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Why Agencies Need Better Knowledge Management

Anders Ă–rbom November 11, 2020


For 15 years, my Stravito co-founder Andreas and I ran the global market research agency, NORM Simstore (now Ipsos NORM, owned by Ipsos). We worked with several of the world’s biggest FMCG companies, and in doing so, we learned a lot. Specifically, that keeping track of all of the research they had purchased was a challenge for almost all our clients.

We frequently got calls from clients who couldn’t find the very research they had purchased from us. They would spend hours combing through shared drives, inboxes, and even USB sticks, until eventually they would call us, asking for an additional copy of the report.

And once we had observed this pattern in our client companies, it didn’t take long before we recognised the same challenges in our own organisation. We saw that this was a universal problem, and we were inspired to take action. So we founded Stravito.

The right study at the wrong time

In the research world especially, time is money. We know this. The right study at the wrong time won’t deliver the valuable insights your client is hoping for. And in work that involves as many stakeholders as market research does, there are so many opportunities for projects to get slowed down. Whether it’s preparing for a customer presentation, putting together a client proposal, or getting feedback from relevant stakeholders, the ability to find, review, and distribute information quickly can be what makes or breaks your timeline. And when your files are all saved in different ways or you have to painstakingly open and read through each file one by one, you’re adding costly time inefficiencies. There will always be unforeseen delays, so it’s essential to address the ones that you can actually control.

The wrong study at the right time

Even when you can control for time, inefficient knowledge management can also greatly reduce the quality of your research.

It’s a double-edged sword; it takes time to organise and structure data so that it is easy to find. But the problem is that when you are bogged down with admin tasks, you greatly reduce the time you can spend on value-adding tasks, like identifying nuances in individual reports or connecting the dots across multiple to create meta-learnings. And for research agencies, the importance of value creation is two-fold. Not only do you need to be focused on conducting research that is scientifically valid and reliable, you’re also running a business. And that means you need to be focused on forming and maintaining client relationships.

Why it matters

And that’s what it all comes down to, doesn’t it? The chain of customer value. You create value for your customers so that they can create it for their own. But the latter is largely contingent on the two points previously covered–delivering quality research to your customers in a timely manner. However, since your customer is the key stakeholder in any research project, it’s not just about what you give them. It’s also about how you work with them. Which means that you can’t afford for client files and feedback to get buried in your inbox, reducing the speed and accuracy of your responses.

Your ability to collaborate effectively with customers is a major contributing factor to the success of your projects, the success of your client relationships, and ultimately the success of your business.

So, are you in?

That’s why I’m writing this; in the last 3 years, we’ve made substantial progress in our mission to simplify knowledge discovery for consumer-centric, global organisations. And the farther we’ve come, the more we’ve realised that simplifying knowledge discovery benefits more than just consumer-facing organisations.

If you’re tired of:

  • wasting your time searching for that file you forgot the name of
  • losing attachments in your inbox time and time again
  • conducting research that you know deep down could be better

And you’re ready to:

  • maximise the value of your time and research
  • cultivate and maintain strong client relationships

Let’s talk.

(Or start by watching this video.)