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Cracking the code: how social media delivers business intelligence for outsourcing advantage

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Outsourcing buyers and service providers need accurate business intelligence to make the right commercial and strategic decisions. Traditional sources such as industry surveys, press analysis and businesses’ own data still provide the essential information outsourcing leaders need – but the landscape is changing fast. With over 30 billion pieces of information and opinion now exchanged online through social media every month, this channel is becoming an increasingly important source of business intelligence.

Social media activity can help outsourcing leaders develop a better understanding of what is happening in their marketplace and lend insight to key questions on specific deals. However, the extraordinary volume of electronic chatter generated by social media presents a significant challenge – it’s not dissimilar to the challenge that wartime code-breakers faced as they sought to ‘crack the code’ and extract relevant information that they could transform into military intelligence.

How can outsourcing leaders access the business intelligence “encoded” in social media conversations to gain commercial advantage?

PA offers a solution. Our specialist team applies sophisticated analysis and expert interpretation to turn information gleaned from publicly available social media conversations into ‘social intelligence’. This intelligence – used in combination with traditional business intelligence – brings a new level of transparency to the outsourcing landscape and gives leaders the insight they need to inform commercial and strategic moves.

To find out more about using social intelligence to achieve outsourcing advantage, contact us now. 

Social intelligence can help outsourcing buyers and service providers in three main ways:

Fine-tune contracts through better forecasting

Business intelligence from social media data can help outsourcing buyers understand sooner than conventional data sources how their future demand for services is likely to develop and therefore how much capacity they will need from a service provider. By defining their future requirements more accurately, outsourcing buyers can reduce the cost and risk associated with buying too much or too little capacity.

Service providers can use the same forecasting techniques to assess a current or prospective client’s future requirements more accurately and adjust the risk premium built into a contract, thereby improving value offered to the client.

Find out what customers really think and want

Social intelligence gives outsourcing buyers a new way of finding out how likely a prospective service provider is to deliver on service performance commitments. By taking into account the views expressed by the service provider’s existing clients and employees publicly on social media, outsourcing buyers can gain a richer picture of likely future service than they could get from a provider’s formal track record alone. Intelligence drawn from employees’ comments on social media, for example, could reveal both operational strengths and/or challenges in a given service delivery centre location.

Clearly, this new type of transparency presents challenges for service providers – but also opportunities. Analysing social media conversations can help providers identify unmet customer needs and use this intelligence as the basis for planning new services to win market share and increase sales.

Understand what’s happening in the market

Business intelligence from social media can give both outsourcing buyers and service providers early insight into market trends, which they can use to shape their own strategic approach.

For example, social intelligence could alert outsourcing buyers to an emerging trend among their competitors to secure cost of service advantage through offshoring, allowing them time to explore whether this approach would work for them.

Similarly, social intelligence can give service providers early warning of emerging staff attrition trends in either their own or competitors’ delivery locations, giving them time to consider and evaluate options to retain competitiveness or capitalise on opportunity. Recent PA analysis of social media conversations, for example, revealed significant leading indicators of staff attrition trends in key offshore service delivery markets months ahead of time. Armed with this information, service providers can manage this risk and very likely pre-empt its potential impact to operations.

To find out more about using business intelligence from social media to achieve outsourcing advantage, contact us now

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