Strategic Research Portal ROI

The typical SinglePoint portal pays for itself 3 to 14 times over each and every year

Northern Light’s SinglePoint clients consistently report quantifiable savings in a number of areas that are worth considering when the time comes to present the financial case for implementing a strategic research portal. Note: All client details cited below are from publicly available documents, including conference presentations and market research reports written about the clients’ portals; Northern Light earns and enjoys the highest level of confidentiality and trust with our clients.
“”We avoided a $50 million mistake by using our SinglePoint portal to find that the market being addressed by a company we were considering buying had been previously studied by other business units that raised serious questions about the future of the company’s technology.”
– Market Research Director and SinglePoint Client

Value of time saved

Our client Verizon estimates that its SinglePoint implementation saves 1.5 hours per user session.  With SinglePoint, Verizon users no longer need to search multiple market research analyst firm websites, execute generalized web searches looking for market research information, or ask co-workers for help in finding reports.  Using a fully loaded rate of $100 per hour, it is very straight forward to calculate the monetary value of this time savings by using the number of annual market research portal user sessions a client experiences.  The suggested metric is $100 times 1.5 hours or $150 per user session.  A typical Northern Light client experiences 72,000 user sessions per year on their SinglePoint portal resulting in staff time savings valued at $10 million per year.

Consolidated purchasing of information

Duplicated and underutilized information contracts are not unusual in large organizations.  SinglePoint makes consolidated licensing and enterprise-wide sharing of licensed content a practical goal.  One client has estimated that its SinglePoint portal saves them $1.25 million per year in avoiding duplicate research purchases in their operations around the world.  At the time this study was done, the client’s SinglePoint portal had 5,000 user accounts and 25 sources.  This demographic can be converted into a metric of $1.25 million/5,000 users/25 sources that can be used to estimate savings in other settings.  A typical SinglePoint client has 15 sources and 6,000 user accounts and would experience a savings of $900,000 per year in avoided duplicate report purchases.

Primary research savings

Primary market research projects are, by nature very expensive undertakings. Often, the research has already been performed by another division, department, or individual but the reports are neither widely known nor findable since they are scattered on network folders and laptops. SinglePoint can consolidate primary research into a single repository and make it available to authorized users throughout the organization. This consolidation can eliminate the need for duplicate primary research, saving substantial amounts of money and increasing the impact of primary research that has been performed. One Northern Light client has estimated that its SinglePoint portal saves 10% of the annual primary market research budget, which in this client’s case is a saving of $12 million per year.

Supporting large numbers of users with limited staff

In this era of budget cuts and staff reductions, a self-service market research portal makes it feasible to support a wide audience of consumers of research with a very limited internal staff.  For example, one of our clients has one person supporting 5,000 users of secondary research via a SinglePoint portal.  Another client has 5 people supporting over 70,000 users of secondary research using SinglePoint.  In another case, 6 internal market research professionals produce important original research reports and publish them to an audience of 300 report-users in the marketing department via the SinglePoint portal. They do this without having to allocate precious researcher time away from the task of actually doing the research in order to field numerous support requests from the users for the reports.  In all of these examples, SinglePoint makes it possible to offer high value research service to constituents with a small supporting staff.

Obtaining new business

Most of Northern Light’s clients use SinglePoint portals to help prepare for sales presentations, customer briefings, and to find persuasive analyst support for their product roadmaps to make them more compelling to potential customers. One of our clients requested success stories from its sales and marketing staff to document the contribution of the client’s SinglePoint portal to business and customer wins, and so many poured in that they had to stop collecting the success stories because the market research staff did not have time to read them all.  Tens of millions of dollars of increased sales were identified as having been won as a result of the direct support to the sales and marketing teams being provided by the client’s SinglePoint portal. The dollar value assigned to increased sales will differ at each organization.

Intellectual property issues and fair use

It is easy for users to unknowingly violate the usage terms of their agreements with sources of secondary research — an exposure that no large company wants. This happens when users post documents to multiple internal portals without any system for enforcing licensing arrangements.  Market research analyst firms have been known to present invoices for hundreds of thousands of dollars to companies when market research reports were posted to internal websites sites without proper access controls.  Northern Light SinglePoint enforces the terms of the content licensed and frees organizations from day-to-day concern with such usage issues.

Improved decision making

With SinglePoint, users have the best information available on every search easily and quickly, and even more important than the time they save is that their business analyses are well-informed.  What is the value of having better researched and analyzed business decisions?

We have a concrete example of the “improved decision making” factor.  One of our clients recently advised us that they avoided making a $50 million mistake when a business unit used their SinglePoint portal to find that the market being addressed by a company they were considering buying had been previously studied by other business units in other geographies and product segments. These studies found that there were serious threats to the long term potential of this market place.  The client said that without SinglePoint, the acquisition team (which was working in a time pressured “white knight” setting over a weekend) would not have known about these studies and would have moved forward with an offer of $50 million designed to be the winning bid.

Developing new products faster

A strategic research portal can speed the time to insight in product research.  By having easy access to all licensing and primary research, researchers can spend less time looking for information and more time considering it.  A product researcher using a SinglePoint portal incorporating reports with external expert commentary (e.g. market research reports) will have a better grasp of what customers want and what competitors are planning.  Text analytics applied to business research, a Northern Light specialty, can help greatly with the process of product research.  For example, all relationships between technologies or scientific concepts (e.g., drugs, diseases, genes) can be automatically identified and displayed to the researcher.  A senior researcher at a global pharmaceutical company identified a previously unknown key relationship while looking at a text analytics result in a SinglePoint portal — and excitedly described the realization as an ah ha moment.