20 Mar 2012

The power of research

What role does research play in your business, and what benefits do you think research has?

While the word ‘research’ might bring to mind white lab coats and test tubes, in business, that is of course a far cry from what actually occurs.

Whether the aim is innovation, product development or technical advance, research is just as critical in business as it is for society more broadly.

For SMEs (as opposed to big businesses) what is different, perhaps, is that budgets are tighter. It’s therefore imperative that research be targeted and undertaken with clear goals in mind.

At Brennan IT, much of our success has stemmed from researching and understanding technical solutions and the business needs of the mid-market, then innovating to marry the two.

Here’s some of what we think about when we think about research:

Innovation

At Brennan IT, we’ve been first to market with a range of solutions that have been helped by our research, including cloud-based infrastructure services for SMEs, and managed services backed by stringent service level agreements (SLAs) that were, at the time we introduced them, unheard in the midmarket.

Of course, these weren’t our own inventions, but we certainly put a great deal of research into how to deliver them successfully. One advantage that we had (and other mid-sized organisations all have) is that it’s often much easier for small and medium-sized businesses to act on their research than it is for larger organisations.

Brainstorming

Research isn’t something that has to be conducted quietly in the lab. We think there’s enormous value in bringing people together to map out ideas and conduct ‘thought experiments’. Pitting experienced and junior staff with a range of skill sets together to kick-start ideas for research is a great tool to be used frequently.

Field observation

When developing a solution, one method we like to use to research its effectiveness is to test it in-situ with a willing client. Observing how they engage and interact with a product is just as valuable as asking them how they’re using it and what might be improved.

What’s your experience? What types of research do you engage in?

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