Just when we thought the speed of change couldn’t get any faster, it sped up again. While the market research industry has been a bit better in recent years at “keeping up,” there are still some persistent issues we can’t seem to shake. One regular touchpoint that helps us keep an eye on the industry as a whole is Greenbook’s GRIT report. The latest report, which was the Business & Innovation edition, gave us some insight into what our peers and colleagues are thinking and expecting for the future.
One line in the executive summary stood out to us: “Automation continues to drive change across the industry.” This is true along the research continuum, as automation speeds up traditionally manual processes in everything from accessing sample all the way to data analysis and reporting. While some other technological concepts were touched on - such as artificial intelligence and machine learning - it was automation that was being put to use in real life scenarios and proving its value.
It’s no wonder that automation has taken center stage in an industry that values speed and quality. It helps to fulfill some of our key goals: speed to insights and overall quality. It takes over time-consuming processes, delivering insights in what can be minutes instead of weeks and eliminates some of the potential for human error to which manual processes are prone.
The GRIT report states that, from an automation standpoint, the greatest levels of adoption lay in “Analyzing unstructured data in all its forms and automating the reporting process.” We’ve seen the tangible benefits of this application of automation for our clients, as OfficeReports automates survey data analysis and reporting. In fact, one of our clients said that our automated solution has boosted the quality, speed and accuracy of their reports by more than 70%.
In a section on automated market research platform adoption, the report dives into different applications of automation and compares data from earlier studies on the use or intent to use automation for various processes. In general, the findings indicate that general use of automation has increased, but that there is still quite a bit of room for growth. Automated solutions are most used - on both sides of the insights marketplace - for data analysis, with over half of both suppliers and buyers indicating that they have adopted automation for this purpose. Respondents agree that “automation will grow in adoption in the insights and analytics industry.”
If our key goals as an industry are to deliver better quality insights, faster and more cost-effectively, then we must adopt automation to get there. Those who do not will be left behind as the industry, and the greater consumer and business landscape, continue to be disrupted and transformed, not only by global events but also by accelerating technology advancements. While attitudes and expectations within market research may be shifting, the importance of innovation and the use of automated solutions remains intact.
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