Feb 22

Research management within companies

Most companies have customer-related information at their disposal. Especially those who offer digital products usually try to gather as much of this data as possible. Actually, most of the interaction the users or customers have with said companies or their products leave measurable or trackable data. This information which effectively describes the target group is valuable to numerous departments such as marketing, product development, and UX/usability and user researchers.

As a consequence of companies valuing user and market-related data highly, data is gathered where- and whenever possible. There are multiple sources that feed this growing amount of information. This can result in companies having an abundance of raw data but not knowing how to use it. Therefore, decision-makers gather lots of information about their users and still don’t really know what characterizes them and their needs.

How to gain knowledge from data

When trying to figure out how to increase your product’s usability or improve its UX, data itself isn’t the key. In order to figure out what your customers need you don’t need data but knowledge. From this, you can develop measures that you must take in order to achieve this goal. The crucial part of this problem is that data doesn’t generate knowledge if it isn’t evaluated appropriately.

In order to figure out what your customers need you don’t need data but knowledge.

Since the evaluation of data is particularly time-consuming, it is difficult to use all the data available from a company efficiently. Especially if the corresponding tools are not available. Because of this, the bottleneck no longer is gathering data but evaluating it, especially considering modern survey technology and the possibility to recruit participants online. If data is gathered from different sources such as newsletter subscriptions, sales, monitoring, marketing, and web analytics, you should also gather and ideally manage it in one central place.

The bottleneck no longer is gathering data but evaluating it.

Users constantly generate data – the challenge is managing it.

Using intelligent tools and supportive technology as a research aid can help researchers solve this problem. Using AI that has been trained with the available data, there are a number of tasks that can be facilitated. Transcription of audio files, comparison, and visualization of data, tag, and keyword searches within texts are just some examples of assistive technologies that can help researchers to annotate data and connect insights intuitively.

Gaining structure through insights management

Consistent insights management helps to gather, process, analyze, and interpret user-related data. As a result, product developers, designers, and other stakeholders have access to reliable information about the target group’s desires, motivations, needs, opinions, and behavior. You can pose questions such as “How do users feel about my product, service, or brand?” “What is the motivation behind their purchases?” “Which actions should I take to increase acquisition rates and customer loyalty?”. You’ll get a deeper view into the customer’s needs.

Areas that benefit from research management

Besides helping you to identify and discontinue old ideas about your user base, insights management can also help you in the following areas:

  • Product development
    Development teams need to know the needs and preferences of users well in order to develop products that are accepted. Products offered by the competition and users’ reactions to previous versions and prototypes of the product should be considered as well.
  • Defining a target group
    Use all data available to find out who your customers are, what they value, which opinions they share, which alternative or additional products they use, and what they think about your service and competing offers.
  • Content Marketing
    Use reliable information about your target group to align your interests with your users and develop a defined marketing strategy. Determine how to address users appropriately, which stories speak to them and which channels to use to reach them.
  • Sales
    Use your knowledge about users’ needs and their motives for buying or not buying products to find out how to increase sales numbers. Information about their preferences and expectations as well as what price they would be willing to pay for your product or service are especially helpful when trying to improve sales.
  • New features
    Developers don’t always have a lot in common with their intended user group. Because of this implementing features that are helpful and interesting to your customers can be tricky. Insights management can help you to figure out in which areas your users would be willing to pay for your product is lacking.

Sharing insights within and across teams

The best way to make a work process successful is to process knowledge and data efficiently. If the data is not well prepared, this can block several parties in their work. Processes could, therefore, take longer than necessary.

Sharing data can be the key to efficient teamwork

Insights management tries to remedy this problem by storing data in a way that enables all decision-makers to access it. The bigger the amount of available data becomes, the more important it is that teams can base their work off a unified source of shared data.

Benefits of research management

The use of research management can help the whole company to behave more user-oriented. This can make it easier to justify decisions to managers, superiors, or other external stakeholders. Above all, insights management improves knowledge of the market and the target group. It also reduces the time and resources required for research. It also helps you find the needle in the haystack of user-related data. In addition, decision-makers always have access to the information they need and can make efficient, informed decisions.

How to implement research management in your company

To support research management, you can use intelligent tools that facilitate the management and evaluation of your data.

Essential features a tool should provide to support your research are:

  • A repository/archive for your data

    Usually, research data and findings drawn from the collected data vanish in presentations or PDFs on a shared drive. As a result, we lose knowledge, learn the same thing over and over across an organization, decision-makers do not have access to this information at the right time, and the whole product management process is prolonged. Use tools that store your data in a central location that is accessible to everyone who needs it.

  • File upload

    When carrying out user research, you collect lots of data in a wide variety of file formats. The raw data is often in the form of video or audio (e.g., a screen-recording from a usability test) or textual form (e.g., a transcript of an interview). It is therefore important that the tool makes a file upload possible in order to be able to save not only the results but also its raw data in the right place.

  • Tagging/coding

    In the field of qualitative research, the categorization of essential parts of your data is an important aspect for further analysis and spotting of themes. A tool should give you the opportunity to structure your results with the help of categorization or tagging.

  • Insights management and search function

    The quintessence of user research is the creation of insights about your customers. You’ll gain new knowledge of your users’ pain points, concerns, needs, issues, and wants during the research process. Producing clear comprehensible results makes it easier for decision-makers to directly access the information they need. The main advantage is: Structured research is searchable to find previous insights, findings, and conclusions quickly. An assistive tool, therefore, should also include a search function. Given large amounts of data (that comes together quickly during user research), the search should be as specific as possible.

  • Collaboration in teams

    The larger your department, the harder it is to work together on a project at the same time. Look for a tool that allows you to collaborate with your team members. At the same time, you should be able to easily share your insights with stakeholders to keep them up-to-date and present your findings.

One solution to implement research management in your company is consider.ly. Discover, organize, analyze, and document insights from your user research in one tool. consider.ly enables you and your team to create searchable research findings and helps you spot patterns assisted by AI. Start your free trial today.

About The Author

Anne is interested in all topics around user research, user testing, as well as usability and UX.