What to look for in a data services provider

Once you’ve identified a need to enlist the help of a data specialist, how do you choose the right one for you?

There are many different providers on the market all claiming different specialisms and this, coupled with the technical jargon that so often surrounds data, can make it difficult to establish which provider will truly deliver what you need.

With this in mind, we combined honest feedback from clients and insight drawn from our team’s combined industry experience, to compile a checklist to help you navigate the process. 

1. Experience

Only consider providers with demonstrable experience, ideally with organisations of a similar size and industry to yours. You need to be confident in your partner’s capabilities to manage and deliver your project. Usually, the more years on the job, the wider the range of challenges they will have dealt with, and the better-equipped they will be to tackle yours. Plus, lots of experience means that the provider will be skilled in developing ROI use cases to help justify the need to senior management. Don’t be afraid to ask your shortlisted providers for customer testimonials or case studies to back up their experience – if they have lots of happy clients and successful projects under their belt, they’ll be eager to shout about them!  

2. Expertise in data tools and technologies

Do your shortlisted service providers have accreditations and partnerships to their name? Service providers usually have to undergo rigorous examination processes to be awarded partner status, and this is a good indicator that they’re a trusted, leading provider in their field and have a comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of the technologies they work with.

3. A collaborative approach

When scoping out potential service providers for your business, there’s nothing worse than making an initial enquiry to then be constantly bombarded with pushy sales calls! As well as adding unnecessary pressure, it can cause you to make hasty decisions that you may regret down the line. Opt for a provider that spends the time getting to know your business and understanding your challenges. A good partner will advise you on the best route to take and take you through the process at your pace. A collaborative approach forms the best foundations for a good, long-term working relationship.

Here’s what Phil Rutter, CRN manager at Trust Ford had to say about working with us: “Qbase are a fantastic partner and I can’t recommend them highly enough. I’ve had various account managers through different service providers but Neil at Qbase is the best I’ve worked with. He’s approachable and we don’t feel like we’re getting the hard sell; he just wants the best for whatever challenge we go to him with and always comes up with a solution.”

4. Buy-in to your wider business mission

It’s important that your chosen provider cares about your organisation and business objectives – and are not just looking for the quickest route to project completion and payment. The best data services providers will challenge your brief and delve deeper into your requirements to advise how the best outcome can be achieved.

5. Long term support for your team

Can your shortlisted providers offer support for your team beyond the initial project or implementation? It’s important for your team to have a solid understanding of the next steps, or if you’re implementing a new tool or data platform, that they’re confident using it. Your partner should be willing to answer questions and offer bespoke platform training and support where needed.

Here’s what Shaun Le Geyt, CIO at Parkinson’s UK, had to say about working with us long-term: “The toolkit that Qbase provided has been extremely valuable and this is something that we keep going back to as a way to improve the quality of our data and the efficiency of our processes. Ultimately, this work means that we can enhance and further personalise our services, enabling us to support service users through their unique journeys with Parkinson’s UK.”

6. Do you get on well with them?

Open communication, honesty, and collaboration is key to the success of any project. You’ll potentially be working with your chosen data partner over weeks, months, or even years depending on the project, so it’s important that you get on as individuals and have a good working relationship. We’d always recommend meeting your potential data partners face-to-face (or via video call) before forming an agreement to test the dynamic and understand their ways of working. 

If you want to learn more about the team at Qbase and what we can offer, click here. Or, for a no-obligations chat about your data requirements, simply get in touch.