The square peg in the round hole? Part 2

24 October 2022
Authors John Bird

Business intelligence platforms in a market research world

5 min read
Square peg round hole 2

Article series

Business intelligence platforms

This article is part two of a two-part article series that covers challenges of business intelligence tools in handling market research data, and ways insights professionals can use fit-for-purpose technology to improve their ROI and workflow. 

In my last article on this topic, I covered some of the common challenges of trying to generate insights using business intelligence platforms in a market research setting. From time-consuming workarounds to problems handling complex data, sometimes the “solution” becomes part of the problem when it isn’t fit for purpose. 

If you are an insights professional, then you need to prove the value of your work and use the data you collect to its fullest potential. Using business intelligence platforms to process, analyze and report on your valuable primary research data is not the best way. Instead, look for a solution that can answer yes to questions like: 

  • Can it organise all my data, such as survey responses, online interactions, in-store shopping data, social media posts, qualitative interviews, and more, while keeping my original data intact and providing the deep level of detail I need? In a complex marketplace, with complicated consumers, most companies and brands find it vital to use multiple data sources, rather than any single study, to create and nurture understanding. This includes valuable primary research data. Look for a platform that can not only ingest all the different data sources and make sense of them in context plus, even better, do things like provide real-time data updates as respondents complete surveys and keep data intact with native connections.

  • Can it ensure accurate insights by doing things like weighting the data for representativity, quickly and easily? The right technology will not only handle the large data sets coming in but will also allow the type of statistical analysis, weighting and other functionality necessary for generating the best consumer insights. If we examine just one example, the process of sampling and weighting is a delicate balancing act and must be handled carefully to ensure that the data accurately reflects the real world. A solution that facilitates and optimises this process properly boosts data quality. Tools made specifically for market research can even allow users to compare weighted and unweighted data, critical in checking the quality of the underlying sample. The truth is that market research data is unique and requires the right solution to ensure your quality and accuracy is top-notch.

  •  Does it allow all insights team members access to data, boosting efficiency, buy-in and collaboration? Teamwork is at the heart of any good insights program, but some solutions only allow access by a chosen few. There is often a reason for this: it can be a little scary to have non-expert users touching your data. Managers often need more control over who has access to what for each project. Look for a platform that allows access and encourages collaboration, but also offers granular permissions control to provide varying levels of access for each user. This helps to maintain integrity of the data and create a more controlled environment, while still maintaining a team-focused approach to insights.

  • Does it allow easy sharing of updated insights to efficiently and accurately answer business questions on the fly? From a reporting and sharing standpoint, producing static reports and endless crosstabs is (or should be) a thing of the past. You need a system that can self-serve insights needs instantly, and share up-to-date, interactive, online reports and dashboards across departments and teams. When insights are made available to multiple people who can use them in practical, goal-oriented ways, it is a huge leap toward a data-driven foundation for decision-making across a company. Plus, even more people will have a personal stake in the insights function, helping to boost and prove value. 

One final consideration - or word to the wise - comes at the other end of the software spectrum - for those attempting to partner with in-house teams with a fit-for-purpose, dedicated market research and insights technology platform. If you’ve been around enough, and seen your fair share of product demonstrations, you’ll know there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors out there - functionality that looks impressive. It’s easy (relatively anyway) to produce a show with bells and whistles in a closed environment. Live demos, especially with your own data, can help allay your concerns that what you see is what you’re going to get. 

In short…

Intelligent market research platforms will not only have the functionality in place to handle the complexities of market research data, but will also use automation to the fullest extent to save you time. By avoiding the workarounds intrinsic in asking BI tools to handle primary research data, you can skip manual tasks and find the most significant insights and data points, quickly. Having an accessible, shareable solution helps to prove the value of the insights function across an organisation. 

Today’s “data machine” is fast-moving and ever-changing. The business landscape continues to evolve and insights professionals are being asked to prove value in significant ways. The best way to ensure ROI from your hard work is to employ technology that helps, rather than hinders, the insights process.

John Bird
Executive Vice President at Infotools

Article series

Business intelligence platforms