The digitalization of consumer insights: a retrospective look

For the past three decades, our team has looked beyond paper printouts and manual research processes, continually exploring how technology solutions can transform market researchers' workflow.

There are very few companies in our industry that can claim three decades of uninterrupted experience navigating and leading the changing market research landscape. This gives our team at Infotools a unique perspective on current shifts pushing the industry toward digital transformation, as we build on a strong, decades-deep foundation of creating technology solutions that work for consumer insights.

In the early 1990s, there were clear inefficiencies in the industry: large stacks (whole backrooms full!) of paper printouts, floppy disks, printer drivers, and a DOS operating system. At that point, we didn’t see these time-consuming processes as what we might now call “pain points,” but it was clear that many manual steps and massive amounts of human-power were needed to complete projects. The market was ready and open to change.

Because Infotools was founded by market researchers, we wanted to build solutions designed specifically for the market research profession. The team looked beyond creating disjointed tools to take over manual tasks, instead explored how computing power could transform these tasks into something completely different. Our platform’s early iterations (initially desktop software) provided the foundation of what would become years of innovation and evolution of our technology-driven market research solutions. 

Each time new advances in technology appeared, our team would incorporate them into Infotools’ solutions - with the market researcher in mind. Alongside implementing the latest technology, we had to retool the desktop-based program every time there were significant changes, such as moving from DOS to Windows or 32 bit to 64. We became pretty good at anticipating the market’s needs and preemptively creating innovations to meet demands head-on.

Even back a few decades ago, some companies and forward-thinkers wanted to empower their researchers. They wanted the ability to slice and dice the data, drill down into specific data points, connect with it, and use existing brand or product knowledge to understand the ensuing insights. This drove our work to marry the market researcher mindset with technology innovations to find the stories the data was telling us.

We had a different goal than many of the other early platforms. Rather than just trying to take over what was previously done manually - e.g. creating more tables and more crosstabs - we wanted to change the whole approach. Our solutions gave the individual the ability to follow the process from data to delivery, consolidate insights, and produce reports. We strove to get data into the solution easily, update it quickly and seamlessly, and share the analysis in easily digestible formats. This continues to be the foundation of our approach today. 

Fast forward to 2021 and we have a highly advanced cloud-based platform, Harmoni, that benefits from decades of industry experience and technology advancements. We are market researchers designing solutions for market researchers. We ask, “what is the result we want to achieve?” We answer that through a researcher’s lens, creating simple, straightforward ways to handle inherent complexities with a deft use of technology. 

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