Sometimes it’s a phone call with a bright voice on the other end of the line asking if we have some time to take a quick survey. In other cases, it’s an e-mail with a subject line asking the recipient to give opinions, share concerns, or provide some business data. For so many of us, the initial response is to decline to participate in a survey. After all, participation takes time out of our busy schedules, and the value proposition is not always clear.

What’s the Purpose of a Survey?

As a research and consulting company, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends is one of the many organizations that might reach out to you to request your participation in a survey. Some of these surveys will discuss the types of hardware equipment you have and how you’re using it, while others might ask about the software products you have installed and your plans for future purchases. Although the questions that are asked may vary widely, all of our surveys will request information about your business so we can categorize responses and assess the differences and similarities between one type of company and another or perhaps compare the data from a current year in relation to a prior year.

So why do we conduct surveys? The answer is simple—we do it to take the pulse of the industry. We are working to understand where companies like yours stand with hardware and software investments, your plans for future investments, and the state of your overall business. Your responses can then be aggregated with other businesses who complete the same survey. Compiling this data enables us to build a holistic picture of the health of the industry. Throughout the course of a year, we conduct a number of research projects to learn more about the hardware and software products that are receiving investment attention, and even the services you want to pay for. You might be asking yourself, what’s in it for me? Well, the value to every print provider and print support company that completes a survey is the ability to have a voice on the state of the industry. Vendors and other professionals use the survey data that we collect to develop a better understanding of businesses like yours so they can identify areas of investment that will bring the features you need the most to the market.

For example, Keypoint Intelligence conducts an annual Software Investment survey to get an idea about the products that are garnering attention. Over the last two cycles, we were able to collect some interesting data that illuminated new areas that were worthy of focus. Specifically, the concept of job onboarding—getting jobs estimated, quoted, and lodged into production—has been identified as a very clear bottleneck in North America as well as Europe. Due to the changing nature of job sizes and variations, the job onboarding process has become cumbersome and time-consuming. Thanks to our ongoing research, we were able to identify an area that software providers have an opportunity to streamline—and changes in the industry are beginning to occur as a result!

Surveys can also help us to identify hardware shifts. Over the past decade, our surveys have served as a beacon for understanding the shifts toward production inkjet technology, the rise of print enhancement, and the expanding nature of commercial print shops’ capabilities. Specifically, an increasing number of commercial printers have told us that they’ve added wide format services or other specialty printing capabilities, and many enterprises have revealed that the types of equipment they have purchased or are planning to purchase are changing. Furthermore, because all of the data we collect is only analyzed in aggregate, businesses can be assured that any company-specific data they share with us will remain confidential. In this way, corporations can play a key role in shaping the market of the future without giving away their trade secrets.

What’s with the Sales Pitch?

The analyst teams at Keypoint Intelligence are deep into another survey season across a variety of practices. The Production Workflow team has a European Software Investment Survey in the field now, and the North American Software Investment survey will begin very soon. If you’d like to be a part of our survey pool, we’d love to hear from you! For those of you who regularly receive our surveys, we hope you’ll consider spending some time to share your insights with us.

In addition to our practice surveys, Keypoint Intelligence’s Business Development Strategies (BDS) team has been conducting deep market research for decades. The BDS analysts have a broader understanding of ongoing market changes than most organizations thanks to our surveys and custom research projects. With a focus on production printing, customer communications, and the services that support our industry, this team is a go-to resource for printers and vendors that are hoping to gain a better understanding of what’s coming next!

The Bottom Line

As 2017 draws to a close, consider spending some time with the surveys and polls that will be coming your way. For our part, Keypoint Intelligence will be sharing some of these findings in our webinars early next year. Don’t forget to listen in so you can learn how your industry is changing, and how to remain competitive in the future as additional shifts continue to occur!