The research industry, which has been accustomed to success for decades, is facing enormous challenges … and the Covid 19 pandemic has accelerated problem areas even further.
Answering operational questions as quickly as possible
The research business is rarely strategically oriented – most of the time, the questions are tactical, i.e., operational. The company, products, and projects must be kept “up to date” by benchmarking them with consumer opinions and feedback. And this must be done ever faster because management needs decision-making bases as soon as possible to lose as little time as possible. And these requirements tolerate less and less time-consuming, expensive, and methodologically sophisticated research. Research has to deliver – as fast as possible, as informative as possible, and as cost-effectively as possible.
The client sets the pace
In contrast to the past, it is almost exclusively the client who sets the pace in the face of increasing management demands. The time-eater “quality,” which was the argument of many institutes in earlier periods, is taking a back seat to the need for maximum speed and simplicity.
As close to “real-time” as possible is the magic word that researchers increasingly demand. In addition, budgets are not increasing but are under pressure. But – how can this be achieved?
In addition to speed, the following factors are evident for institutes: Researchers must be able to produce more efficiently, and clients must understand more quickly and receive valuable recommendations for action.
Methodological knowledge will be found in fewer and fewer clients. Familiarization costs too much time, and the demands on the clients of insight projects are so high and quantity-wise burdensome that they cannot – and often do not want to – deal with a complicated analysis.
How can we now become faster?
- Today, still slow, error-prone, and complicated, processes must be streamlined through standardization and reduced to a minimum.
- The survey concepts, which are always built “from scratch, ” will be replaced by tested and proven best practice templates.
- The setup and the processing of the results must be fully oriented towards the client’s needs. The format has to be convenient and comprehensible, and the reporting has to deliver valuable results.
But – doesn’t the quality suffer?
Simpler and faster research is not necessarily worse. Validated – i.e., best practice – methods are used. Errors in project execution are minimized by standardization and reduction of many process steps. In contrast to qualitative research, quantifying operational problems requires a predefined set of possible answers that must be validated. In addition, the standardization of question content enables benchmarking with projects of the same questions based on which clients can classify their results.
And the methodological layman?
Market research specialists, in particular, must be able to set up their projects within minutes and without outside support.
The setup must take place directly and intuitively on a platform and be geared to the most straightforward operation. This way, extensive briefings, requests for quotations, and tedious discussions with potential contracting institutes before, during, and after the project can be superfluous.
This is research for the 2020s, saving time, nerves, and money.