Cultivating Research Operations Professionals

Summary: Staffing research operations with professionals improves speed, efficiency, and quality.

Collecting and prepping research data for analysis once required a mountain of drudgery. The work and workforce were organized into functional roles — “field management,” “QA,” “DP,” etc. Over the last 20 years, the ascent of online research reduced labor volumes, but the core functional boundaries have persisted. At times, this approach can work quite well, but often we see these boundaries becoming hurdles.

At IntelliSurvey, our approach has been to train professionals to program surveys and to break through the barriers of the old-fashioned research silos. We do not have a separate “client manager,” “programmer,” and “fielding manager,” – rather, a single person, enabled with powerful technology, handles the full range of functions. We call our professionals “project managers” or PMs.

We have worked towards this holistic approach since our inception, when the company founders were themselves responsible for soup-to-nuts execution. Along the way, we’ve encountered formidable challenges as this methodology requires careful measurement of time and motion at every level, continual investment in technology, and, most of all, recruitment, empowerment, and retention of thoughtful, professional PMs.

Our practice programs and hosts 150+ surveys per month for some of the world’s most demanding researchers. From a researcher’s perspective, the benefits include:

  • Faster programming. Programming time is <50% of those with silo models.
  • Cultural alignment. PMs are often personally familiar with the research subject.
  • Excellence not perfection. Choosing excellence over perfection allows researchers to work faster, and with more fluidity, knowing that professional PMs will identify and document instrument errors, omissions, or ambiguities.
  • Availability of practical expertise. Handling thousands of surveys end-to-end generates an understanding of complex problems such as subset (brand) selections, display constraints/tradeoffs, etc.
  • Understanding-driven flexibility. Research exercises can demand idiosyncratic presentation. Professionals are equipped to understand and implement as such, even when imperfectly described.

If the approach above resonates with your needs, or you’d just like to discuss our methodology, we hope you’ll reach out and contact us.

We are actively hiring PMs worldwide. When we look at prospective PMs, we value strong written and oral communication skills, mathematical intuition, and work ethic. Experience in the marketing research industry is valued, but not essential. To apply, please see our careers page.