There is a lot of talk these days about meeting the demands of big data; but what promises to significantly change, if not ultimately transform, the research industry is the demand for integrated insights.
As an industry, market research needs to ramp up for the special opportunities and demands of a data-rich world – whether that is “big” or “little” data. When we moved from telephone to online, the fundamentals of how researchers do their jobs did not change – the focus typically was on executing and delivering insights within the cocoon of an individual study. However, our ability to effectively create new data-rich ecosystems is demanding new platforms, tools and talent to effectively ‘connect the dots’ for our clients.
We are far from a point where we can simply push a button and have a program produce business-relevant, context-specific insights that are client ready. Instead, what we are moving to the construction of platforms that harness information from these data-rich ecosystems. Simply bringing different information sources together is not enough – our analytic tools must evolve, as well. More robust data visualization techniques for analyzing and uncovering trends are a critical adjunct to these platforms.
Finally, with the right platform and tools in hand, researchers need to change, as well. In particular, they need to become insight hunters, selecting the appropriate information sources to focus on, recognizing trends within these various sources, and integrating insights from their analysis to create points of view and specific recommendations. This is not to say that traditional MR skills and industry expertise lose meaning; but if they are not married to new awareness and approaches, today’s researchers run the risk of becoming tomorrow’s dinosaurs.