September 28, 2020

Read time: 10min

Insights executive roundtable: learnings and experiences from day 1

Market Logic Team

It was truly a pleasure to kick off our 2020 Insights Roundtable, where representatives from 17 leading brands, all highly valued Market Logic clients, shared their learnings and experiences with insights platforms through amidst the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our first day kicked off with a visionary session on the future of Insights Platforms, followed by shared experiences from rollouts at Pernod Ricard, General Mills and Vodafone; and learnings on research automation with Colgate-Palmolive, Shell and J&J.

The Future of Insights Platforms

Kay Iversen, CEO at Market Logic, addressed the immediate challenges all insights organizations face today: Firstly, how to integrate a constantly growing number of data sources and business intelligence tools to generate timely information for the business.

And secondly, how to scale access to insights for hundreds and thousands of business users at a reasonable cost. The answer in short: business users must be able to self-service relevant insights they understand, trust, and can easily use.

To achieve this, insights teams need to leverage the latest insights platforms to ensure compliant delivery of relevant information for timely, data-driven decisions.

Launching an Insights Platform at Pernod Ricard, General Mills and Vodafone

The first group of panelists shared their experiences launching insights platforms. Florence Rainsard at Pernod Ricard set the scene by describing their departure point: most of the intelligence her experts were producing for premium brands including Absolut Vodka, Chivas Regal, Seagrams and Havana Club, was ending up unused in folders.

To change that, they centralized information on their new platform, The Insight Factory. Within three months of a successful pilot late 2019, Florence and her team rolled-out to 80 global affiliates. The Factory resonated as a vital source for insights, serving 3000 users with over 16,000 questions answered since March, with a 26% return visit rate.

Sakshi Aggarwal and Paul Schroeder of General Mills described a similar motivation for implementing their insights platform, The Hive: being present in more than 100 countries with over 100 brands, including household names like Cheerios, Nature Valley and Häagen-Dazs, General Mills had a large global insights team working for diverse regions, categories, and brands.

In December 2019 they set out on their journey to consolidate all the research in a single source, and to make sure everything was uploaded, they invited all CMI colleagues to a three-week fun event to gather research data, with executive endorsement and a leader board to gamify the task. The results were impressive: 1,500 past research projects uploaded to deliver great return on a $45 million insights asset.

The Hive launched for CMI to start working with research automation in June, with the first business launch in September, where 200 users did 2,000 searches in the first two months, not bad!

When Vodafone started to move to more physical product offerings, like smart home, smartwatches and health trackers, the need for consumer insights increased, according to Sarah Emblin and Kirsten Kuhnert. But since all the new information was scattered across six or seven SharePoints, it became clear that only a centralized knowledge hub would meet the new challenges.

Their aim was to launch an insights platform that would help Vodafone learn from past research, reduce duplication of effort, and accelerate access to relevant information via smart search.

Sarah said the launch of the Vodafone Insights Centre is indelibly etched in her mind – March 23, the first day of UK lockdown! Since then, 280 people have visited VIC to execute over 5,300 search actions and shares, using AI to mine 1,766 research projects worth £35m.

Kirsten added that VIC is evolving as a platform for easy collaboration across the local markets, creating “water cooler moments” to share best practices and guide stakeholders.

Research Automation with an Insights Platform

At Colgate-Palmolive, Christian Niederauer said the DIG Platform (Driving Insights Globally), has been in place since 2016, democratizing a $300 million insights asset across the world with AI powered semantic search. Research planning and execution are also fully automated on the platform for transparent oversight and operating efficiencies.

To achieve this, projects are configured with best practice templates, vendor recommendations and approval processes in a seamless workflow. Christian compared two workflow designs – the standard ten-step process for full-service research projects with five to six-digit budgets, and a streamlined three-step process for fast projects with DIY vendors, worth only a few hundred dollars.

Christian said automation of both processes makes insights delivery faster and more agile, while an automatic knowledge check stops duplication of projects for at least 10% savings on the annual research spend.

James Johnstone at Shell is delivering insights to boost growth for the corporation’s massive global retail and lubricant businesses, with a lean team of nine insights professionals. The Heartbeat platform plays a critical role here, enabling almost 500 stakeholders to self-serve access to all customer information.

To further increase reach and efficiency, the team embraced the necessity of marketers doing their own research in local markets, by providing automated guidance with Heartbeat. They defined a wizard app that guides marketers through the process of selecting the right type of research project and methodology for their job to be done, and a recommended supplier.

Results from every local project are uploaded to Heartbeat by the supplier to build the global insights asset, while positioning the central team to leverage economies of scale to boost the global insights budget.

Joaquin Garcia-Lopez of Johnson & Johnson emphasizes that automated research workflows are essential in the pharma sector, due to regulatory compliance which demands complex and time-consuming approval processes.

His journey at Johnson & Johnson started in 2015 when research workflows were added to HIVE, their global insights platform, with automation extending across all business lines and regions over the next few years. Today HIVE usage is universal with 94% of all research executed on the platform, resulting in enormous time savings.

For example, automation has reduced approval processes for new projects by six weeks, while every click on the platform equals a time saving of five hours. Joaquin added that the additional pressure to support accelerated research and innovation cycles through the pandemic has highlighted just how essential automation is, as the world desperately awaits a vaccine.