It’s one thing to use new technology solutions. It’s another to use technology to its fullest. This article discusses how to make sure technology gets used to help teams understand customers and drive results.
“It helps the adoption curve when companies don’t just bring it in, dump it on you and leave,” said Terrae Schroeder, human insights lead at Clorox and a Voxpopme advisory board member, on “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show.” “To have somebody there ongoing, answer your questions to get you up and run. But also give you more options when you are in a time crunch. Pulling that all together is helping teams embrace technology.”
Trends in technology adoption
Technology needs to bring value
Understanding the gaps technology fills
Challenges to technology adoption
What’s a technology investment strategy
Triggers to increase technology adoption
Skills needed to make tech work
Who should own the technology adoption process?
Trends in technology adoption
Of course, technology has evolved and has for a while. That’s not different in MR tech.
Terrae said newer technology she spotted in the MR tech space include:
- Artificial intelligence
- Machine learning
Then there’s also:
“It’s cool because advances can automate many non-value-added tasks,” she said.
Technology has to bring value.
Meanwhile, what services are offered by companies is also evolving, Terrae reported. Before we had the Do-it-Yourself space and the full-custom space, she said. Now, people are finding that there’s a lot of demand for the middle of the spectrum.
“Companies want to have a platform to collect data, have access to panels, and integrate with other services,” he said.
Whether it’s DIY, integrated, or fully outsourced research, it’ll make the adoption so much easier when the tech is practical and easy to use.
Good technology also helps researchers do their jobs faster, which is undoubtedly a pressure many feel. Rick Kelly of Fuel Cycle put it this way:
But the speed can’t cause the loss of value and quality, said Terrae. Using software platforms that offer speed and quality can help companies adopt technology better and quicker. There’s a payoff to getting it implemented.
Understanding the gaps technology fills
Some projects can be completed through DIY human insights platforms. But, there’s also a need to understand when DIY is the way to go and when there needs to be a more extensive conversation and project, said Jenn Vogel, SVP of marketing at Voxpopme and host of “Reel Talk.”
“I think of it as tech enabling to help us move faster,” said Meghan Lacy, director of enterprise expansion at Suzy. on an episode of “Reel Talk.” “More to be in the moment with consumers, more authentic and be where consumers are. But I don’t know that, at least soon, we’ll ever be able to move away from the benefit of having those brainstorming conversations with partners. And having another person with a different perspective helps you find the best approach to a business challenge.”
Jenn said technology has shifted the skills needed. To code, a survey used to take way more skills than it does now, for example. But, we still need to brainstorm to determine the best strategy for getting the best possible research.
Read next: 7 steps to conduct research successfully
The biggest challenge to technology adoption in an organization
“It’s evolving so fast and furious; it’s almost like a firehose of new things coming at us,” Terrae said. “There are so many new things, new options, and different ways to do things now. It’s hard even to have time in your day to understand what are all those options.”
Some teams have created a role that leads new technology – including technology adoption and evolution.
“The job is to find these tools out there, these next-gen research applications,” Terrae said. “Assess them, vet them, make recommendations on where they should invest and bring them into the organization.”
Consider a technology investment strategy.
Because research is such data and tech-heavy, organizations should have an investment strategy for their MR tech stack.
“If you don’t have a dedicated team member to this, it can be a real struggle for individual team members to figure this out,” she said.
The strategy should look toward the future and align:
- Business goals
- Workflow barriers and efficiency issues
- Available technology
We need to realize that an MR tech stack investment strategy must get started. Think of First, think departments work. They consider many of the same things and have done so for years:
- What infrastructure is needed internally?
- Which pieces can be outsourced?
- When is Software as a Service the best option?
- How often does the equipment need to be replaced?
- What are the best tools?
- The timeline
- And so on…
“Separate from research dollars, we need to fund that ecosystem that supports our platforms,” she said. “Those are things that are almost capital spending. It’s about funding the systems that then fuel the research, sustain it, or make it accessible.”
Having a separate budget for this initiative also decreases the risk of it not getting done, said Jenn.
“If researchers are forced to use their research budget for those experiments, there’s so much risk,” she said.
And there can’t be a trade-off, added Terrae.
“We have to fund the structure to sustain the research that we get,” she said.
Triggers to increase software adoption in companies
At the core, it’s two-fold:
- Leadership support
- Buy-in and understanding from the people who use the tech day-to-day
I’ve worked on projects where an executive bought a piece of technology without the team understanding even why. Since the team would be using it day-to-day, that caused issues from the start. That’s why many B2B companies involve multiple people in decision-making.
After all, what’s the point of adding new tech when it won’t get used? That’s why it’s so important to have champions and believers at different levels in an organization.
“Evaluation used to be very function-based,” said Terrae. “What does it do? Functionality. A,B,C, D. You put out your RFP. But what I realized is that all the functionality doesn’t matter if it’s not easy to use.”
The user interface, and the experience, must be good. You’ll have to have pilots or have beta testers go in there to understand that. That also helps get champions and buy-in on several levels of the organization.
Prioritize what you are looking at and what matters: The piece of technology that many people use a lot needs to be in tip-top shape, for example, Terrae said.
“Those are the ones that provide the highest value to the organization,” she said. “You’ll get a lot of use out of it. Positive stakeholder feedback because of the value it’s creating for them so you’ll have less learning curve friction and pain points because there’ll be in the software so frequently.”
What skillsets do researchers need to make technology work?
Things are changing so quickly, which also means that skills needed in research are evolving. For example, using technology correctly requires specific skills. Understanding how technology can help in our study is undoubtedly another.
“If we are not thinking about that and are building it out, we will always have this uphill battle to bring in new things,” Terrae said.
It’s very accurate. I’ve worked on projects where certain team members were just unwilling – or perhaps unable – to learn new skills. That could slow things to a halt. That doesn’t mean we don’t need those established skills of researchers. We do need them! In addition, we also need to understand how to accelerate the use of our industry skills and results by using the right technology.
“When we move more work in-house, you need to understand those fundamentals,” Terrae said. “How to get that piece right in a way or with a granularity that you may not have been exposed to in the past.”
Who should own technology adoption in an organization?
Terrae said it needs to start with leadership and set the strategy: What are we trying to do? Then how do we get there? When technology gets implemented in silos, that can also hurt.
I’ve worked with teams before where everyone is just buying their software. That led to some duplication of efforts, some software tools that were tried but then not used – to name a couple of the issues.
“It does go hand in hand with leadership setting that vision for the future,” Terrae said. “And to get those resources scaled and to help your employees.”
An independent implementation like the above happens because different software platforms do different things. For example, some do the research; others pull the results and then store them elsewhere.
“There’s opportunity there to connect those systems better,” Terrae said.
Technology can help us do our jobs better, make things more efficient and help us bring the voice of the customer to the table. That’s why it’s so important to pick the right software and then use it to its fullest.
“Technology adoption doesn’t happen overnight,” Terrae said. “Even just bringing in one new tool doesn’t happen overnight.”