SurveyGizmo Wants Companies to Connect, Consolidate and Govern Their Data

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Today it’s easy for individuals to license survey software and conduct a survey using their credit card. While this makes it easy for business users to do their jobs, without any IT governance for the data they collect, it’s a potential liability to a company, considering the sensitivity of the data collected. By consolidating and connecting feedback across an organization, business users can achieve better quality and more actionable insights while IT maintains the governance and controls needed to ensure compliance and manage security risks.

If customers can better explain their needs, then companies can better serve them

Each bit of feedback is an opportunity to drive new business. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an interesting metric, but not very actionable alone. During the past few years, the IT industry has been focused on insights, visualization and dashboards. Aggregated metrics and dashboards reveal customer sentiment, but not why or how it’s impacting your business. One survey platform company has a different approach – SurveyGizmo is focused on making feedback actionable so companies can drive increased business value. I recently had the opportunity to sit with David Roberts, CEO of SurveyGizmo, to learn more about its approach.

The big challenge for many companies is putting surveys and other market research data into context with their business processes and operations. Survey data has the most value, combined with Business Intelligence (BI) data from other sources. The approach of most survey platforms is to pull operational data into the survey platform for analytics and visualization – thinking of the survey data as the hub and using other data for context. SurveyGizmo takes the opposite approach – instead of pulling data into your feedback system, they push data into your enterprise BI systems.

Making feedback actionable

Companies have been talking about business intelligence (BI) for many years, but only recently has the enterprise-BI picture come into focus. Combining feedback data into your enterprise data provides richness and context to transactional data. When you combine Net Promoter Score (NPS) data with your pipeline data, NPS feedback can be attributed directly to the decision-makers of active sales opportunities. Aggregating data can mask opportunities and risks that require action.

“With SurveyGizmo, every piece of feedback is turned into an actionable event (trigger) that initiates action. This leads to better customer engagement. Aggregated views are important, but actionable insights are more valuable. Customers are using SurveyGizmo’s tools for business process and workflow scenarios – not just feedback,” said Roberts. “The more data you can bring together, the better your insights can be.”

Compliance and survey data

I asked Mr. Roberts about the impact of government regulations and compliance on how companies are managing market research data.

“There is an increasing focus on giving users control of their personal information. Changes to global regulations have a big technical impact, but we’re working on keeping on top of the changes and ensuring the platform is compliant,” said Roberts.

The industry is starting to realize the need for governance of market research data. There is much sensitive information that companies are capturing and may not be aware of the privacy, security and compliance issues surrounding this data. Fortune 500 companies understand, but others are now learning too.

The biggest problem is the uncontrolled acquisition of software. It’s great that business users can acquire the tools they need to solve business problems quickly, but CIOs are concerned about how to use tools correctly and safely. Once the data is returned to the enterprise, IT has some good tools for monitoring compliance.

“SurveyGizmo provides tools to scan data for compliance in operations, not just in data acquisition,” said Roberts. “Companies are asking for data to be compliant. We apply GDPR and other standards across all locations so companies can be confident in their compliance.”

If you’re concerned about whether your company is on the right track (or you don’t know), then start with some or all of these steps.

  1. Ask for help from your vendors to expand your awareness of compliance issues.
  2. Look at what tools your company is using and determine what is driving selection behavior.
  3. Assess the compliance and enterprise risk of different solutions.
  4. Narrow the choices for users to one or a few approved options.
  5. Provide users with training and guidance about the safe use of survey tools.
  6. Work with your data analytics team to integrate research data into your enterprise data set.
  7. Look beyond informational aggregate metrics to actionable insights from each piece of feedback you receive.

The need for better governance

There are many Web-based survey tools available in the marketplace. This is good because it provides business users with solution flexibility, but, if left uncontrolled, can present an enterprise risk that needs to be addressed through governance. The most significant benefit of survey solutions is they help companies understand their real needs (not what they thought they needed). Users try the low-end solutions and discover the solutions have limitations – either in functionality or in enterprise manageability. CIOs and IT leaders respond by implementing IT policies that restrict end-users’ ability to select their tools. The challenge of governance is finding a compromise. Roberts explained it as “A bi-modal solution where feedback mechanisms remain flexible for different use cases while supporting centralized IT data compliance.”  Its all about a balance between agility and control.

It’s easy for CIOs to say “everything will go through IT,” but that isn’t practical. You must give users the ability to innovate and be flexible with the tools they use and the solutions they deploy while providing guardrails to ensure security and compliance. Governance involves having the right tools that are compliant, followed by smart policies and training, so users leverage the software safely; tools for monitoring compliance and risk; and then a shift in behavior in research data use. Companies that leverage third-party survey platforms should look to suppliers and vendors to certify compliance and have secure systems.

About SurveyGizmo

SurveyGizmo provides an integrated feedback platform that helps companies collect the very best feedback and integrate it into their existing systems so they can act on it. It also helps companies consolidate their feedback data so they can govern and manage it like any other enterprise data. You can learn more about SurveyGizmo products and services here.

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Ryan Schmierer

Ryan Schmierer is a recognized industry thought leader in the areas of Digital Transformation, IT Strategy, Service Management and Operations. An accomplished Business and Enterprise Architect, he is presently the Principal Consultant for RS Consulting NW, based in Seattle, WA Ryan is formerly the Business Architect and Director of Business Programs for corporate IT at Microsoft and before that spent 14 years with Cisco Systems as a Business Architect and Project Manager. Ryan is a contributing author of The Open Group IT4IT Reference Architecture industry standard and is a recognized speaker and writer on topics of IT Transformation and Emerging Trends in Service Management.