One of the best investments any company striving to be more customer-centric can make is an insights engine.
A Harvard Business Review article describes insights engines as market research groups with a “fundamentally strategic role,” responsible for distilling insights that “enable transformational actions” for their organizations. We’ve defined an insights engine as “a combination of the right people, technology, and processes to increase the accessibility and visibility of insights, ultimately empowering stakeholders to make customer-centric decisions.”
In both definitions, the key is that research groups must be distilling and distributing insights in ways that drive meaningful business decisions. And that means organizations shouldn’t just be investing in conducting or commissioning research, but in ensuring the resulting insights are packaged, shared, and preserved in ways that maximize their value.
Implementing an insights management platform, which centralizes insights and makes them easily accessible to stakeholders, is often one of the first steps to building a successful insights engine. But making the case for the upfront investment can be challenging, especially when many businesses are looking for ways to do more with less in the face of economic uncertainty. However, it’s still possible to secure budget for new technology investments when you can prove the value to your organization. Below, we’ll look at three tips to help you build a strong business case.
Make the Case for Centralizing Insights
Start by taking stock of all the different places final research documentation lives across your organization. This could include shared drives, vendor portals, email inboxes (and the list may go on). Chances are, the longer your list of repositories, the longer it takes your team members and stakeholders to find relevant insights. In some cases, your stakeholders may not even have direct access to research (e.g., they may not have credentials to access secondary research in vendor portals) and instead have to rely on your team to track down the information they need.
By implementing a centralized insights management platform to power your insights engine, you can consolidate all the research that exists across your organization into one place that your team members and stakeholders can access on demand. This not only reduces the average time it takes for users to search for information, but it also encourages increased engagement with your insights by lowering the barriers to access.
To make the case for centralizing insights, show your leadership team all the places research currently lives and the typical (painful) process stakeholders go through to track down information. It can also be powerful to conduct a survey of your stakeholders to show how much time on average they’re spending searching for information every week.
You should also consider whether there are any current content repositories that could potentially be consolidated into a single central location. Maybe you have a legacy document management system that your team rarely touches, or two different platforms with overlapping content. If you can demonstrate that centralizing insights can help your business both save time and eliminate unused (or underutilized) technology, you’ll have a compelling business case.
Join Forces With Other Team Leaders
Looking for creative ways to secure the budget you need for your insights engine? See if there are any other department or team leaders with similar goals who you might be able to share the budget with. For example, if your organization has a user experience team that is conducting its own research, you could talk to the team leader to see if they’re experiencing similar pain points and looking for a better way to centralize and distribute insights. Not only can teaming up give your budget request more power, but it can also open new opportunities for cross-functional collaboration.
Demonstrate the ROI
Your executive team’s decision to allocate budget will likely hinge on whether the business can expect a return on investment, so it’s critical that you demonstrate the value of an insights engine. If possible, use internal data to demonstrate the cost savings of an insights engine. For example, if you survey your end users on the average amount of time they spend searching for information each week and factor in their average salary, you could come up with estimates for how much you could save if you reduced that search time by even 20 or 30%.
If you already have a shortlist of insights management technology vendors, you could also see if they have any ROI metrics they can share with you. For example, Bloomfire conducted a 2022 customer data study that found:
• Market research and insights teams see an average ROI of 10:1
• Insights team members and their stakeholders engage with their insights management platform on 89% of the workdays in a year
• 95% of users report that their content is more frequently viewed in their centralized insights management platform
You can also look to your shortlisted vendors’ customer case studies to see if organizations similar to your own have shared qualitative and quantitative results. Pointing to these successes can help you build the case for your own insights engine.
Build Your Insights Engine to Grow Your Competitive Advantage
While the overwhelming majority of U.S. CEOs believe we’re heading for a recession in 2023, research shows there’s still a strong appetite for digital investments to help fuel growth. Investing in an insights engine can help your business grow its revenue and competitive advantage by enhancing the organization’s understanding of its customers and driving more data-backed decision-making. By making your case for investing in an insights engine now, you can help your organization strengthen its resilience and set itself apart from less advanced competitors.