e-luminate™ – a developer’s perspective

Breaking Blue

It goes without saying that the technological paradigm shifts of the last 30 years have had, and continue to have, a massive impact on the way we live our lives.  No part of our day to day existence remains untouched by the digital revolution.  The trajectory taken is very much driven by the immediate pressing needs of the industry or sector.  In field of market research, innovation has been driven by the need to connect with respondents rapidly and effectively, increasing insight whilst reducing costs.

At RS Consulting we specialise in research across global markets, therefore it was imperative that we reduced travel and setup costs whilst at the same time increase respondent/client interaction.  This led to the development of our own bespoke online data collection platform e-luminate™.  This platform allows respondents to participate in Q&A sessions, create and maintain usage diaries, upload photos and post video diaries.  The platform has evolved rapidly in line with both internal and external stakeholders needs.  Seeing the platform in operation was something of a ‘genie out of the bottle’ moment, as researchers realised the rich layers of insight they could gain without incurring extra cost.

But with great inroads come great challenges.  As always it has been difficult collecting and interpreting stakeholder’s requirements whilst managing stakeholder expectations .  But marrying these two often conflicting demands has meant we always focused on those features clients actually value.  For example the decision to focus resource on developing a mobile web app was driven by a very clear commercial opportunity articulated by clients, participants and research teams.

Managing complex development projects requires structure and especially so where stakeholders are impatient for results.  e-luminate™ development was controlled using the Agile DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method) framework to manage conflicting priorities and to create a more refined definition of external and internal need.

Stakeholder needs were prioritised via the MoSCoW technique which separates requirements into four layers – Must, Should, Could and Wont’ haves.  Using this technique ensures the must have deliverables get done first followed by lower level requirements.  Crucially, this technique is flexible and recognises that, in the real world, priorities will change throughout any project and adapts accordingly.  Having this discipline allows for speedy, structured development.

Since launch we have added the following features:

  • Quant research capability
  • Multiple browser compatibility
  • Mobile access and corresponding mobile apps
  • Social media links
  • Security, data protection and disaster recovery solutions to cope with the increased volume of data required to be backed up.

Continually addressing new research objectives ensures e-luminate™ remains a best of breed, standalone solution for capturing live consumer emotions and responses, so providing genuine insight into product usage.  It’s since become a major selling point for RS consulting group, and won me Young Technologist of the Year for my work on it. Needless to say the pace of development shows no sign of slowing down.