Strategic Research - New Business Opportunities

Katharina Roos UX Director • Head of Quality Management & Organizational Development

Toni Steimle UX Director • Head of Site Zürich & Basel

18/08/2023 • 5 minutes reading time

A crucial element for the long-term success of any organization is the focused and comprehensive understanding of underlying user needs of both customers and the organization’s employees.

Strategic research – identifying new business opportunities

Through strategic research, companies utilize empirical methods to identify new or evolving needs of their customers and users. The insights gained from this research form the foundation for strategic corporate decisions, such as the composition of service and product portfolios or targeting specific customer segments.

User research is an established, integral part of human-centered approaches in developing products and services, providing crucial information on the service range and concrete design. However, at a higher level, for the design of an overarching corporate strategy or the definition of a product and service portfolio, empirically supported decisions are often absent. Information on the general goals and needs of customers and users should be obtained and collected through systematic observations (cf. [1], [2], [3]) to support decision making.

Strategic research aligns the company's vision, goals, and resulting corporate, product, and service strategies with the needs and expectations of customers and users. This ensures that the experiences designed on this basis contribute to achieving corporate goals and — beyond short-term optimization — support competitiveness and long-term success.

This way, user needs can be recognized - regardless of the current offer of a company - thus uncovering opportunities for products and services.

Unlike traditional user research, which aims to gain a deep understanding of customer and user preferences and needs, strategic research has a broader perspective. This way, user needs can be recognized - regardless of the current offer of a company - thus uncovering opportunities for products and services.
While market research is primarily driven by business goals focusing on a company's market environment, strategic research mainly aims to gain a deep understanding of the preferences and needs of customers and users. Although market research and strategic research have different focuses, they can complement each other and contribute to developing an effective overall strategy. Based on this, effective and sustainable decisions can be made with foresight, promoting the ability to innovate at the same time. This allows the early recognition of changes and the interpretation of their relevance - so that companies can be agile and adaptable.

Promoting an effective and sustainable overall strategy

As part of strategic research, assumptions about the needs of customers and users in the company's specific business area are systematically identified and critically reviewed. Incorrect assumptions can pose significant business risks, so addressing them is crucial. Uncovered assumptions are prioritized, and a research roadmap is planned for their review.

This form of research is conducted independently of pre-existing products, services, and goals, allowing investigations to be carried out with the necessary foresight and care. Methods such as context interviews, shadowing, or diaries are typically used.

Strategic research requires an independent research team that can work independently from existing products, services, or corporate strategies and has the necessary continuity. Involving executives and decision-makers without specific interests in individual, established products or services is essential to ensure the objectivity and impartiality of the research results. Additionally, a suitable platform is necessary to present and explain the results.

Focus on people

Ergosign has been helping organizations put people first for more than twenty years. Successful digital products and services are created in human-centered organizations. A maturity assessment by Ergosign helped our customer genua to understand how human-centric the organization is and provided a sound basis for deriving recommendations for the future. This way, informed change processes within a company can be initiated in order to take important steps towards a higher UX maturity. You can find more about the genua Case Study.

We actively support companies in dealing with continuous and sometimes unpredictable change through a strong human focus and in emerging stronger from it. In the current research project "Readi", funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Research, we at Ergosign, together with other partners, are dealing with this question in detail. Readi stands for: gestärkte Resilienz in produzierenden KMU durch agile, mensch-zentrierte digitale Systeme und Systemgestaltung. There is more about this at Insights article .

Would you like to take the first step towards a higher UX maturity? Feel free to get in touch with us.

Katharina is UX Director and Head of Quality Management & Organizational Development at Ergosign. With over 16 years of experience, she is passionate about the needs of customers, users, employees and organizations. Her expertise in designing digital products and services for national and international projects demonstrates her drive to develop simple and elegant solutions in a collaborative, human-centered and goal-oriented manner. In Organizational Design & Development, she advises organizations to focus on people as the central success factor for digital business models. Currently, Katharina is researching how the human-centered design approach can lead to more resilience in organizations.

Katharina RoosHead of Quality Management & Organizational Development

Toni is an economist with a focus on behavioral economics and helped shape the Swiss user experience scene as a university lecturer. He is Head of Site at Ergosign Switzerland AG, the sites in Zurich and Basel. Toni teaches user experience design topics at the Hochschule Ost in Rapperswil and the Hochschule FHNW in Olten. His special interests include process models in software development, experience strategies, psychological foundations, user research and organizational development. Together with Professor Dr. Dieter Wallach, he authored the book Collaborative UX Design. Collaborative UX Design is a workshop-based process model for designing and validating a compelling experience.

Toni SteimleHead of Site Zürich & Basel

References
[1] PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers): "Experience is Everything: Here's How to Get It Right." In this study, more than 15,000 consumers were surveyed: 73% of respondents say that a positive customer experience is crucial to earning their loyalty. Still, only 49% of consumers said companies understand their needs well.
[2] IBM Institute for Business Value: "The Experience Revolution: Discovering How Leaders Are Different." This study shows that companies that are focused on the customer experience and put the needs of their users at the heart of their strategic decisions have higher customer retention, higher sales and a competitive advantage.
[3] Forrester Consulting: "The Business Impact of Investing in Experience." According to this study, 89% of the companies surveyed said improving the customer experience is one of their top priorities. However, only 28% of companies stated that they understand the needs of their customers well and respond appropriately.