September 09, 2019

The Insight Leader’s Guide to Self-Service Research

This guide distils best practices, frameworks and examples from several years’ of work helping insight leaders implement change.

It aims to give you some practical tools and checklists to introduce self-service insights – whether that’s within your own team or supporting other departments. 

There are seven steps to success outlined in the guide:

  1. Start with users. Any change needs to balance the three sides of the golden triangle: people, process, technology. Tempting as it may be to start with the tech, it is absolutely vital to start with users; ensure your plans fit with their process; and only then move on to the technology.
  2. Create the pitch. Whether it’s aimed at your own team or another department, you’ll need to sell your vision to bring people along with it. Ground it business strategy and appeal to the heart as well as the head. 
  3. Write the rules. Bad research can damage the customer experience and influence bad decisions. Put in place clear guardrails and frameworks to mitigate the risk. An example framework is provided that you can adapt for your own needs. 
  4. Develop the skills. Whether it’s your own team or other departments, building the right research skills is critical. 
  5. Implement knowledge management. When multiple teams can run their own research, there’s a risk of duplicating similar projects. This is not only a waste of resources, but can lead to conflicting ‘consumer truths’ in different parts of the organisation. Even a simple approach to using a common tools and templates can help avoid this. 
  6. Refresh external partnerships. Self-service doesn’t mean entirely self-reliant. External help will still be needed, but it won’t be on the same basis as traditional agency relationships. Plan for a mix of help from technology providers and freelancers as well as agencies – and be creative with your commercial relationships. 

Source the right technology. The final section provides a framework and a checklist for assessing software providers. No platform will do everything you want perfectly; but if you use the checklist consistently you should end up with the most suitable partner.