Research Now recently published a whitepaper looking at the importance of using reliable sources of data for research in the business world. Here is an excerpt from the whitepaper, you can read the full piece here.
Data-driven decision making is today’s must-have capability in business. Companies are transforming processes, investing in new capabilities, and hiring big data and analytics talent so executives can use data to guide their strategic business decisions – even when experience and instinct might suggest other options.
The growing reliance on data-driven decision making, however, raises the cost of inaccurate, incomplete, or slanted information to new levels. And therefore, when it comes to the most important business decisions – whether to make a billion-dollar acquisition, to spin off an existing business, or enter a new geographic market – leading companies continue to rely on professional and vetted research data.
In the digital economy, it is easy to find data that tells businesses what is happening. But businesses know that only rigorous qualitative survey research can tell them why. With more than 90 percent of consumer and virtually all B2B buyers in advanced economies connected to the internet, it is easy to get a quick opinion poll on any topic. And with big data analytics, it is possible to infer behaviours and attitudes from millions of online conversations and actions – such as websites visited. But without validating who these people are – or if they are actual people – the results can’t be trusted.
This is why companies that have too much to lose from a wrong answer continue to rely on professional and quality research data. Getting the right data at the start reduces the odds of failure, which is why acquirers consume primary research through vetted networks and panel partners on most major transactions. In an era of data-driven decision making, qualitative survey research provides corporate leaders with the critical business intelligence they need.
How professional research firms do it
What enables a professional research company to get answers to almost any question is the enormous investment in creating and maintaining qualified panels. High-quality panels are the foundation of successful research and top firms invest heavily to build solely owned and operated, first-party panels of consumers and business professionals who represent different demographic and income groups, different industries, and different locations (increasingly, panels are global in reach). These firms leverage digital fingerprinting techniques and other forms of fraud detections to ensure the integrity of well-rounded and well-built panels.
Across industries, companies are embracing data-driven decision making – relying on algorithms that plow through mountains of data to draw inferences and unearth insights. The research industry is no exception. Indeed, research companies can be regarded as true pioneers in data-driven approaches to business decisions and will continue to push the state of the art in survey techniques. When it comes to critical decisions that must be made quickly or when a company needs to learn truths that can’t be found in pools of big data, they will continue to rely on the unique skills of professional survey data industry.