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Company news - May 2018

By Ben Daubney |
Company news - May 2018

Hey everyone!

A short but important update from us this month. We've just launched something we've been working on for a while that we're very excited about.


How we've historically delivered data

Vanson Bourne's been going since 1999, and though how we deliver results back to clients has changed a lot in the intervening nineteen years (!) there's always been one constant: emailing an Excel file with breakdowns of the questions.

The style of that spreadsheet has changed a lot over the years, always trying to make the results easier to digest and navigate around. Sometimes we've made minor changes where we've updated our colours or branding, but mostly we've thought about whether the file is easy to use.

We've tried all sorts of experiments over the years: would graphs on the page make the data easier to digest, or do they just lead to looking at the largest result? How can we add analysis - per question, or overall? And where should that analysis sit? Is it better to list lots of cuts of data, or just a handful of what we and our clients feel will be most important?

Since our last major revision to that first deliverable, lots of things have changed. Our clients want access to data quicker than ever, and not everyone wants to plough through a spreadsheet. In fact, we've seen metrics that show that people sitting at Windows computers with Excel installed have dramatically decreased, and though a good old .xlsx file can be opened in lots of spreadsheet programs it's rarely a perfect experience.

And though we've got our super forensic project process that means the team delivers accurate and thorough results, there's a fair amount of manual work and checking in those Excel documents that just can't be automated.

So we've thought about the process again. How should we be delivering results to clients in 2018? A big group of us have been looking at this for what seems like forever - our operations director Jo Weeks in particular has been doggedly labouring over the technical details and deserves a medal for getting a working solution in place - and we're very proud to roll it out this month.


How we now deliver data

We're migrating away from emailing our clients an Excel document, and instead giving our clients a link to access their data online.

We call this our data link deliverable, and you can read about it (and see an example) here.

In short, it's an online reporting tool that looks a bit like our most recent version of our spreadsheet reports. But it's so much better. How so?

  • It's platform agnostic. It should look and behave the same no matter what system or browser you're using.
  • It's easy to navigate. You select from a menu at the top what question from the research you want to see, and you can select if you'd like to see the data by country, by sector, by size of organisation, or anything else.
  • A big one: it's quick to get extra cuts of the data. With a spreadsheet, we'd have to recut the data, run it through our reporting macros, do a fair amount of manual refinement, then check that the data hadn't been altered through those changes. Now, we can set up one or two changes in the background and have the changes on the link in minutes.
  • Speaking of getting data quicker - we're able to get the link to clients before the research is even complete. Want an idea of what the big results might be or what the data is saying? We can send the link and let you see what the data is saying ahead of time.

Those last two points in particular we think will be very important to lots of clients. Who wouldn't want quicker access to their results, and when we're all looking at the results and thinking about how one question might look when crosstabbed with another question, the ability to get that cut in moments and in a client-ready view is brilliant.

If you're someone that loves our big Excel documents, this might cause you a bit of concern. Don't worry! In the first instance the data link includes an export button so everything can be outputted to your spreadsheet program of choice. And if a spreadsheet is truly all that you need, our team will still deliver that to you rather than an online link at your request.

We're offering data links for all of our projects from this point onwards, and we'll be closely looking at your feedback to see how we can continue to improve these online reports. Drop us a line if you have any feedback or if you'd like to know more!


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