, has also resulted in a number of health issues that did not seem to exist earlier. The lack of physical activity; even the commute to work and back is a physical activity that serves as an exercise, appears to have taken a toll on some. For many others, the impact is more psychological, with the specter of the pandemic always hanging over their heads, and leading a life very different from the one they had been used to, earlier, apart from the economic uncertainty and loss of business and jobs for many.

As an employer of scale, oWorkers has watched closely the unfolding of the situation after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to the impact it had on many of their clients. This enabled them to be one of the first BPOs to get off the block and equip their employees with technology to work from home during times of lockdown that were enforced. This, in turn, enabled many of their clients to continue to be accessible to their respective customers during times when they were, indeed, most needed. oWorkers is now widely recognized as one of the top three providers of data based BPOs services in the world.

 

What have companies done?

Enterprises that have survived the trauma and continue to operate at scale, have been quick to recognize the impact on employee well-being, and many have mounted efforts at ensuring the well-being of employees during these stressful times.

There are a number of steps taken by corporations that start with ensuring that they are able to create a workplace that is safe to operate from, in case employees need to be present at the workplace. This could include workstation sanitization, creating distance between workstations and closing down common areas such as cafeterias and coffee machines. Coupled with that is the generous dispensation to advice for the same, of keeping themselves safe, in all other activities they are engaged in, not necessarily limited to work, even extending to other near and dear ones of the employee. Of course, creating opportunities for virtual work could also be considered as a proactive measure taken by companies in the interest of employee health and well-being.

oWorkers has been at the forefront of efforts in the industry to continue providing services while taking care of safety and security concerns. It is no surprise that oWorkers is able to continue offering services on a 24×7 schedule in each of its delivery centers around the world. Its wide cross-section of employees also allows it to offer support to clients in over 20 languages.

 

Focus on holistic health

Physical health is, perhaps, transparent and visible, as is its treatment. And much has been done in that space ever since the pandemic started. However, efforts are under way to enable employees to attain a more holistic version of health, including mental and psychological.

Increasingly, the aspect of health that is gradually taking center stage is that of mental health. It is not obvious or visible. It could be difficult to identify and diagnose. Even more importantly, it is perhaps even more difficult to accept for the person who may be impacted by it, thwarting efforts at diagnosing and treating. After all, a condition can only be addressed once it has been identified and accepted.

oWorkers, being a preferred employer, has always attracted walk-in talent in each of its delivery locations. This can be a short-lived advantage if not followed through with fair and transparent employment practices. The continued success of walk-in hiring should be adequate proof of oWorkers being considered to be a good employer. In addition, if more proof is needed, oWorkers received ratings in excess of 4.6, on a scale of 5, on external platforms like Glassdoor, from both existing and past employees. The health of employees is a concern for oWorkers, as compared to some of their competitors who prefer to rely on freelancers and contractors for their staffing needs, that allows them to avoid the responsibility of employee well-being since they do not have employees. The early introduction of work-from-home options was in response to a perceived need to provide safer working options to employees.

 

Leaders need to show the way

Leaders have a role to play. Not only in the performance of their area of business responsibility, but all the variables that impact on the performance of their business. And that should come as no surprise. Leaders should be able to identify the key variables that have a bearing on their business outcomes, which is what the external world sees, and what they are usually goaled on. Human resources, or employees, are always one of the key variables that require attention and focus and management effort.

And it starts with the leader himself or herself. A leader needs to be able to show the way to others; in terms of knowledge, commitment, behavior, and also in terms of acknowledging and identifying health related concerns that could impact their performance.

C-suiters are rising to the challenge. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, they are standing up and acknowledging the personal challenges and issues they have encountered as a result of the pandemic, and even otherwise, including the oft-dreaded mental and psychological issues. And not merely as an aside, to no one in particular, but in public events such as earnings calls with analysts.

Employees are responding. They now have a great example to follow. And the stock of the C-suiters doing so, showing themselves up to be human and prone to the same issues as everyone else, and not being inhabitants of a stratosphere, immune to human frailties, is sending their (personal) stock soaring. In fact, it is a surprise that this development surprises us. It should have been the most obvious of developments. But then, the pandemic has shown us the reality behind many a façade.

With several decades of hands-on experience in the industry under their belt, the leadership team of oWorkers understand the importance of leading from the front. The team of quality analysts employed by the company, act as the eyes and ears of the management and enable them to jump into a situation when intervention is needed and required.

 

Consistency in goals, vision and behavior

While leaders lead by example, the effort has to be organizational, in terms of determining and consistently promoting a set of values and behaviors that will take the organization towards its goals and have the power to bind the people together in their common pursuit. In pursuit of economic gains, companies have been known to posit standing for one set of values, but displaying entirely different ones when pushed to the wall, typically to a point where a decision to make or lose money in the short term had to be taken. 

The benefit of such behavior turns out to be just that, short term, losing out to the longer term drag of conflict and confusion in decision-making.

Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary measures, some say.

Not necessarily, say others. Especially in the world of business. Ensuring that the foundation is solid and reinforcing the fundamentals of the organization from time to time is a good place to start. Situations like the one faced by the world owing to Covid-19 only serve to reinforce the fundamentals, one of them being to ensure that the care and attention given to employees is genuine with the intent of solving problems and moving ahead.

oWorkers track record of consistent behavior and expectations enable it to go one step beyond hiring; hiring for short-term peaks. People are willing to be hired for short-term assignments as well, knowing that a good performance is likely to lead to permanence. oWorkers is registered as a local company in each of its delivery locations, paying social and other taxes for their employees and engaging with the community as an equal.

 

Technology plays enabler, once again

Man has been innovating and inventing since prehistoric times, with the objective of making life better, happier, more comfortable for the race. There has perhaps never been a time when man slowed his quest for innovation. If anything, innovation and change is coming in faster and faster with every passing generation and year.

Today digital technology is seeing rapid advancements and has altered our workplaces and methods of working quite fundamentally. It also provides us support and options during the periods when normal life is thrown out of gear.

While employees are alive to the threats to their way of life and livelihood from the pandemic, they need to be supported by their employers in different ways. One of the ways many companies have found that is able to provide support is continuous learning. By developing their skills and knowledge, employees feel they are empowering themselves and positioning themselves to handle the extenuating circumstances better. And that can be a huge mental relief for many.

Once again, technology has made it possible for learning initiatives to continue unimpeded, from anywhere in the world, thanks to the e-learning options that are now available, either individually or with the help of other people.

With Super secure facilities & protocols for the security of client data and with ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015), oWorkers stands for good technology. It is also GDPR compliant. What makes them a reliable technology partner is their deep relationships with major technology companies of the world, that allows them to deploy the latest technologies for client projects.

 

Conclusion

As the size and influence of the largest corporations in the world has increased, so has their responsibility. One of the key responsibilities that all companies, big and small, have been forced to recognize is the well-being of their employees and of their dependents. In addition, the pandemic has also moved us back to the basics; focusing our attention once again on the fundamentals. And one of the fundamentals of being human is being human to other humans, in this case, our employees.

In a business engagement, commercials do matter. With oWorkers, clients have come to expect savings of almost 80%, especially for clients from Western Europe and the US. oWorkers delivers.

Automated data labeling holds the key to AI implementation

Automated data labeling holds the key to AI implementation

Automated data labeling holds the key to AI implementation

The importance of many items in history, material or notional, has been sought to be denoted by equating it with money. Who has not heard of the phrase ‘time is money?’ Similar reverence today is reserved for data, which is viewed as a key resource for companies to leverage in their quest for success and domination in the marketplace.

But you cannot just walk to the nearest bank with your data and get money in exchange. It is not that simple. While companies are generating huge amounts of data, using it for drawing conclusions and as a decision-support system is a challenge.

Why should it be a challenge?

The reason is that data exists in what we call a ‘raw’ format. In other words, it exists as it is received and collected. While a human being may be able to draw conclusions out of it, a computer program cannot, unless it is taught how to.

Regardless of the format data is in, with oWorkers you get an expert in handling it. oWorkers is recognized as one of three top providers data based BPO services in the whole wide world. It is a creditable achievement, considering they have been in the business only for eight years.

 

Labeling data

Why are computer programs needed for drawing conclusions from data? Why do human beings not do it?

With the volumes of data being generated, if we are to harbor any hopes of harnessing it, computers have to play a role. This is because a human being has physical limitations because of which he/she can only read/understand/peruse so much data and draw conclusions. A computer, on the other hand, does not have these human limitations. It can process data much faster. Hence their need in the process.

The process of making data suitable for the understanding of computers is referred to as data labeling. With the help of labeling, software programs are able to create associations and extrapolate those associations to actions.

As an example, if a certain image has been identified as a firearm repeatedly, if a video monitor comes across a person carrying an object that resembles a firearm, it can identify it and raise an alarm to the police for further investigation.

This is also known as Artificial Intelligence or AI, models for which are developed through a process known as Machine learning, or ML. Data labeling has widespread application in the field of AI.

Having worked hard for establishing themselves as model employers in each of the geographies they have delivery centers in, oWorkers today reaps the reward of those efforts. With a steady stream of jobseekers walking in, they are able to select the most suitable resources for their various global client projects. Without spending money on advertising.

 

Automation of data labeling

How is labeling done?

The starting point is usually manual. This is the step at which data is identified and tagged in a language or manner that a software program can understand and create associations

If it is to be done manually, what is the use? We may as well do the analysis manually.

Yes and no.

Firstly, even if labeling is to be done manually, though a voluminous exercise, it is a limited one. The volume can be chosen based on the repercussions of an incorrect decision based on the data. The benefit thereafter can be everlasting; in other words, be substantially greater than the input effort.

Secondly, techniques are available for automation of the labeling process which, if used, can significantly reduce the manual effort in the process. Though human intervention and oversight seem unavoidable, through automation techniques they can be limited to involvement at the broader level rather than at the level of each transaction.

What does that mean?

Analysts and data scientists responsible for the process should make an effort to create functions that reflect the rationale behind the activity, instead of label-level identification, for it to be successful. That being said, each project is likely to be unique and vary in terms of the level of automation possible from the next.

Having created super secure facilities & protocols for the data security of clients, along with ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015), oWorkers is no stranger to cutting-edge technology. In addition, they are also GDPR compliant and equipped to handle sensitive data.

 

Benefits of automated data labeling

At the generic level, the benefits are similar to any automation exercise. There are, however, some specific advantages that need to be called out.

Flexibility in terms of scale

Manual activities are limited in scale by human availability and the capacity of each individual. Computer activities are much less so. Once made capable, a software program can label vast volumes of information, that is way beyond the scope of a human. Moreover, through a process that is called pre-annotation, the requirement of human labeling can be drastically reduced. In other words, humans may need to focus only on parts that a computer was unable to label.

With oWorkers, you get a reliable, experienced set of resources that will give you the ability to label data at scale and develop your AI models, for any type of unstructured data. With their known ability to provide additional resources for handling unforeseen requirements, you can trust them with ongoing assignments as well as project-based contracts, which is how data labeling is handled in many cases.

Creation of better models

By transferring the heavy lifting to computers, human beings can be freed up for processes that add greater value. Improving the quality and accuracy of the automated labeling algorithms could be an example of such an activity. Humans will also be better placed to monitor the exceptions and introduce them in upgraded versions of the algorithm for better results.

With their established relationships with technology companies, oWorkers is in a position to deploy the latest innovations in technologies for use in client projects. This adds speed and quality to their work.

Reduces rework and keeps labels current

Labeling is done based on context, as well as human understanding. The context can change as we discover more information about an object or entity and its context. Each time new information is discovered, a re-labeling exercise may need to be initiated in order to ensure accuracy and changing needs of the project. A manual labeling exercise will need to be re-labeled manually. By the same token, automated labeling can also be updated automatically, after the functions and parameters, based on which labeling is done, have been updated. As we know, at computer speed.

Each of the delivery centers is geared to operate round the clock, 365 days a year. Clients working with oWorkers can rest assured that there will be no delays to the updates and upgrades that may need to be made from time to time. This flexibility is over and above the already advantageous position they have since they are in time zones that are vastly different, allowing for work to be done overnight and be ready the following morning.

Reduced variability in results

The thinking ability of humans, while it distinguishes them from all other living beings, can also be a hindrance in exercises like labeling. As the information they are handling is unstructured and open to interpretation, which is the reason for labeling it in the first place, two different operators could have differences in the way they view the object that is to be labeled. This variability can compromise the efficacy of the model that is generated as a result of the labeling exercise, and allow biases to creep in. With automated labeling, such issues are obviated. There is a logic behind every label that has been attached and that logic will be consistently followed across the database.

While oWorkers reduces the variability in outcomes, it provides a huge benefit to clients in terms of savings. The oWorkers model of offering a choice to clients between a pricing model based on input variables and one that is based on output variables is already a hit with most clients. Additionally, many clients claim savings of up to 80% being delivered as a result of their outsourcing work to oWorkers.  

Smart auditing

Automated labeling, since it produces consistent output, lends itself to smarter human intervention by identifying areas where it would add greater value, such as through the assignment of confidence labels to the data, based on, again, an algorithm. Human reviewers can manually update the dataset that needs their inputs based on a pre-defined threshold level of the confidence score.  

A multilingual workforce brings a wider multicultural and multinational perspective to the work done by oWorkers. While a multilingual workforce may have resulted from its policy of an open and non-restrictive workplace, the benefits it has delivered are now embedded in the DNA of the company.

 

In conclusion

Automation of data labeling delivers is not without some attendant challenges. There is always a flip side to the story. While a software program will do exactly what it is programmed to do, accuracy in handling unstructured information, which is what most information that needs to be labeled, is, remains an issue, requiring human intervention more often than not. Of course, as technologies develop, it is to be expected that the accuracy rates will go up and human involvement occasions down.

Automation of this key step towards creating AI models, builds the digital mindset of an organization and opens it up to searching for, and implementing, digitization solutions and business excellence. It creates openness to the deployment of digital solutions in finding answers to problems. It creates the ability to respond with speed when something in the environment changes and forces a responsive change upon an organization.

And, when implemented, organizations get the ability to respond with speed to developments requiring real-time solutions on a large scale as well as a logic-based decision-making ability. The solution is designed to enhance efficiency as well as the competitiveness of an organization.

With each delivery unit registered as a local company, the payment of all local and social taxes, oWorkers is the partner that allows you to focus on business. It works with employees, and not freelancers, which enables it to invest in people and build skills, that create value for clients. It is not a surprise that both past and present employees rate them in excess of 4.6 (out of 5) on external platforms like Glassdoor.

They work with disadvantaged communities and have opened the doors for many of them to the global economy. Your work will enable them to do the same for a few more.

Will AI replace data entry jobs?

Will AI replace data entry jobs?

Will AI replace data entry jobs?

Data entry has been the gateway for much of legacy content created by mankind, to be digitized, making it suitable for all the applications and uses that any digital content would have. Whether it is analysis, whether it is running mathematical formulae on, or whether it is for smooth transfer from one application into another.   

In the present day, the job of data entry appears to be an anachronism, a dinosaur that ancient man, about twenty years in the past, might have been comfortable with, but that has no place in today’s internet connected world of virtual meetings, space travel, drone deliveries, driverless cars and artificial intelligence (AI).

After all, as digital systems have become widespread, as required legacy content held on manual output media, mainly paper, has gradually been digitized, should the need for data entry not have substantially reduced?

But, guess what, data entry continues to be a huge need for companies all around the globe, with new types of data entry requirements coming up, like data annotation services.

 

What do we mean by data entry?

What exactly is a data entry job?

Let us take a look at what constitutes data entry and what the types of jobs that are referred to as data entry jobs are. A perusal of the job descriptions of a few data entry job postings might throw up some of the following requirements:

  • Compiling information from various sources in preparation for data entry
  • Reviewing information to ensure uniformity prior to initiating entry of data into an application
  • Entering information into a database from manual records or typed sheets
  • Typing out a handwritten document or types sheets into a word processor
  • Running reports to vouch for accuracy of data that has been manually entered
  • Preparing a database to receive manual entries
  • Researching and obtaining information, where found deficient or inaccurate
  • Checking for accuracy of input of other operators
  • Generating reports and performing backup operations as assigned
  • Running documents through OCR software for the purpose of digitization
  • Checking for accuracy of documents digitized through an OCR process

This is only indicative but, hopefully, provides an understanding of the day-to-day expectations from data entry operators. It is often said that the job profile of a data entry clerk is so vast that it might be better to describe it by stating what it does not do than what it does.

There are additional dimensions. The work might be for the insurance industry or shipping. Sometimes the data entry may need to be done for the Sales team of the company and at another time for the HR department. Each data entry project would have its own nuances and variations.

What does make it possible is that in most cases the work is repetitive. Thus, people with little prior knowledge of or experience in data entry can be trained for work as data entry clerks. Hence, data entry projects can be executed manually with a great deal of ease.

 

The push towards automation

Though data entry projects may be easy to execute manually, man’s push for automation is relentless. And we know the major reasons for it.

Machines don’t make mistakes

Rather, they don’t make random mistakes. They can make a mistake, if trained or programmed incorrectly, but they will make the same mistake again and again, without fail, each time the same situation is encountered. Thus, even if they make a mistake, it is likely it will be detected with relative ease.

Unlike mistakes made by humans, which can be varied and difficult to detect without significant investment in control processes. Humans might also make the same mistake again, but they also keep making new mistakes.

They are easier and cheaper to maintain

Human beings need food and water at the minimum, plus housing and transportation and entertainment, and many other things. For these they need to be compensated adequately. But these may not be enough. Humans also need social and emotional bonding, a sense of purpose as well as fulfilment which even considerate employers cannot do much about.

Machines don’t have any of these requirements. They may need power to run and occasional maintenance and servicing, and nothing more. The result is that while automation may require an initial investment, in the long run it works out cheaper.

They don’t tire, or aspire

Six months into a data entry job an operator might start wondering about a raise, or better work profile. A machine will never. A human being will need sleep and a process of refreshment and rejuvenation. Machines will generally don’t. Most importantly, doing the same thing day in and day out will lead to burnout for a human, but never for a machine. Repetitive tasks is what they were created for. They don’t want promotions or pay hikes. They don’t feel bad if someone else has been assigned a better work profile.

They can perform dangerous tasks

While we know about dangerous tasks in the physical world that are increasingly being done by machines, like sweeping streets in a war-torn city for mines, or collecting radioactive waste or removing slag from molten metal, there are parallels in the digital world we perhaps know less about. Moderation of content on social media sites is one of them, where workers have to contend with the possibility of having to deal with graphic violence and abuse that can leave scars on the psyche.

oWorkers has been supporting automation initiatives of clients with their access to the most modern technologies, thanks to their partnerships with leading technology companies. The engagement allows them access to the most advanced technologies that it can deploy for client projects.

It is led, from the front, by a management team with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the business. The leadership team is supported by an Internal Quality team that acts as its eyes and ears on the shopfloor, while implementing best practices and undertaking process improvement initiatives in tandem with the delivery teams.

 

Changing profile of data entry work

With the relentless push for automation, how have data entry jobs sustained?

One of the things that has happened is that the data entry work profile has kept changing. While some of the existing data entry jobs may have been automated, paradoxically, new technologies and new processes are giving rise to entirely new requirements of data entry.

Data entry is a process through which each character that is input has a distinct and unique identification. By pressing the keys on a computer keyboard in specific sequences and combinations, we transfer manual information into digital. The computer system recognizes each key on the keyboard and is able to store the information based on it. However, the right key to be pressed is determined by the human doing the entry based on her interpretation of the character or symbol appearing on the manual media. This has largely been a manual process since character formation in handwritten, and even typewritten, information, has tended to vary. Besides, the same information could be organized differently in different places.

The data entry that we know and understand has been digitizing legacy content for many years. It was focused on content held on legacy media like paper and considered relevant for the future. It could be a document, or a set of numbers representing temperature readings maintained by the meteorological department, or municipal records of birth and death.

As in other spheres, data entry has also been the subject of automation efforts. The two most commonly known ones are Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based approaches.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is able to take in each character or symbol as an image, match it to a library of valid characters in its database, and make the entry. While there has been some success with structured data, the jury is pretty much out on its suitability for unstructured data.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in the fray for automation of data entry, among the many applications it seeks to make a difference in. The broad objective of AI is to get machines to think and process information like humans, so that they can handle unstructured information. While human beings, with their intelligence and creativity, can interpret raw data, a software, or an AI engine, cannot, unless trained for the purpose. This process of training is based on converting raw data into a format that can be understood by the machine. Let us call this smart data.

Raw data is converted into smart data through a process known as data annotation, or data annotation services. This conversion is through a data entry process that can be handled primarily through human intelligence. For example, if an AI model is being developed for a driverless car, it needs to be fed examples of the scenes it will encounter while driving, and connect them with actions it is expected to take. For example, it needs to be shown what a traffic light is, and what action to take based on the color of the light. This is done through data annotation services that oWorkers has been providing to clients from around the world for over 7 years. The larger the data that is fed into the model, the more intelligent it becomes. It reaches a point where, based on the information it has ingested, it is able to recognize the next scene and take action based on the training it has received. This training process is known as Machine Learning (ML) and huge data sets have to be created through the manual data entry process of data annotation services.

Wittingly or unwittingly, AI has spawned a need for increased data entry.

With experienced providers like oWorkers, you don’t have to worry about the volume of your data annotation requirement. oWorkers has been recognized as one of the three best providers of data based BPO services in the world.

 

Can AI eliminate data entry?

This question is a bit like asking, “Can data annotation services be automated?”

While one can never predict the future with any certainty, it will be useful to examine why human beings are needed for some activities.

They can process unstructured data

The depth and complexity of the human brain has not been fully grasped. Many times, there is no logic or reason, but we just know. If a big snorting bull is rushing towards us, we know we need to take evasive action even though we have never encountered the situation earlier in life. Machines, with the help of AI, may be able to process unstructured data, only to the extent of what they have been taught.

They can create

Human beings are creative. When faced with challenges they can create out of the box solutions. Machines cannot. Musicians, film-makers, writers, etc., your jobs are quite safe.

They can connect and exchange subtle signals

When you communicate with another human being, the communication happens not only at the verbal level, but in many other ways. Whether you are fidgety, or looking directly at the other person, or keep glancing at your watch, are all signals that have meaning and the quality of action taken as a result. Machines can only understand the overt.

AI needs humans to develop

And, in a strange paradox, unless humans create AI, with diligent feeding of voluminous ML, AI cannot replace humans. So, as per current technology, AI can perhaps be only as good or as bad as its human trainer and developer.

 

The last word

The reasons human intelligence is needed for some activities are the reasons data annotation services have to be handled manually. The AI model will only recognize a traffic light once it has been trained by a human. The AI model will only understand that the car needs to stop when the light is red when a human has trained it. Hence, at the primary level, when new experiences are being ingested by the model, human involvement appears to be essential. It is possible that once created, some output from data annotation services may be shared with other AI models. However, creating an AI model capable of handling primary training situations, that have not been encountered earlier, appears to be a far cry at this point.

oWorkers operates from super secure facilities with protocols for enhanced data security. It is GDPR compliant, ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified, and able to operate either from office or from home.

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. It receives a constant stream of walk-in talent interested in employment which provides choice of talent while keeping hiring costs low. This also provides the flexibility to ramp up at short notice, by almost a hundred people in 48 hours, to handle volume spikes.

No doubt human beings will continue to move processes into the ‘automated’ bucket. However, as we have seen in the case of AI, in some cases, even the creation of automation tools creates the need for manual data entry services.

The day when a new requirement for data entry, such as data annotation services, can be handled through an automation tool without use of human intelligence, does seem far at this point.

Guide for Shopify data entry services

Guide for Shopify data entry services

Guide for Shopify data entry services

You may have heard the term shopify from people around the world and you do not understand what it is or how it is used. Better still, you may even have heard about it and even used the platform but you are finding it difficult to make anything out of the platform.

Shopify data entry services are the backbone of any succesful shopify store and if you looking for a way to go about it do not look any further. This post seeks to walk you through all the basics that you need to know about the platform and how to successfully get your business up and running by outsourcing your shopify data entry processes.

In this post you’ll learn about the Shopify platform, common Shopify data entry services and how to hire the best hands in the industry.

So straight up to business, what is Shopify?

 

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an online platform that allows business eCommerce business owners build online store and connect with large pool of customers around the world. The good thing about this platform is that it is easy to set up and get started; with few clicks your shop is live.

As a small business owner, who is just starting up and looking to maximize resources, shopify is your best bet. The platform allows you to concentrate on core business activities instead of having to build a fresh website and all the associated stress.

To get started with shopify, there are a couple of simple steps that you need to follow and they include

  • Create a shopify account
  • Add your products
  • Add pricing
  • Add your stock and inventory
  • Add payments method
  • Publish your store

If you follow the above steps carefully, you’ll have successfully created your own store and you will be ready to fly.

One of the wrong assumptions many business owners make is thinking that as soon as their shopify store is up and running, then their job is done. This assumption is totally wrong and if care is not taken, the business may not grow as expected.

Creating and starting an online store is just a minor part of the hard work; keeping the store regularly updated and fresh is where the bulk of the work lies. This is where the need for you to hire outsourcing service providers.

There are a couple of things you stand to benefit from hiring the best hands for data entry for your shopify store and these benefits will be discussed here in this post but first let us take a look at some of the regular data entry tasks you need to perform in order to keep your shopify store fresh and updated.

There are basically five data entry tasks that are peculiar to eCommerce stores and they are necessary for the survival of the store. These tasks are:

  • Product Data
  • Product Optimization
  • Product/stock Availability
  • Product Data Mining
  • Product Categorization

 For your shopify store to grow and turn in massive sales, you need to take the above data entry tasks seriously. So let’s take a look at these tasks one after the other.

Product Data: This is one of the most important parts of shopify data entry as it includes all information about the products you are putting up for sale. These information helps your users gain insight and understanding into what the product is and how they can make use of it. Therefore creating the right product data increases your chances of selling the products.  Your product data should include:

  • Product Title
  • Product description
  • Sizes or variants
  • Shipping information and so on.

According to CNBC, nine out of ten customers more often than not compare a product across multiple eCommerce platforms before choosing one that meets their needs and is easily accessible to them. So setting up a top notch product data gives you an advantage over your competitors and makes you the first choice for the customers.

Product Optimization: Product optimization refers to use of relevant keywords and images that allows your products to be easily noticed on the shopify platform. Just like the SEO techniques, product optimization techniques on shopify if well done, puts your products at the top of the search results. You need to be well versed in Optimization or hire data entry experts  to carry out these tasks for you.

Product stock/Availability:  It is important that you ensure that every products that you put up for sale on your shopify store are all in stock. Displaying products that are not in stock does not only disappoint your buyer but also makes your business lose credibility. There’s a need to monitor the stock of products and update your listings accordingly. A professional data entry worker or a company that specializes in providing data entry support services for shopify is your best bet.

Data Mining: This process is quite important to the success of your business because it helps you gain insight into the market and also into your competitors. When data mining is carried out effectively, you are able to set your prices and terms of services to suit the market offering.  It helps you to avoid setting your prices too high while your competitors are selling for lower price, and also helps you to be flexible with your terms and conditions. The truth is, buyers will shop at stores that make live easiest for them and I bet you want to be that store.

Categorization: Although it is quite similar to optimization because it also improves the visibility of your product, but categorization is a quite unique data entry task to carry out on shopify. This task helps your product display in the appropriate section of the store which allows for easy discovery by buyers.  If done poorly, buyers may have a difficult time finding your product or may not even find it at all. Imagine your headset products showing up under the home utensils section; how would buyers find it?

At this point, I believe you now understand that data entry for shopify is no child’s play and it requires patience and expertise and this is what many shopify store owners are struggling to cope with day to day. Well you are, you do not need to worry anymore because there data entry services providers that provides top notch services. These providers uses their wealth of experience to help you set up and run your shopify store conveniently by carrying out the above listed processes. Below are a couple of benefits you stand to gain when your outsource or hire someone for data entry for your shopify store.

 

Advantages of hiring a Shopify data entry expert

Fast and efficient services:  These data entry service providers have staffs with years of experience in the industry and they can easily provide you with effective support and Shopify data entry services. You can easily get things done.

Deployment of latest technology: Many of these data outsourcing companies have access to latest technologies which startup businesses like yours may not have. Therefore, by outsourcing your data entry tasks to them, you will be having access to these awesome technologies.

Affordable pricing/Cost effectiveness: Outsourcing your data entry tasks is by all means less expensive than having to hire an in house staff to do them for you. Asides from having to pay salaries or wages as the case maybe, you’ll still have to buy working tools for this staff. Outsourcing on the other hand gives you access to all of these with just a little payment.

Quality customer support and management: Many of these have 24/7 customer support system that allows you to reach out to them at any time. Therefore, you do not have to worry about downtimes or system break downs.

There are several data entry outsourcing agents around and as you have known there are two sides to a coin- the good and the bad. It is important to always look out carefully before going on with hiring the services of data entry service providers.

 

Qualities of a good Shopify data entry service provider

The best Shopify data entry service providers have the following qualities that you should always look out for and these qualities includes:

  • Honesty
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Ability to produce top quality services
  • Ability to offer efficient consultancy and customer services
  • Ability to guarantee the security of your data

Searching for a suitable data entry service provider for your shopify may sometimes prove a daunting task but once you can go through the stress and emerge with the best hands you will definitely be glad.

Speaking of the best hands for your data entry tasks oworkers is the brand you can trust to handle all your shopify data entry tasks. The team consists of experienced professional who are interested in putting their skills to use for the success of your business.

Ready to begin? Then you can reach to us at oworkers.com and one of our agents will be ready to assist you.