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The 6-Step Process to Consolidating Research Technologies

A guide for what organizations should be looking for as they evaluate their survey technology stack and implement system consolidation.

As with many industries that are adapting to the changes made by technological advancement, market research organizations are finding they have accumulated various survey data tools are disparate and inefficient. Since market research organizations continue to use traditional surveys as a vehicle for gathering data, they will need to find ways to consolidate their survey technologies into a single platform. By successfully consolidating tools, organizations will be able save costs, create a standardize process and streamline back-end processes for developing and collecting new surveys.

So, what should organizations be looking for as they evaluate their survey technology stack to decide whether they need to consolidate? Here are some of the questions to ask:

Are you competitive? Start by taking a look the most essential part of any business – the clients. If an organization finds they are using multiple technologies and are unable to focus on efficiently servicing their clients, it can result in wasted efforts and longer turnaround times, making an organization less competitive.

Can you handle volume spikes? Seasonal and market changes are bound to bring occasional spikes, but take the time to evaluate whether the use of multiple tools is making it more difficult to manage the volume of work during these spikes.

Are costs starting to add up? With multiple technologies come multiple costs, which can start to add up. Not only that, but it can cause a higher dependability on certain resources with less flexibility, leading to a higher cost of execution for a lower output.

Once they’ve decided to consolidate, many organizations are challenged with what comes next. One method is to bring in external vendors to assess the current processes and conduct a full review to ensure there will be no disruption to existing business. Then, whether the review was conducted internally or externally, a Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) document should be completed that will help maintain and measure performance. After that, they can build an automated ecosystem to integrate their various tools.

Here are the six steps that go into the full consolidation process:

  1. Planning: Start planning by defining goals and aligning teams across the partnership to identify risk areas and contingencies.
  2. Refining Goals: Once goals have been defined, the company can work on separating those goals into tactics by putting in place trainings and a standard operating procedure. With a shell in place, teams can implement more efficient project management, as well as a reliable stream of communication.
  3. Automation Ecosystem Integration: It will be of utmost importance for teams to determine what automation solutions are going to be the best for the individual organization and creating an automation ecosystem that integrates existing and new tools.
  4. Transition Schedule: The transition from old systems to new will need to include a relatively quick testing phase and a live parallel test before settling on a final transition schedule.
  5. Governance Model: To ensure that all transition processes have oversight, teams will need to implement a daily or weekly meeting to review progress. Implementing a monthly meeting with senior leadership will also provide a space to discuss transition progress, challenges, and strategies to overcome challenges.
  6. Post Implementation Support: Once all transitions have taken place, a team should be put in place to manage any questions that may arise and will be tasked with monitoring, tracking and resolving issues as well as providing troubleshooting support.

In an industry that is being inundated with new forms of data collection technology, an integrated, reliable system that consolidates the best tools will enable the success of market research firms.

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