Tips & Tricks

For Better ROI, Socialize Access to Your Research Data

February 25, 2020
Emily Coughlin

For Better ROI, Socialize Access to Your Research Data

Recent research from Forrester found that 52 percent of business decisions today are made without quantitative data and analysis. That means that more than half of business decisions are based on things like experience, gut instinct, or whims. 

If you’re a market research professional, that number probably scares you. And it should! You work hard to gather and distribute data so that everyone in your organization can make better, more informed decisions.

Luckily, there’s a simple way to solve this problem so that your organization can enjoy the full value of the research you conduct: use tools that make your data more accessible. One such tool, data discovery software, gives non-researchers in your organization controlled access to data and analytics so they can be self-serving in their data-driven decision making.

Here’s a look at how to do that to both improve the ROI of your customer research data and prevent serious data misunderstandings.

The Waste Metric: How Better Data Access Means Better ROI

Why do more than half of business decisions get made based on something other than data? In part because most organizations’ data is difficult to access and query. While most organizations have virtual mountains of data – both presented in customer research reports and captured in the various software programs and applications they use to facilitate processes – much of that data sits unused.

In the case of customer research specifically, findings not captured in a final report deliverable might go forever unnoticed.

Most market researchers are aware of this, but the scope of the problem that untapped data presents is still surprising. Inaccessible data points account for… 

  • 87 percent of what’s gathered in brand tracker studies.
  • 74 percent of what habits and practices (usage and awareness) research collects.
  • 80 percent of segmentation research.

Given that organizations pay to gather this data, these numbers translate to a lot of waste.

And unused data points are only one part of the problem: a typical organization uses as many as 12 providers (from independent platforms like Qualtrics to third-party vendors like Ipsos) to collect market research data. Besides data points from individual studies being difficult to access and analyze, it’s often impossible to easily compare data points from multiple studies. Or to search across multiple studies for data points.

Again, data discovery software can help here by merging all structured data from disparate sources and make it available via text search to anyone whose work should be impacted by the insights that data has to offer. 

Sound like chaos? Read on to hear how the right features and settings on a data discovery platform can ensure that nobody has a chance to misinterpret or misunderstand your data.

Maintaining Boundaries Around Data to Ensure Proper Use

Expanding access to your customer research data can empower every stakeholder in your organization to conduct the kind of analysis that leads to better, more data-driven decisions. 

But what happens when less data-savvy team members misunderstand what they see? What happens when an inexperienced colleague forgets to apply appropriate filters and makes decisions based on “findings” that are completely wrong?

When data is misused, the backlash can be catastrophic.

Luckily, data discovery software comes with controls and filters you can apply to ensure that your colleagues look at the correct data points and consider them within the appropriate context.

For example, if you work on a product team that only sells to female consumers but your market research includes data on both men and women, you could set up default filters to only show data relevant to women’s answers. 

Or maybe your brand tracker collects lots of data points that aren’t relevant to a specific product you offer. With a data discovery platform, you could set up controls that prevent certain stakeholders from even seeing those questions so that they aren’t distracted by irrelevant data or confused about how it might apply to their work.

In other words, you can establish guardrails to ensure that everyone who has access to your organization’s customer research is positioned to use the data it contains safely and appropriately.

Letting Data Drive Decisions

These days, “data driven” has become a buzzword. And while high-volume data collection has certainly become the norm, the universal application of data to business decisions has lagged in many organizations.

To correct that problem, organizations need to find ways to make their data more accessible to the people making those decisions. In the area of customer research, that means democratizing access to customer research data for all stakeholders. By doing this in an intelligent, reasonable way, it’s possible to improve outcomes in every area of your business, which means you get greater value for every data point you have.


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