Spotlight On Consultancy
This month we’re chatting with Russ Budden, Head of Consultancy.
Tell us a bit about E-Tabs Consultancy and what you do?
First and foremost, we are here to help.
We want to find out how your team operates – the types of reports and presentations you do, the building processes, the amount of time it takes to create reports, how you want to deliver your survey results to stakeholders, and the stories you’re trying to convey with data. Only then can we advise on ways to help save you time, to help make the process quicker, easier, and more cost-effective, and help ensure your reports are engaging and impactful.
The idea behind what we do is that time saved at the report building stage can be reallocated in order to give you more time for deeper analysis and storytelling. Your clients are demanding more insight from their data – more business decision making stories – however, this takes a great amount of time and there are only so many working hours in the day. We find efficiencies in the early stages, to give you back this time – when it comes to PowerPoint reports, for example, this can be up to 60-80% of the time it takes to manually produce your reports.
How long have you been working in market research?
I’ve been working in the industry for almost 15 years, with the majority of time spent agency side. However, I’ve also worked for advertising agencies as well as a dashboard consultancy, creating bespoke dashboards for many media insight teams. Having previously worked agency side, it provides me with a unique understanding of the challenges researchers face every day, and thus being able to marry the key benefits of our solutions with real-world applications.
You speak with agencies and insight teams from around the world, what are the common reporting & visualization challenges they face?
Every agency thinks their issues are unique when, in fact, they share many common challenges. The data may be in a slightly different format or arrangement, the reports and presentations may be ‘customised’, but the principles and challenges are the same. And our clear understanding of these challenges has guided us in the development of our software and services. Some of these common reporting challenges are:
- Clients are demanding more
Clients want more for their money – no longer are they happy with just a PowerPoint deck and a presentation – they want insights! They want business decision changing insight nuggets and they are expecting them with every presentation. Our solutions give you back the time and resources to ensure you can find and deliver these nuggets. Clients are also demanding more engaging reports & presentations, and so we have developed software and services to help you create easily data-driven reports with impact.
- Accuracy in reports
Accuracy is critical to any research project; one wrong number could question the integrity of an entire project. Manually produced reports always carry an element of mistakes – a wrong column copied and pasted could easily go unnoticed. Researchers want to ensure their reports are 100% accurate and our tools help ensure the right numbers are in the right places and give you peace of mind knowing delivered reports are accurate.
- Internal expertise
For many researchers, they already have some sort of ‘automation’ through the use of VBA and macros. However, these talents tend not to be distributed amongst the organisation, usually, only one or two people are the experts. Which is great, until that person leaves and takes all of their knowledge with them! Or they’re ill when a new macro needs to be created. Furthermore, macros and VBA have no flexibility, so should there be any changes to the project, the reporting will be broken and new macros will need to be created again. With our comprehensive training and support programme, we ensure that as many people as possible are trained on how to use our solutions. If people leave, we train the next ones up!
- Visually impressive reports that deliver impact
There is a widespread desire to make reports nicer to look at – moving away from ‘boring’ charts to be more infographic. Effective visual communication of your data is now not a value add, but a must! Our new Vizualz PowerPoint add-in allows researchers (rather than the graphic designer!) the ability to create PowerPoint data visualizations at the click of a button – making reports less chart reliant and more visually pleasing!
What is the future of deliverables, is PowerPoint still the preferred option?
There clearly is a wave of interest for online reporting, interest in our new MR dashboard tool Iris has demonstrated this. People are looking for an alternative to ‘traditional’ business intelligence tools such as Tableau etc – they don’t answer all the needs of the industry and their pricing can often be very difficult to understand. So there is a desire to move some reporting online. However, irrespective of this, PowerPoint is still the dominant delivery format. I remember spending weeks building a beautiful online dashboard and the first question I would get back from a client would be ‘can I put this into PowerPoint?’. I think the challenge for the industry is working with both online reporting and offline reporting (PowerPoint) seamlessly. There will always be a reliance on PowerPoint for report delivery, however, it often isn’t the most appropriate tool for the dynamic display of MR data – for that, online reporting takes over.