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Thursday, 24 July 2014

FTO seeks 'openness' in offshore MR practices

US— Offshoring is big business and many research agencies are seeing it as a way to make costs savings – but a new organisation claims many offshorers are failing to be upfront about the practice with their clients.

The Foundation for Transparency in Offshoring (FTO) calls it the industry’s “dirty little secret”. FTO founder and chairman Tom Anderson (pictured) – owner of Anderson Analytics – says research data from a survey of 850 research buyers and suppliers demonstrates there is “a transparency gap” with fewer clients than suppliers stating that research projects are offshored.

“In most cases,” he says, “research buyers don’t even know that their projects are being offshored.”

In a bid to remedy this, the FTO has established a self-certification scheme for agencies to make a record of whether they use offshore suppliers, which parts of their projects they offshore and to what countries they outsource to.

FTO advisory board member Sonia Baldia, a partner at law firm Mayer Brown said: “Clients absolutely need to know about any offshore subcontracting and the location in order to gauge risks and protect themselves. Many offshoring destinations do not have well-developed intellectual property laws and data protection laws.”

Do you support the aims of the FTO? Let us know your thoughts below. Are research agencies too secretive in their use of offshoring, or are most suppliers honest and open about the practice?

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Readers' comments (2)

  • More transparency is always good!

    However, one of the two logos that the FTO provide is for companies claiming never to offshore. I suspect that in the EU this would not be legal in terms of European restraint of trade legislsation.

    I would also suggest that it would be at the very least amoral for any company who sold services internationally to adopt a protectionist policy about not buying from abroad.

    I also wish that the FTO had made its target transparency about outsourcing AND offshoring, as both should be disclosed, and by focusing on just offshoring the FTO is going to attract the wrong sort of attention.

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  • Hi Ray-agree to your comments above.
    I actually opened a discussion thread in LinkedIn at this adress http://bit.ly/6cWwIv, where I state my view about this initiative.

    All the best,
    Dan

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