When efficiency is the question, automation is the answer!

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Transcript of recording with Benjamin Rietti – generated automatically by HappyScribe which means it will be about 80% accurate – if you spot confusing errors, please email ray@new-mr.com. The timestamps are included to help you jump directly to a point of interest.


[00:00:05.850] – Benjamin Rietti

Welcome, everyone. Thank you very much for joining our webinar today I’m Benjamin from E-Tabs, and we’re going to be talking about the use of automation in the context of reporting to market research and insights projects. We’ve been around for several years. Our whole speciality at E-Tabs is this backend reporting process. So data visualisation, online dashboards, interactive dashboards and automated charting and reporting. And we’ve won a number of awards over the years and one of which took us to Buckingham Palace, which was very nice.


[00:00:39.240] – Benjamin Rietti

We’re an international company headquartered in the U.K. and we still provide client support across the globe and around the clock. So any of these familiar to you. We’ve hopefully we’ve put the bulk of covid behind us, at least in the U.K. and and now that we’re coming out of that, hopefully many companies are telling us they find themselves with products coming in, ongoing projects, new products, but reduced resources in the staff who are furloughed or let go, or there’s just some difficulties getting projects done or projects were cancelled.


[00:01:16.020] – Benjamin Rietti

And therefore, that’s been affecting their bottom line. Clients are certainly asking for tighter offering tighter margins because they’re hanging down on costing or paring down requirements. And at the same time, clients and stakeholders are demanding more value for what they’re giving the business they’re giving to their suppliers. So what I’d like to talk about today is how automation can really be a way forward to come out stronger and continue stronger from covid and generally. So some of these painful impacts you may well have experienced judoka of it or not, just global downturn in business.


[00:01:55.020] – Benjamin Rietti

It may therefore come as an initial shock to suggest that now would actually be a time to innovate. Innovation tends to cost money and also means introducing changes at a time when there’s so much uncertainty. However, to survive this turmoil, we need to be like the chameleon that is constantly adapting to survive in an ever changing environment. Automated reporting has long been perceived as taking heavy technical wizardry. It’s no surprise then, that many companies don’t even consider dipping their feet into the water, and especially at a time like this, when companies have all been struggling and may not think about proactively putting time and effort into innovation.


[00:02:35.850] – Benjamin Rietti

However, innovating can mean huge cost savings and could well make the difference between keeping or losing a client or project, or the difference between becoming stale in a client’s eyes or making tangible changes that will be mutually beneficial and promote you to being seen as their partner rather than just another supplier. And on the screen. Now, these are just some of the things that we’re going to be talking about as methods to to combat those issues. It’s important to realise that there’s so much more that can be done with the right tool than just, say, using an Excel macro to run of a lot of charts.


[00:03:13.080] – Benjamin Rietti

And, you know, some people might default that and sort of pay lip service to automation or they may be using an online analysis tool that offers rendering of those analysis rather than just into a series of numbers in a table. But it’s a simple PowerPoint charts as an export. But what we’re going to talk about today is automating client radio reports with every level of detail fully automated. The optimal solution for automated Anmar and insights reporting, for example, can be built to handle variance in trackers or multi-market studies to handle different brands or numbers of brands across time, across markets, show or calculate significance and start testing.


[00:03:55.890] – Benjamin Rietti

Deal with low base conditions or even right condition based analysis. Text it serve. The solution can natively understand the actual language market research data and the industry’s reporting needs, and so much more detail can be automated. Let’s have a look and see how we would consider fully automated reporting on expansion, that the concept that we work from basically starting point would be typically crosstabs anything that Zafari had no SBSF file quantum across pretty much anything that’s out there, even interfacing with online dashboards and pulling data from them in order to do automated PowerPoint charting.


[00:04:42.880] – Benjamin Rietti

And then alongside that, the data is what we call the all important template template could be PowerPoint, it could be Excel word, it could be even Google slides or Google sheets. And essentially what we’re going to be doing is email merge and are using the merger analogy deliberately because in email merge, you design your template first in word and you want to now personalise the letters that come out of that template. So could be invitation to a post lockdown barbecue event you’re throwing and your letters open with their first name and have an address block on them and a sanitation field.


[00:05:22.600] – Benjamin Rietti

So you you make it nice looking invitation in word and then you hook it up using the mail merge function with your, let’s say, contacts database that might be in Excel. And word will then merge all the names addresses into your letters in order to give you a series of personalised letters. So it’s the same principle that what we’re saying is the whole design of your report has already been done in PowerPoint. Let’s say it’s got all the types of charts, got all the types of logos, branding, nuances and formatting like this.


[00:05:55.030] – Benjamin Rietti

How you want your you’ll start testing that unstopped. This is exactly what you want, your branding for the different logos with different brands appearing and so on. And then what’s missing is just the data for all of those objects. So what we’re going to do is pull the data in from, like I said, from Excel, from the SPSS and so on. And we’re going to put data into the the template. And then you’re left with a PowerPoint template.


[00:06:18.290] – Benjamin Rietti

PowerPoint output will accept Excel working on so on. That is it’s as if it had all been done by hand, but of course it was automated. So it’s fully editable, fully populated, and then could be ready to give it to a client assuming no other changes are needed. I’ll share with you an example of this in action now. So this is a multi-market project and PowerPoint. Just give you a glimpse of the template slides now. So instead they’re all formatted in PowerPoint.


[00:06:46.240] – Benjamin Rietti

And what we want is to run the support across several markets or just France, Germany, Italy for now. And basically it’s run introduce them to the first class that we bring to the charts have come to life. You even brand logos and now appearing automatically in there and the flag Branxton significance testing. So you can see this is way more than just auto charting. That’s why we like to call it an auto reporting approach, because it’s actually possible to get a control over every element that might be needed.


[00:07:21.880] – Benjamin Rietti

It’s now just doing the same things. There are some slight differences between these countries as well in that the top three competitors, of course, and this is all fictitious data. The top three competitors differ from markets market and therefore their different logos are different rankings and so on. That’s Germany finished and now on to Italy. And it’s doing these in succession, so I’m not actually clicking on anything in between. We sort of set it up as a a loop to go through different countries.


[00:08:08.990] – Benjamin Rietti

I mentioned a moment. Near schools there as well, and colour coding on the various numbers and tables. OK, let’s have a look. All three of those. Side by side and you can see the subtle differences in the populated output’s. West Germany. Said side by side in a moment, Germany, France, Italy, everywhere, and you can see the different brands. And logos appearing and so on. The slide here, for example, we set up to automatically replicate across different brand attributes.


[00:09:02.640] – Benjamin Rietti

The. And everything of those decks is still fully editable, so you can click on the charts, make changes, you want to change the chart types and change the data if you need to change labels and so on. So if you’re still and typing numbers into PowerPoint decks or into Google slides, they’re now certainly the best time to invest in automated charting and reporting. No matter what quantitative time you’re doing, you’re low hanging. Fruit would definitely be trackers or multi-market projects where there’s a fairly consistent template which can be depopulated.


[00:09:42.280] – Benjamin Rietti

And our belief, however, is that we should always be on the lookout for automating wherever possible that automation doesn’t have to mean all or nothing. I think it’s really a fallacy where you have often somebody says, oh, we’ve got a tracker, but it changes, you know, 20, 30 percent wave and wave questions changing. So not worth automating. And we’ll say, well, why do you say that? Why are you why are you assuming it’s not worth automation?


[00:10:07.990] – Benjamin Rietti

You’ve got, let’s say, 70 percent static. It doesn’t change much from waves to wave. Let’s just automate 70 percent if that’s the case and go ahead and do your manual changes to only 30 percent of the deck. So say it doesn’t have to mean all or nothing. So you have a tracker with variants where some questions change over time, or multi-market project where the brands themselves or the number of brands each time may change. But in markets, it’s always worth automating as much as possible.


[00:10:36.130] – Benjamin Rietti

You know, we just love the challenge of dealing with with change and showing how we can, you know, find a way to to maximise the automation. And I suggest that you should attune itself to be on the lookout for opportunities, maybe adjust your concept and or copy test template so it can be more cookie cutter. Consider adding value to a syndicated study with a very little extra effort. Each subscriber can now get a deck that is tailored to their branding or pays attention to their brand over the other brands covered in the study.


[00:11:11.640] – Benjamin Rietti

Like I mentioned earlier, it’s those small things that can make all the difference to relationship, so you invest more today and secure that client and that client relationship or the project tomorrow. It’s also relevant to our customers and employees that studies where it is the same template, the same report that has to be created across 500 stores, let’s say, or 20 departments, and therefore, you know, make it more templates and reap the benefits of being able to to automate it.


[00:11:45.400] – Benjamin Rietti

So an ad hoc. I’m often asked if there’s any mileage to be gained with or to charting a purely, you know, customised ad hoc project. So, of course, the whole principle summation is to take a process that’s repeated and then find a way to automate those aspects of tasks. And by its very definition, a project that’s ad hoc in nature isn’t something that is necessarily templated or translatable. However, being that I believe so strongly in applying automation wherever possible, I like to take a step back and analyse any deliverable.


[00:12:15.970] – Benjamin Rietti

For instance, are there patterns in the slides? Could the same set of slides be repeated across categories? Would it help the research if they could maybe start the reporting process with a preprocessed, automatically generated charting and then they can cherry pick the ones they want for their story, regardless of project types? That there are two other strategic benefits to invest in automated charting, the first being accuracy. We’re not talking about completely HANSBURY reporting. The fact that you could be confident with data being pulled into your charts directly from your data tables is huge.


[00:12:49.360] – Benjamin Rietti

And finally, an incredible yet often overlooked benefit of automation. Is it? Products can be set up an interim or dummy data, and then when the final data is released, you can update an entire deck of slides within minutes. That’s great when you know you’re going to be up against the clock in order to deliver accurate reports to a client on the pressure. I also sometimes call this the insurance policy protecting against those awkward moments when you spent an entire night keying in numbers by hand for a client presentation the next morning, only to discover an email from DP saying, oops, I use the wrong weighting.


[00:13:25.780] – Benjamin Rietti

So rather, please use this file instead. And you’ve, of course, spent the whole night typing the wrong numbers. Now, of course, this has never happened before. It’s totally hypothetical, but it’s good to be prepared. Automation can even deal with the trickier aspects of reporting. And this need nowadays for the more visual representations of data, whether it’s word clouds or pictographs, or making icons filled with colour or size based on value. So the data can be driven into those just the same way as it’s driven into PowerPoint charts.


[00:14:02.950] – Benjamin Rietti

So the bottom line, investing in innovation and innovative reporting translate into profit. So one, I would say leverage technology to reduce your cost of reporting. Your profits are not coming from the actual reporting, I mean, certainly your your your key value is not the reporting, it’s what you report, it’s how you report. It’s the insights that you add. So once the headache and the the owners reporting is transferred from your fingers, you’ll have both the time and the headspace to utilise your analytical skills to dig for additional and more deeper insights.


[00:14:38.820] – Benjamin Rietti

Thirdly, you can seise new tangible revenue generating opportunities. For example, if Fieldworkers Monthly but reporting was only just about manageable quarterly, then consider automate the charting and of a monthly reporting for very little extra effort and certainly very little extra cost. So that often doesn’t go down well with your clients are. Quite frankly, I’d be shocked. Both point to a manual reporting not only cost you valuable time, but is prone to error. By reporting directly from the source data itself, you’re reducing the chance for typos and inaccuracies.


[00:15:13.530] – Benjamin Rietti

You and your clients will have more confidence in the data that’s being reported. Small companies in particular can begin to now consider pitching on larger, more complex projects they would otherwise never attempted or dreamt of attempting and pitching on due to lack of resources. So it really does open up these new opportunities. And with the cost of reporting reduced and these new channels revenue generation, then your profit margins can be increased. In summary, then, innovation in reporting has many strategic benefits.


[00:15:48.900] – Benjamin Rietti

It gives you the chance to add value to what you’re doing now. You can do it better and you can do more of it. It gives you ways to generate more revenue and maintain or grow profits. It strengthens client relationships. You’ll be partnering with your clients and moving ahead, rather just doing the same things you’ve been doing till now and expecting a different outcome. And finally, even staff appreciate it. Instead of exercising their fingers, they can exercise their minds, is less stressful and they increase job satisfaction, will translate into a happier team and company are seen this time and time again with clients supporting the sort of hidden benefits of staff satisfaction.


[00:16:28.170] – Benjamin Rietti

Once projects get automated. So thank you very much for your time today. I hope you found it helpful and thought provoking here. My contact details if you have any questions and I’m happy to to help you and any questions.