Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
The U.S. market for geospatial services totaled US $2.2 billion in 2010, representing 50% of the global market. Data-processing firms subcontract labor-intensive portions of data services to offshore providers in South and East Asia and Eastern Europe. In general, half of all offshore contracts fail within the first 5 years because one or more parties consider the relationship unsuccessful. Despite the high failure rates, no study has examined the offshore vendor selection process in the geospatial industry. The purpose of this study was to determine the list of key offshore vendor selection criteria and the efficacy of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) for ranking the criteria that North American geospatial companies consider in the offshore vendor selection process. After the selection of the initial list of factors from the literature and their validation in a pilot study, a final survey instrument was developed and administered to 15 subject matter experts (SMEs) in North America. The SMEs expressed their preferences for one criterion over another by pairwise comparisons, which served as input to the AHP procedure. The results showed that the quality of deliverables was the top ranked (out of 26) factors, instead of the price, which ranked third. Similarly, SMEs considered social and environmental consciousness on the vendor side as irrelevant. More importantly, the findings indicated that the structured AHP process provides a useful and effective methodology whose application may considerably improve the quality of the overall vendor selection process. Last, improved and stabilized business relationships leading to predictable budgets might catalyze social change, supporting stable employment. Consumers could benefit from derivative improvements in product quality and pricing.