10 Mar 10 Satisfaction with outsourcing: Educational vs. STM publisher

One would expect customer satisfaction levels with outsourcing providers to be proportional to the years spent in outsourcing. However, our findings from a recent survey of publishing industry segments – STM/Academic and Educational publishing threw some of these assumptions off the mark. It is surprising to note that publishers from the STM/Academic segment indicate such low levels of satisfaction with outsourcing despite being pioneers in outsourcing and offshoring.

Source: ValueNotes Research

Dissatisfied buyers reflect badly on providers (including captives) servicing the segment. The growth in production-related outsourcing (and offshoring) by STM publishers has over the years spawned several small, fly-by-night operators, incapable of providing sustained and consistent delivery of services. Also, several mid-sized providers have not innovated sufficiently to match the growing expectations of STM publishers. In general, complacency, lack of consistent quality and delivery amongst providers has contributed to this dismal rating.

The education segment, on the other hand, has close to 80% of respondents being moderately satisfied – of which 20% have indicated high levels of satisfaction. Educational publishing requires somewhat niche capabilities. The large providers that cater to educational publishers have taken the effort to develop these capabilities. Even the mid-small vendors in this space have built their businesses around differentiated offerings with a clear focus on content and design capabilities and not merely production services.

While providers catering to both segments have a long way to go, those servicing STM publishers need to go all out to enhance customer satisfaction, else some of these risk losing business. On the other hand, providers servicing the educational publishing segment face an uphill task of pushing satisfaction levels from moderate to high. This will entail higher levels of servicing, quality in output and consistency of delivery.

ValueNotes Research
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