How technology has transformed our business


2020 proved a challenging year for individuals and organisations globally. No one has been immune from the pandemic’s effects – the toll on families, society, businesses and economies has been significant. However, we must adjust to this new world. Rather than wait for a return to a “normal” that is long gone, businesses in every sector must adapt to an ever-changing environment. If the global pandemic taught us anything, it is that technology has a growing and critical role in every organisation, and the market research industry is no exception.

In the new and dynamic market landscape, change is the only constant. It is more crucial than ever for businesses to regularly gauge consumer perceptions, sentiment and actions to inform decisions and best position themselves for success in 2021. 

Although recent global events accelerated the research industry’s journey towards technological transformation; it’s clear we’ve been heading towards innovation for many years. 

Our journey began many years ago. We reflect on the steps we took to illustrate how embedding technology at the heart of our offering and augmenting with human expertise drives business success through uncertain times. 

The Challenge

As many may know, five years ago we began to recognise an ever-increasing demand for faster quality insights, with many clients demanding same or next day delivery of tactical projects. Simply continuing to scale resources was not the answer, so a greater use of technology and automation became critical to meet the challenge. New types of clients and competition added pressure, so our goal was to drive a transformational impact on operations, clients and business performance.  

The Solution

We undertook a strategic programme designed to embed technology and automation across the business – from internal operations and processes to products, solutions and deliverables. This endeavor required an even greater focus on our strengths and priorities, to ensure the most impactful developments were implemented and tuned to the market sectors/categories in which our blend of expertise and technology could add most value to clients.

The Impact

We discovered a significant appetite for innovation and collaboration across our business functions to bring enhanced products and solutions to market quickly, with increasingly efficient operations and a renewed energy in marketing and sales. We re-invigorated and transformed existing client relationships while developing new ones, including clients who embed our technology deeply into their insight teams and processes. 

We saw significant improvements in employee engagement and sense of pride in the business. As a result, we experienced five consecutive years of productivity gains and profitable growth.

The journey we began five years ago strongly positioned us to not only survive the massive impacts of the global pandemic but to ensure our clients thrive by providing them rapid access to quality insights to help them make agile business decisions. 

At a time when the world continues to experience almost daily shifts in consumer sentiment and behaviour, we recently took another leap forward by embedding end-to-end technology in the form of Toluna Start, into the heart of our business. By embracing cutting edge technology, brands and agencies alike can keep pace with changing consumer demands and evolve to remain relevant. 

Quality insights driven by innovative technology enables businesses to create opportunity, drive growth and ensure prosperity through challenging times.

Susan Vidler – Managing Director, Harris Interactive UK