Why research is key to any digital transformation strategy
One constant throughout all of our digital transformation work is the need for effective research, analysis, synthesis, and actionable next steps for the organizations we work with.
Understanding how vital effective research practices are in shaping and meeting organizational outcomes, we have cultivated multi-disciplinary research expertise and built trusted supplier relationships that cover all facets of research.
From internal organizational insights to broad market insights, qualitative to quantitative, in-person to remote, we pull from an extensive research toolkit to ensure exceptional organizational outcomes.
Research is a constant throughout an effective product and service development lifecycle
From identifying market opportunities ahead of making product or service decisions to making user and data-informed decisions based on ongoing engagement with customers as an organization’s offering continues to mature.
Key to our approach is following a “show, learn, and iterate” process, where we conduct just enough research to move forward effectively, using an informative lean research process that enables organizational action.
Pillars of our research practice
Engaging in multiple perspectives
To get the broadest view possible of both current and future state objectives, we encourage all team members to give their input through inclusive surveying, workshopping, interviewing, and other techniques.
Collaboration toward insight
We work closely with the client team throughout the project, collaborating on the planning and research, while targeting ideal insights and outcomes. As part of this process, we take the time to understand how we can work within the client’s strengths and capabilities to ensure actionable results.
Focusing on outcomes
Every research project has its constraints and desired outcomes. Different research methodologies are required to suit each goal. This stage is where an expansive research toolkit becomes critical. We define the most effective approach to reach the desired insights and build towards necessary outcomes.
Empowering others in the process
Iterative, ongoing research is a hallmark of exceptional organizations. Bringing research practices to an organization is a natural part of our engagements. We coach on human-centred processes, culture building, collaboration, and methodologies that support continuous insights, beyond our engagements.
Exploring research practices that can have a meaningful impact on your work
Let’s explore in more detail two key types of research that can have a significant impact on organizational effectiveness and outcomes: organizational needs assessments and user research.
Organizational needs assessments
Our client needs identification and readiness assessment services consider the full complexity of achieving organizational and digital excellence. We walk clients through a research process that identifies current state needs and readiness and outlines an achievable, phased approach to reach future state objectives within the skills and capabilities of the organization.
While each needs assessment is customized based on the organizational structure and digital maturity of the organization, the following stages of our process highlight typical activities and outcomes.
Phase 1: Information gathering
Within this phase, you can expect the following:
- Service mapping, customer journey mapping, process mapping
- Information gathering across key organizational units to identify strategy and process, customer data and insight, and other documented objectives, challenges, and goals
- Staff-wide surveying to uncover sentiment, perspective on customers, influencers, roles and alignment, and followup interviews based on survey insights
- Understanding historical context: reviewing key shifts in operational models and resource allocation over the years, as well as planned hiring, training, technology, and changes to organizational structure
- Workshopping and exercises to uncover day-to-day processes, requirements, and objectives
Phase 2: Current state mapping
The purpose of information gathering is to uncover the detail needed to map the organizational systems.
- Interviewing a variety of people from across the organization around strategy, objectives, current and customer-facing technology use and departmental needs, OKRs and KPIs, customer engagement, human-centred practices, and future goals
- Mapping relationships and resources across the organization and at the departmental level, including assessing human-centred, inclusive, and digital practices and maturity
- Mapping organization-wide strategic alignment, gaps, perspectives, knowledge sharing, objectives, and technology decision-making processes
- Identifying customer engagement processes, data processes, and knowledge of the market, while engaging in the supplementary and consumer-focused research as required to map customer journeys and describe jobs-to-be-done
Phase 3: Future state planning
With organizational and market systems identified and mapped, we have the foundation to understand where we are today, and how to get to where we need to be tomorrow.
- We’ll establish a system strategy to uncover key opportunities to drive customer engagement and retention while optimizing operations. We achieve this by mapping internal capabilities and consumer objectives to define an actionable roadmap that meets organizational and market needs.
- Identify organizational relationship and resource opportunities and gaps in order to accellerate organizational objectives and improve human-centred, inclusive, and digital practices and maturity
- Articulate and build concesus toward strategic alignment, perspectives, knowledge sharing, objectives, and technology decision-making
- Ensure alignment to the strategic goals and team needs relating to planned hiring, training, technology, and department structure plans
- Coaching through customer engagement processes, data processes, and expanding knowledge of the market
Inclusive stakeholder research
As part of this holistic review of the organization, we are careful to connect with a representative group from across the organization, to cover different roles, seniority, backgrounds, processes, knowledge, and diversity of the team.
These conversations are an integral part of understanding how organizational efforts can facilitate or hinder inclusive practices, informing our recommendations on resourcing, processes, the team’s ability to meet shared objectives, and to deliver more inclusive products and services in order to serve a wider market.
Organizational needs assessment success story: Kanetix
With our ongoing work with Kanetix, we were able to assess the operational practices of the product and service teams responsible for kanetix.ca. We began by working directly with the product team and evaluating their internal team practices.
We were able to use customer stories and journey mapping as a key driver of cross-departmental alignment. We successfully advocated for improved business analysis of existing systems, improving data handling and reporting, and introduced new internal collaborative exercises.
The results: faster and more confident decision-making, improved reporting to stakeholders and business leaders outside the product team, and improvement of knowledge sharing and shared understanding across departments.Get in touch to uncover these kinds of insights
We use a variety of methodologies for user research. These methods can range from qualitative interviews and workshops, using quantitative surveying and analytics, observation, and usability testing. All to understand what’s working and where we can improve organizational processes and people, and better serve the market with more aligned products and services.
A combination of generative and evaluative research guides us in establishing a baseline for improvement. This baseline involves setting objectives and key results (OKRs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress, moving from current state to achievable future state goals. This process builds on organizational capabilities to deliver a more exceptional customer experience aligned with ideal organizational outcomes. This research-driven path to aligning the organization with the market to accelerate value generation is called system strategy.Learn more about system strategy
Our toolkit of organizational and human-centred and research methods
We work with client teams to ask questions, comprehensively map issues, goals, and journeys that make up the key problems to be addressed, and build a shared understanding of user needs and organizational goals.
We use a range of evaluative and generative research methods depending on the type of qualitative or quantitative insights that best serve the problem space. This is all defined as part of our project discovery process and on an ongoing and iterative basis as we continue to learn and focus our efforts to deliver increasing organizational value.
- 1:1 Interviews
- Group interviews
- Focus groups
- Co-creation sessions
- Ethnography & observation
- Diary studies
- Journey mapping
- Organizational mapping
- Systems mapping
- Skills assessments
- Market research
- Competitive research
- Card sorting
- Tree testing
User research success story: Ontario Government
Direct user research—including surveying, interviews, usability testing, and focus groups across existing and proposed services and digital products—helped identify areas of improvement and opportunity across a series of benefits programs delivered across the province.
From online to in-person, we worked to map program recipients’ customer journey to lay the groundwork for aligning user goals and expectations with program requirements.
The results:our research findings answered vital questions around digital and in-person access for lower-income and disabled Ontarians and helped set a roadmap to better support users through regional service providers with more intuitive processes and interfaces, more accessible language, and more convenient and suitable communication channels.Get in touch to uncover these kinds of insights
Our commitment to inclusive research
As part of our research practices, we are intentional about recruiting and conducting research in an inclusive manner. This approach allows us to foster relationships with core market segments who have often not had a voice in shaping products and services, while uncovering essential insights from across diverse groups and individuals. Ultimately, this provides your organization with the opportunity to reduce risk and increase market share by ensuring potential or current customers are represented, welcomed, and have the opportunity to engage with your organization.
With inclusive design as a key value and core competency at Say Yeah, we can effectively capture the research insights needed to create highly usable, efficient, accessible, and inclusive experiences.
Our research-related processes
Great products and services aren’t static: they evolve over time and adapt to the people using them. The best way to create amazing products and services that deliver increasing organizational value is to research market perception and validate the quality of the user experience. This knowledge enables human-centered design processes that meet user needs and enable exceptional outcomes.
An effective usability testing methodology helps you identify what’s working and what is limiting engagement across your digital ecosystem, ultimately making informed decisions on how to improve your digital ecosystem. We use a three-step process—Plan, Test, Analyze—to focus your team on the most impactful optimization efforts.
System strategy helps accelerate internal decision-making with an approach that uncovers key opportunities to drive customer engagement and retention while optimizing operations. We achieve this by mapping internal capabilities and consumer objectives in order to define an effective roadmap that meets organizational and market needs.
Our approach to customer journey mapping
The process you need to get to know your customers and discover exactly what they need in order to leverage the customer journey to drive service delivery and digital strategy.
Across every stage of strategy, design, and development you have the opportunity to increase the value of your efforts. With continuous improvement, you can realize the benefits of better connecting with your consumer, driving them towards organizational goals, and optimizing your team’s efforts on an ongoing basis.