Foundational Research for Multinational B2B Services

A multinational media conglomerate approached us to deliver two foundational research programmes amongst their customers. They wanted to identify strategic opportunities for innovating their specialised B2B digital services. This type of research is different from the user research that they were used to conducting in-house. Therefore, they were keen to see new results and also to learn from this new way of doing research.

Foundational Research Programmes I & II

We worked on two foundational research programmes related to their business areas. A specific existing product offering and a range of new offerings from their Innovation Department. Both programmes were set up to enable the company to understand the people, workflows and critical problems that their current and potential customers are facing. The overarching aim was to uncover common areas of high frustration and unmet needs across selected solutions. Thus, providing an opportunity for better future user experiences in Programme I. While Programme II focussed on exploring new opportunities for the growth of a range of their proprietary SaaS solutions.

Programme I

Our client wanted us to focus on three existing service lines in one of their established SaaS product suites. They recognised that each of these services could benefit from exploratory, foundational research, to identify opportunities to support their customers better. The programme spanned several regions. Including participants based in the UK, EU, the Americas and APAC. We suggested working closely together with their in-house UX Researchers to enable them to learn from the research process. This approach also enabled us to benefit from their intimate knowledge of the existing service lines.

This was a fully remote, exploratory, qualitative research programme. We conducted both diary studies and individual 1-on-1 in-depth interviews with our client’s current and potential customers. The open conversations in the interviews explored their current ways of working relevant to the topic. We used a similar approach for the research on each service line. The findings pointed to potential opportunities for the client that could go on to inform their roadmap for future development. 

We rounded off each project in this programme by sharing and discussing the outcomes of the foundational research with the client’s internal stakeholders.  We also facilitated a series of workshops. The workshops supported their Product Management Team to move the results into actionable next steps. As a follow-up to this programme, we offered to stay involved as a coach to the internal UX Researchers in order to support them via a series of training sessions and provide them with more tailored in-depth support with their continued in-house delivery of foundational research.

Programme II

Concurrently, in a different part of this media giant, we were delivering another slightly different research programme. The Innovation Department were in the process of developing a series of new product opportunities. They asked us to conduct a round of ‘Proof of Concept’ research with their customers, through in-depth online interviews with (potential) customers. Programme II focused on the USA and the UK. 

We used a similar exploratory qualitative research approach for all three project concepts in this programme. It was based on having open exploratory conversations about each new concept (and its envisioned use), in order to collect feedback from the perspective of the concept’s specific target group of potential users. Within each target group, the precise roles of the end users who would engage with each new concept were different. Similar to Programme I, we conducted individual online interviews. But in Programme II, the open conversations in the interviews explored the understanding and appreciation of the new concepts from the everyday work perspective of the participants. We also probed their considerations and if they would deliberately use or buy the product.

Similar to Programme I, Programme II involved preparation, fieldwork, 1-on-1 interviews and the use of digital tools. Moreover, we used discourse analysis, to reveal recurring themes, patterns and validation. Then our findings were triangulated in a joint reviewing process in conjunction with our client. 

The success of both foundational research programmes was only possible through co-creation. We had worked closely with the in-house teams throughout. We worked openly and collaboratively. As a result, we sense-checked our findings at each stage. Ultimately, we delivered usable and replicable research for our clients to use across their businesses.