So you want to jump onboard the online reporting trend, but don’t know where to start?  At Ad Hoc Research, we’ve been fortunate enough to get in on the trend rather early.  In fact, after two years of intensively using an online reporting and dashboarding tool, my colleagues and I have come to the conclusion that succeeding at online reporting in market research takes the perfect combination of client, project, time and money! 

Before making the leap, here are four questions you should ask yourself:

(1). Is this really what my client wants?

The benefits of online reporting are great – the capacity to analyse large quantities of data according to personalised needs in a visually appealing way – however, a client that is not comfortable with technology or that wants their supplier to analyse the data for them may be frustrated with online reporting.  Yes, it sounds sexy to say your reporting is going online, but at the end of the day, it needs to fit the client’s needs.  Ideally, your client is technologically forward, a staunch believer in “D-I-T” (Doing-It-Themselves) and needs to drill-down data.

(2). Is my client’s project appropriate for online reporting?

Certain types of marketing research projects are better suited to online reporting than others. Stable trackers are great for online reporting – multiple waves of research are easy to view and manage in an online reporting tool and allow a client to amortize the initial set-up costs over the course of many periods of research.  Projects that require multiple report production or that have audiences with diverse informational needs are also great candidates for going online.

(3). Do we have enough time to get it done?

A very compelling selling point for online reporting is the ability to create stunning dashboards. Achieving the “Wow” factor that clients are looking for takes time, more so than that normally required for traditional reporting. Plan to make a few rounds of proposals before you and your client find a look that will “speak” to the various audiences who will be consulting it.  In addition, more time should be allotted for making corrections, improvements and tweaks once the online report is built. While set-up may take longer than a traditional report, updates generally tend to be relatively quick to make.

(4). Does my client have the budget?

While online reporting can be a very cost-effective solution, the initial costs to set up a project on an online reporting platform are more than that typically charged for the traditional report.  While it may be more of an investment upfront, clients are very satisfied with the value they get from their online reporting.

So, if your client likes to delve deep into big data, keeps abreast of the latest technology, has an ongoing, stable tracker for which time and money can be invested to improve reporting efficiency, then online reporting is definitely a great option!