Strategic Research Portal ROI

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

“”We avoided a $50MM 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
Northern Light’s SinglePoint clients have reported 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.  All client details cited below are from publically available documents including conference presentations and market research reports written about the clients’ portals.

Value of time saved

Our client Verizon estimates that its SinglePoint 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, and 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 18,000 user sessions per year on their SinglePoint portal resulting in saving staff time valued at $2.7 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.  HP has estimated that its SinglePoint portal (which they call MarketVision) 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, and HP’s SinglePoint had 5,000 user accounts and 25 sources.  This can be converted into a metric of $1.25MM/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.

Reduced number of websites/portals

It is not uncommon for departments and functional groups within an organization to create and manage numerous internal websites, each for a different audience such as Sales, Marketing, or Product Management in multiple organizations and geographies.  HP greatly reduced the cost of providing research internally as their SinglePoint portal allowed them to discontinue 150 distinct intranet sites hosting or accessing research in all their divisions around the world.  On the IT side alone, they estimated that they saved $1.5 million per year in hardware, software, and, especially, IT systems administration.  This can be converted into a metric of $10,000 per duplicate portal eliminated 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 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, without the SinglePoint portal significantly more staff would be required to help the users of research find the reports that had been purchased or created for them.  Or alternatively, without the SinglePoint portal, the smaller market research staff would be overwhelmed with volumes of requests for help finding reports.

Obtaining new business

Each organization has a good idea of what value a closed sale might bring to the table or what being able to rapidly respond to a competitive situation means to a company.  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.  Such considerations are especially important to clients pursing business aggressively around the world.  Our client HP requested success stories from its sales and marketing staff to document the contribution of HP’s SinglePoint 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 HP’s SinglePoint.

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 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.

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 can eliminate the need for duplicate primary research, saving substantial amounts of money and increasing the impact of primary research that has been performed.

Improved decision making

Without a simple-to-access research portal, the fact is that most users give up and stop looking for the best information that bears on their projects and just make do with whatever they can find.  One of our clients estimated that critical strategic research projects before their SinglePoint portal was implemented were often attempted using Google’s Web search engine for an average of six hours of research per project.  Most often, the result was failure to find relevant, high-quality information.  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?  It could easily dwarf the millions of dollars of cost savings identified above. 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 research-driven pharmaceutical company made this exclamation when he noticed a key relationship for the first time while looking at a text analytics result in a SinglePoint portal, “This is an ah ha moment!”