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Tool agnosticism: the new normal for programmers and analysts

Published on July 4, 2018 by Sudhir Arora

In the dynamic world of market research, new tools and technologies to conduct research are constantly being developed, as are new research methodologies.

Although paper surveys are still in use and remain relevant, programmers have come up with a host of new ideas and innovations to make the digital survey user experience a memorable and enriching one, and to yield higher quality standards of data collection. This is where tool agnosticism, i.e., skills required to work and produce results on any tool/platform, makes a compelling case.

Lack of tool agnosticism limits the number of ways research can be designed, reduces productivity and, more importantly, runs a risk of failing to leverage opportunities for valuable and accurate data collection and data presentation

These are prerequisites in our training and skill-development programs for our survey programming and data processing teams. At Acuity Knowledge Partners, we work on several assignments where our clients urgently need to migrate from one tool to another. Some popular assignments are as follows:

  • Re-designing old surveys: These require substantial changes from their original design formats, owing to the need for more detailed and accurate data collection. Re-designing such old surveys using existing platforms is nearly impossible more often than not

  • Migrating tracker studies: Studies that have been “live” for years often need to be migrated to newer survey platforms to reap benefits of new technologies such as more interactive, easy-to-navigate and appealing survey user interface etc.

  • Harmonizing and integrating platforms: Mergers and acquisitions usually force companies to do this, so they can have a unified research approach

We recently helped a global market research firm to migrate from Confirmit to Decipher.

The team initiated the core transition task that involved the following steps:

  • Questionnaire scripting feasibility – The client was given regular updates, including the challenges faced during scripting; alternative solutions were provided

  • Shell variables inclusion and exclusion – This was discussed and implemented as per client requirement

  • Survey layout feasibility – This was matched as close as possible to the original survey format

  • Delivered final data files in a format desirable to the client, i.e., Excel, SPSS and interactive dashboards

The transition was smooth and error-free, and the team did not lose even a minute part of the existing survey data. However, the project took somewhat longer expected, because the team had to run several test runs to ensure an error-free outcome. The client benefitted in three main areas:

  • Increased fieldwork efficiency by 20%

  • Improved data quality by 30%

  • Saved 20% of costs, due to less rework and accurate data collection

  • Vastly improved survey aesthetics, leading to increased (20%) survey participation

Given our global footprint and exposure, we have successfully migrated platforms for more than 10 clients in the past five years, and are currently working with multiple clients. Explore our services for Market Research firms.


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About the Author

Assistant Director, Presales

Sudhir Arora has over 12 years of experience delivering innovative solutions to Market Research Firms. He has in-depth expertise in quantitative and qualitative market research methodologies across industry sectors. At Acuity Knowledge Partners Sudhir is responsible for pre-sales activities including RFP/RFQ/RFI management, preparing cost estimates and liaising with clients for requirements, and sales support. Sudhir holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Project Management, a Diploma in Civil Engineering and is a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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