THE POWER OF MARKET RESEARCH: AN ACCESSIBLE AND VALUABLE TOOL

BY LOGAPPS LLC

Market Research is a step in the Systems Analysis Approach that is essential for developing a deep understanding of client needs and competition in the industry. However, decision makers often mistakenly overlook this vital step due to their fear of spending resources on research. A lack of comprehensive research in the systems analysis process will result in project failure due to the misinterpretation of the market state and client expectations. Therefore, it is imperative to allocate adequate time and resources to conducting market research.

Market research involves the systematic gathering and analyzing of information about a problem to gain insight to the market from a technological, solution, or capability perspective. While research may appear to be a daunting task, beginning market research as soon as possible will make the project more cost-effective. Coupled with agreeing on top-level requirements,market research ensures that investments are spent on the correct avenues before developing a solution. By identifying critical information on present technology and the opinions of current and prospective clients, this process yields essential information on target markets and customers. 

A common misconception is that research must be sophisticated and structured. In reality, market research techniques are easily accessible and include everyday activities such as listening to client feedback or gathering data from credible online sources. Another misconception is that market research accumulates useless data when in fact, spending time and resources on market research provides valuable information that will improve the quality of the solution. Gathered data includes knowledge about the market size and competitors, allowing decision makers to learn more about their clients, their specific needs, and the best approach to meet those needs.

BEGINNING RESEARCH

Before gathering data, it is important to develop a research plan that outlines the information that needs to be collected, the methods of obtaining that information, and the specific roles of each participating team member. Research plan documentation can be both informal and formal. More informal plans include listing tasks on a piece of paper or sending a brief internal memo, while formal guidelines may include a multiple-page report or infographic with clear and specific courses of action. A detailed research plan systemizes the research process and makes it less overwhelming.

PRIMARY VS. SECONDARY RESEARCH

Information can be divided into two categories: primary research and secondary research. Primary techniques might involve inviting customers to focus groups to listen to their needs and preferences for technological solutions; companies can also send out online surveys or collect comment cards. Secondary research involves reviewing published sources such as academic journals or newspaper articles. With primary research being time-consuming and costly and secondary sources being occasionally unreliable, many find it advantageous to combine the two in order to obtain a more balanced understanding of customer needs. Reading all the sources available and taking the time to check their reliability beforehand will prevent the dangerous mistake of presenting inaccurate information. Beware of hastily developing a biased or misinterpreted conclusion after reading only one source: considering multiple perspectives and making a conclusion based on all the information provides for a more well-rounded analysis.

DATA ANALYSIS AND REPORTING

Upon completion of research, it is standard practice to combine information and analysis into a market research report. Like the research plan, it is important to develop a detailed and accurate report. Reports can also be more or less formal depending on the size and stakes of the project. While all information holds value in a report, flagging and highlighting pieces of information that need attention right away will increase productivity. This establishes focus on a problem and immediately develops a solution. The end result of these efforts is gratifying: you will have compiled data that will undeniably aid the decision-making process.

LOGAPPS’ RESEARCH APPROACH

Logapps recognizes the value of conducting meaningful market research as a central pillar in decision analysis. We have applied this research-based approach in helping government clients make the transition to new systems and methodologies. For example, our US Courts Shared Services Project introduces a process that could help the US Courts focus their analysis of potential shared services and fosters two-way communication with courts at different levels of the federal judiciary. Outside and inside literature reviews and document analysis helped Logapps analysts gain a better understanding of the service sharing information that currently exists and the processes of individual court units. After extensive research, Logapps proposed a tool for consolidating the amount of data within these court units (read our white paper on the US Courts Shared Service Project to learn more).

Logapps is committed to exploring solutions through tireless market research in order to meet and exceed our client needs and expectations. Our established client-driven approach allows us to deliver a market research report catered to the client’s vision of their solution and aligned with their organization’s service mission. Market research is undeniably a paramount component to ensure a project’s success, and it is organizations like Logapps that deliver outstanding solutions through specially tailored research.

REFERENCES

“Market Research.” Market Research, International Finance Corporation, 2000. www.smetoolkit.org/en/content/market-research.

McNamara, Carter. “How to Conduct Market Research.” Free Management Library, management help.org/marketing/market-research.htm.

Staff, Entrepreneur. “Conducting Market Research.” Entrepreneur, 30 Sept. 2010, www.entrepreneur.com/article/217388.

Wight, Emily. “Small Business Tips: How to Do Market Research.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 13 Aug. 2015, www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/aug/23/small-business-tips-market-research.

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