Continuing our post from yesterday, we look in further detail at current issues in Indian market research. This concluding part examines the role of technology as well as what the future holds for the industry in the country:
Ironically, India is a software powerhouse – but Indian market research has yet to catch up on the technological front. Markey research firms still use basic software tools, and that too is only on a need-to basis.
India is still face-to-face dependent, but that is changing gradually. CATI is prevalent but online is still a nascent area as internet penetration is low. Panel firms are already entering India in a big way, setting the stage for the e-wave to sweep across in due course.
The needs of market research agencies are still evolving in terms of newer applications; there seems to be no significant difference in the use of technology in the past and the present; evolution in technology is seen more in terms of version upgrades, automation and processing speed. The bulk of small and medium sized market research firms are still tied to the traditional tech tools and are yet to experiment with new modes, though a few have dabbled with the online platform. The big players on the other hand are moving forward with handheld terminals and mobile surveys.
The trend in technology in client organisations seem to have undergone a sea change; they are looking at shorter innovation cycles, real-time service of queries, transparent status reading systems, end-to-end interaction with consumers using enhanced technology; and technology is expected to take them a step ahead – from analysis to modelling.
Boom Boom: The way ahead
Client organisations are more receptive to applying DW & BI and Data Mining. These services will soon be embraced by the research organisations, leveraging on the availability of a good education pool. Just as product companies go through the evolution lifecycle, the research service industry also needs to upgrade and come up with newer client servicing options – like branded market research agencies setting up in-house research divisions for larger corporations (this will ensure data security, real time data available at every stage).
The future of Indian research from a market opportunity point of view is very bright simply given the growth in economy and the increasing need for consumer insights for sound decision-making. This includes Multinational corporations and the new Indian ventures on the retail, realty and hospitality front. What will determine success or failure is how the agencies can transition themselves and put in structures and technology in place to tap the opportunity.
Globalisation will continue to drive the research standardisation wave and the time to get involved with Indian research is… NOW.
This article originally appeared in the Oct/Nov issue of BIG times