Case Study - Directions Research

How Q helped Directions streamline their analysis process and save thousands of hours

“As analysts, Q has saved us thousands of hours. It saves us from spending too much time on something that may not be relevant and distilling what is into a much more concise story.”

Rachel Cummins
Senior Research Analyst, Directions

Independently recognized as one of the leading business decision insight firms in the nation, Directions was founded in 1988 and is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, with regional offices around the country, conducting work globally.

  • Spending extra hours on analytic follow-up requests
  • Adapting to clients’ increasingly short time constraints
  • An all-in-one tool that offers options for many different types of analysis
  • Intuitive, efficient analysis that saves time and effort
  • Thousands of analysis hours saved
  • Faster answers for their clients

Author: Matilda Sarah


Slow, inefficient processes for data analysis

As a senior research analyst for Directions, Rachel Cummins has over twenty years of experience diving deep into data to find answers for her clients. She knows that sometimes, finding the answers they need takes time.

“Our motto as a company is that the client is king,” Rachel explains. “We don’t stop looking at the data until the client does, so we spend a lot of time mining in order to create strategic insights for our clients.”

Directions provides lots of different types of analyses for clients in a variety of sectors, from finance to hospitality to CPG.

“It runs the gamut of just about every type of analysis you could think of,” Rachel says. “We do correspondence analysis, Shapley, MaxDiff, and TURF.”

But the process Directions had in place to conduct these analyses was slow and inefficient and often required a lot of back and forth between their data specialists, analysts, and marketing sciences department.

“Our team of data specialists would set up our tables and provide our analysts with a set of Excel tabs that we would then work through,” she explains. “If there are any additional requests or things we wanted to dig into, we would then have to go back to our data specialist for them to run it.”

As the business world evolved, clients needed access to insights more quickly: Directions knew they couldn’t spend hours on every project every time their clients had a new question they needed answers to.

“It became a necessity,” Rachel remembers.

“We needed to be able to flex to our clients’ time constraints, and distill the data down to the most relevant and useful findings quickly.”

Rachel Cummins
Senior Research Analyst, Directions

With the right tool, Rachel knew they could speed up their processes and deliver quality insights to their clients in a fraction of the time.


A multi-purpose analysis tool that the whole team loves

Rachel and her team began testing different tools. They needed something that worked well for all of the different types of work they did, one that everyone found easy to work with. When they tried Q, they knew they’d found the perfect fit.

“It was the tool we could do the most with, as well as the most intuitive. Everyone found it so easy to use,” Rachel says. “We could also just do so many different types of analysis with it. It was insane.”

Rachel was also impressed with Q’s onboarding support: they were able to get set up with the tool very quickly.

“We had a lot of great support from the Q team that did some initial training,” she remembers. One of the really great advantages of Q is that it does a wonderful job of documenting all of the analysis it can do, and how to run those things.”

In short order, Rachel and her team were able to transition all of their analyses to Q, and get rid of several of the platforms they were using before—along with the costs associated with them.

Q is really such a cost-effective way for us to pull together all these types of analysis into one package, where before we were using SAS or SPSS or any other number of tools. Now, we handle all that in Q.
Rachel Cummins, Senior Research Analyst, Directions

Best of all, Rachel and her team of analysts could now run a lot of their queries themselves, which cut down on the back-and-forth with different teams and saved a lot of time. Rachel estimates that Q cut their analysis times in half.

“Before, when we would run something like correspondence analysis, we would typically go back to our marketing scientist department and they would run that for us,” Rachel says. “Now, we can go ahead and run that in Q ourselves.”

As a result, they saw value from using Q immediately.

“It did not take long at all for us to realize the return on investment with Q,” she adds. “It was really just a matter of putting the tool in the analysts’ hands.”


Analysis time cut in half and faster answers for clients

What Rachel values most about Q is the amount of time it saves her company.

“Q has saved us thousands of hours,” she says. “It saves us from spending too much time on something that may not be relevant and distilling what is into a much more concise story.”

Rachel can now pull up data to answer a client question during a meeting by quickly running a TURF analysis or crosstabs while they’re on the phone—something that would have been impossible before Q.

“There have been several instances where we will be in a work session with a client working through some of their hypotheses. And instead of spending a lot of time going down a rabbit hole of different hypotheses, we’re able to prove or disprove that theory right there on the spot,” she explains. “And then that allows us to move on and focus more on unearthing the actual story.”

Plus, Q’s visualization options allow her team to communicate the stories in the data to their clients in a way that’s clear and easy for them to understand.

“We’ve made things like Marimekko charts really quickly, and the clients absolutely love them. It’s a great way for them to understand what’s going on with the data,” Rachel says. “A lot of our clients may not necessarily have that technical background that we have. This allows them to get the gist of the story very quickly.”

Rachel and her team love working with Q—and they’re excited to keep learning more.

“We’re always looking at what we can do next and trying to find new ways we can use it,” she smiles. “I still feel like we’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do.”

The efficiencies that Q creates for tracking studies are outstanding. The time savings there are huge.
Rachel Cummins, Senior Research Analyst, Directions

Author: Matilda Sarah

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