8 Common Insight Platform Pitfalls (and How to Avoid Them)

After more than 10 years working in online and mobile market research I have worked with many insight, product and marketing professionals to set-up insight platforms to guide the business to success.

In order to deliver success from your insight tools it takes careful consideration of what you want to achieve, there are a wide array of options on the market and we have written about important considerations in the process before. But today, I want to share a few potential pitfalls and how to avoid them. If you have an appetite for innovation and trying out new things then you have the most potential to really innovate research and have a positive impact on your organisation. Here are the key pitfalls to avoid:

1. Not understanding stakeholders capabilities

Purchasing a platform to deliver on your insight questions inevitably means you have made an estimate about your wider teams needs and the best way to measure success of your platform is by the way your wider team engages with these insights, but sometimes a stakeholder has requested a log in to ‘DIY’ as they are really skilled and quick learning with tech.

But that could lead to problems when they come to use the platform because they don’t have as strong an understanding of research design and interpretation as trained researchers do. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t empower them to do their own research you just need to build the right support in to ensure it is a success. Neil Gupta’s busts some further myths on DIY do’s and don’ts here.

What should stakeholders and insight professionals look for in an insight platform? What knowledge and understanding would help to navigate any platform pitfalls?

2. Assuming surveys will answer 99% of your questions

Now more than ever, insight teams have a big opportunity to engage with audiences in creative ways to uncover the stories behind their needs, desires and behaviours. Online surveys have provided us with excellent, agile ways to engage with audiences but there are many more options on a fast timescale; UX’ers might use video chats and diaries, product teams might want to test using smartboards and video groups — buying a platform that has the capability to cater more widely to deliver qualitative and quantitative insights helps to ensure you can demonstrate ROI across all your teams.

3. Subscribing to a powerful tool that is too complex

Sometimes the choice out there for your insight platform can be really overwhelming. With such a wide variety of tools, features and capabilities on offer it is difficult to narrow the field down, but do not fall into the trap of creating a large spreadsheet of all the capabilities in one spreadsheet so that you evaluate who offers the most — quantity does not equal quality and whilst a good range of features is important, what you really need to consider is which capabilities will you need to use often and do they deliver what the business needs; these are the features that make or break the success of your platform. Will your insight platform make insight more accessible across your organisation?

4. Belief in automation for everything

One pitfall when setting up your insight platform is to subscribe to a platform that gives you amazing value but completely removes all the humans from the equation, time and time again research with humans is messy, unpredictable and doesn’t fit in a drop down box so don’t invest all of your budget in the tech if you don’t have someone you can talk to to make it work for your needs.

5. Set up a system for your needs now only

It is important to consider how flexibly your platform will grow with your company throughout the year, business needs and demands can change and you might want to re-configure access to your platform, audiences you are targeting or how you are reporting into the business, check out you have flexibility and options to grow that suit your business to avoid finding yourself with a platform that doesn’t meet with your needs in 6 months’ time.

6. Using too many different systems

One of the best opportunities to resolve real pain points across your team is to source a new platform that allows you to consolidate, reduce cost and increase efficiency, the temptation can be to subscribe to many different insight platforms to provide different team members with specific functions that support them to do their roles but take a step back and think whether there is another way — could processes in different areas actually be more standardised and that give rise to new ways of working and more use of data and tools?

One of the key considerations when choosing an insight platform, is to think about what the platform can do instead of how it aids the delivery of ROI or business needs.

7. Ask about the strategy of your insight platform partners

One advantage of choice is that you can think beyond today’s needs and about which platforms support your longer-term vision, ask about their long-term roadmap and where they see themselves so that you can check that the platform will in the future still cater for your needs well and your goals are aligned with those of the organisation.

8. Thinking about what the platform can do instead of how to deliver ROI/business needs

We all love to experiment with the capabilities of software and I have been blown away by an impressive reporting output/visualisation/analytics capability many times myself, but when it comes down to it at least 40% of your requests will be specific and need a bespoke study every time, so being set-up with too many standard templates can actually hinder your success instead of support it — the most common pitfall is to subscribe to too specific a model that doesn’t then flex to the wider team and changing business demands.

How to Avoid Common Platform Pitfalls

In summary I’d say that getting the right tools and functionality from your insight platforms is as much about the services your partners offer as it is the technology so if you’ve got a good sense of who they are, a few built-in contingencies for where the business might go across the year and a determination to succeed then I’m sure you will find the right platform/s and deliver success.

This article was originally published on the FlexMR Insight Blog and can be accessed here.

We empower brands to inform every decision at the speed of business by delivering on-demand insight and enterprise grade research technology. www.flexmr.net

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