IIeX APAC consensus on data analysis and reporting - There is a better way
Is there still a place for cross tabs? Do you still use them? Why do so many still hold on to their PPT reports despite wanting more agile and faster insights? These were just a few of the questions discussed.
People logged in from all around the world to join our Director of Group Services, Horst Feldhaeuser, for his roundtable discussion during IIeX APAC’s virtual conference earlier this week. The session, called “Cross-tabs are a waste of time... but just like PowerPoint reports, they don't seem to be going away,” contained some lively discussion about the barriers and opportunities that new technology can provide when it comes to data analysis and sharing of insights and outcomes.
Horst posed several questions to the group, including: Is there still a place for cross tabs? Do you still use them? Why do so many still hold on to their PPT reports despite wanting more agile and faster insights? How can we help them to get past PPTs? What are the current barriers to putting data directly into the hands of stakeholders?
While the discussion took some twists and turns, these general themes prevailed as the attendees dove into what current demands are and why we are still using old methods to meet those demands. For example, one participant said that the reason many still use crosstabs is the fact that it’s always been done that way. Even though going down the rabbit hole of table analyses can waste a lot of time, they provide a solid framework for familiar analysis. For some, the idea of “tormenting” the data is fun and rewarding in itself.
The discussion covered an interesting barrier to introducing new methods at large companies: insights or market research teams want to control the data. There are many reasons for this, including the notion that this control is a way to prove their value and that their existence depends on acting as gatekeepers for the data. There is also a prevailing concern that non-specialists can’t safely explore the data. Company structures themselves are blocking the adoption of new solutions in these types of cases.
Technology has come so far now, and Horst maintains that we can give more people access to data and do it safely. Researchers can maintain their position and prove value by providing expert support, helping others understand the data and insights. In truth, client companies have access to data from many different sources, so why not facilitate their access? With the right solution, they can work directly on the data, do their own analysis, create reports, and update them automatically when new data is available. We can still be the expert that teaches them how to do it and the specialist that brings added-value to the table.
Being stuck in old ways of doing things isn’t really an option. There are tough, urgent timelines on both sides of the equation. As one participant said, clients aren’t asking for faster insights to be difficult - they are getting pressure from their side to meet tight deadlines. Using new technology that allows quick analysis that will transform the data into meaningful information for companies and allow easy sharing to drive business outcomes can help meet these demands.
In the end, the consensus was that both tables and PowerPoint slides are probably not going to go away anytime soon completely. They are familiar and convenient for many people. And they aren’t really the problem - it’s the way we use them that’s often the problem. However, they can pose significant challenges in the face of today’s genuine demands for faster insights and the ability to get more out of the data. Technology can help us with these standard processes and free researchers up to add more value, i.e., find the insight nuggets quicker and share them through effective storytelling.