The Most Difficult Stages of Starting Cooperation with a Data Analysis Partner and How to Manage Them

A Step by Step Guide for Every Business

Cooperation with any partner entails certain risks and concerns – this is completely normal. These risks or concerns are greater the more information about our company we need to communicate. So if this is to be cooperation with a data analysis partner, these risks are special. Because we provide them with knowledge, access to what is often the most valuable in organizations – knowledge, data, and problems. However, this is an apparent fear, because choosing a trusted and reliable partner allows the company to benefit much more than keeping data in lockdown. Let’s take a closer look at the most important aspects of starting cooperation with a data analysis partner.

Potential Risks of Engaging in Cooperation with a Data Analysis Partner

However, in order to reap these benefits, it is necessary to skillfully distinguish between the partner who it is worth working with from the one with who it is not worth engaging in cooperation. It is also necessary to observe specific procedures eliminating potential risks.

What Are the Risks of Cooperation in the Scope of Data Analysis?

In general, we can divide risks into several areas:

1. Organizational – i.e. communication with a partner – will the partner be responsive, communicative? Will the partner be proactive?

2. Legal – Is our data secure? How to reduce the risk of their being transferred by the partner onto other parties?

3. Technical – How to ensure secure access to infrastructure, e.g. databases, BI tools.

4. Verification – How do I assess whether the tasks performed and the interpretations provided are really accurate? How do I not lose knowledge for the benefit of a partner? I.e. how to keep some knowledge in the organization.

All these risks make some companies decide to reject the possibility of cooperation with an external partner and thus resorting to the recruitment of an in-house employee. This is very often connected with a mistaken belief that such an operation is cheaper, safer, and certainly more profitable.

In-House Analyst vs. External Data Analysis Partner

However, this is a thoroughly misguided approach, which can be detrimental to the company. Of course, I know the advantages of an in-house employee but I will not consider them this time.

Drawbacks of In-House Recruitment

It is worth noting, however, that such an approach also has its drawbacks:

  • Recruitment costs, related not only to the advertising costs (symbolic amounts) but above all else to the cost of time lost for recruitment processes, waiting for the candidate’s arrival, etc. As a rule, it is a period of about 3 months, during which all activities are discontinued.
  • Costs of introducing the employee to the company system, becoming acquainted with all procedures, etc.
  • Difficulty in replacing an employee if they are found to be inappropriate,
  • Knowledge deficits – the employee has a specialization in a particular field but may not know other required fields
  • Potential lack of experience, cases owned, or resources for re-use.

External Data Analysis Partner’s Advantages

In the case of an external partner, all these factors are quite irrelevant and easy to eliminate:

  • Employing an external partner is much faster
  • Implementation costs are also lower as the analytics company has a wider pool of analysts with different skills and experiences
  • No knowledge deficit problem occurs as the partner selects the right resource for the specific case. We, therefore, have a greater guarantee that our task will be carried out by a specialist
  • Costs are also lower because we actually pay for hours worked, not for extra meetings or organizational matters.

How do I Eliminate the Risks Mentioned Above?

1. Organizational Risk

Let us base the cooperation on Jira type project tools, supported by current communication via Slack, Skype, Microsoft Teams, etc. The whole is complemented by regular statuses and calls. Let’s precisely determine the scope of cooperation with a partner and the most convenient way of contacting them and working mode, so as to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.

2. Legal Risk

It is worth protecting oneself by signing appropriate agreements, specifying contact persons and the scope of activities realized. Moreover, good practice includes signing an NDA by both parties.

3. Technical Risks

Security of accesses, e.g. through VPN, is a clear limitation of the technical risks.

4. Partner Verification Related Risks

The selection of a partner is very difficult. It is best to do it on the basis of held certificates, experience, references, and performed works. If we know that company X uses the services of a specific analytic partner, it is worth asking about their experience and evaluation of their cooperation.

Each reliable data analysis partner will be happy to help us in the implementation of the above steps, to ensure a fast and effective start of cooperation. Moreover, at our request, it will allow us to contact our prospective partner’s selected client, this way enabling us to discuss such cooperation with someone who already functions in such a system.

How Do I Start Cooperation with a Data Analysis Partner

What is important here is the proper preparation for cooperation on the part of our company, such as: appointing a designated person and their subordinate team to work with a partner. The aim of this cooperation should be to arrange it in such a way that the partner acts as our internal analytics department. The partner should also be responsible for training, recruitment support (yes, cooperation with an analytic partner and having your own analyst is a perfect mix) and for the results, which encourages proactivity and strengthens cooperation. With a good partner, we can definitely achieve more, because their distance will allow for an objective evaluation of data and specific situations.

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