ROI for Market Research Portals

When it comes to SinglePoint  market research portal implementations, our clients have experienced quantifiable savings in a number of areas that are well worth remembering when the time comes to build the corporate case.  Since we get the ROI question all the time, I thought I would share what we know about this topic with you.  Here are some things to consider: 

  • Cost of time saved.  Our experience is that, even when done conservatively, the value of time saved can be pretty staggering when faced head on with a calculation.  For example, our client Verizon estimates that its SinglePoint saves 1.5 hours per user session.  Our average client runs 36,000 user sessions per year, and saving 1.5 hours per user session would total 54,000 hours of saved professional time per year.   One can cost out professional time at perhaps $100 per hour fully-loaded, so such a savings could be valued at $5.4 million per year.  Yikes!
  • Improved decision making.  Without a simple to access and use comprehensive 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, with the result most often being 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 all the millions of dollars of savings combined from all the other ROI considerations.·
  • 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 50,000 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 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 requests from users for reports that already exist.  In all of these examples, without the SinglePoint portal significantly more staff would be required to help the users of research find the research that had been purchased or created for them.
  • 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 to prepare for sales presentations, customer briefings, and to assess their product roadmaps to make them more competitive.  Our client HP requested success stories from its sales and marketing staff to document the contribution of HP’s SinglePoint (which they call MarketVision) to business and customer wins, and so many poured in that they had to stop collecting them because the market research staff did not have time to read them all!  Suffice it say many millions of dollars was identified as having been won with direct support to the sales and marketing teams being provided by HP’s SinglePoint.
  • Reduced number of websites/portals.  It is not uncommon for departments and functional groups within an organization to provision and field numerous websites, each facing a different audience such as Sales, Marketing, Product Management.  HP has spoken publicly of having saved many millions of dollars when SinglePoint enabled them to unify 150 distinct intranet sites that hosted research in all their divisions around the world.  On the IT side alone, they saved in excess of $1 million, in year one, in hardware and administration.
  • Intellectual property issues and fair usage.  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.  For example, Northern Light was told of one company that does not use SinglePoint that was presented with a $460,000 bill from a market research provider for a single report that a well-meaning but naive employee carelessly posted to a departmental website for general consumption without access controls reflecting the report’s seat license business rules .  Northern Light SinglePoint enforces the terms of the content licensed and frees organizations from day-to-day concern with such usage issues.
  • Consolidated purchasing of information.  Duplicated and underutilized information contracts are the norm in many large organizations.  SinglePoint makes consolidated licensing and enterprise-wide sharing of purchased content a practical goal. For the many clients who have adopted this approach, the savings are substantial.   HP has estimated that its SinglePoint portal saves them over $1 million per year in avoiding duplicate research purchases in their operations around the world.
  • Primary research savings.  Primary market research projects are, by nature, strategic and closely held ventures.  And they are very expensive undertakings.  Often, the research has already been performed 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.

Hope this helps!   Let me know if you have any stories to add.