Ask any researcher, and they’ll tell you one of their biggest challenges is creating a functional, streamlined research repository. We often hear that most solutions are disjointed and difficult to track and share. At Tetra, we use a toolset that makes storing, sharing, and accessing research easy and efficient. Here’s a guide to develop a research repository that works for you.
Establish Goals for an Effective Research Repository
A good research repository needs to store both source data and insights. These don’t necessarily have to be in the same place, but it’s essential that they are linked together.
Depending on the type of source data, it might not be possible to find a one-size-fits-all solution to storage for every project. Although it might be tempting to pick one repository and stick with it, you don’t want data to live somewhere that doesn’t add value. Therefore, it’s important to remain flexible and use the repository that makes the most sense for the research—in other words, don’t try and put a square peg in a round hole. Instead, have a variety of places to choose from at the ready and ensure they will be accessible throughout the organization.
Define Repository Requirements
Before you design your solution, you must clearly define your repository requirements. Here are some questions to consider:
- What is the current state of your data and insight management and what existing problems need to be addressed? Talk with your team and get input on what has or hasn’t worked for them in the past, and why.
- What are the primary functions of the repository? For example, is it to ensure data isn’t lost, ensure insights are shared, consolidate related data, or give more teams access to data and insights?
- What will be your primary sources of data, and which tools will you be using to collect the data? See if it’s possible and/or worthwhile to consolidate any tools in order to create better repository outcomes.
- Who will be using the repository and what each of them will need? Your repository solution might be different depending on whether it is only for researchers or if larger teams or executives will be accessing it.
- Do you have a clear understanding of the budget for the repository? Do you need to demonstrate ROI?
- Are you willing to introduce new workflows and potential disruptions that require ongoing training?
- Does it make more sense to prioritize a seamless solution that removes steps from the process or would it be better to focus on a complex solution that yields additional value?
Design the Solution
Once you have a clear idea of what you and your team specifically need to achieve with your research repository, you can then start designing the solution. Consider these key questions to guide what a realistic solution can look like for your organization:
- Whose job is it to own this repository and how much time/resources will be allocated to maintaining this solution? Is this a major part of anyone’s full-time job?
- What needs to be measured over time to make sure the repository is working for all stakeholders? What tools will you need to extract these measurements?
- How will the new repository integrate with your current systems? Are there any existing tools or workflows that will be affected by implementing the new system?
- How will you be implementing your new system? For example, how will existing data and insights be integrated, and what is your timeline for the creation, introduction, and activation of the repository?
Creating an effective research repository is no small task, but with thorough planning and customized solutions that meet your unique needs, it truly is possible to manage your data and insights at scale.
At Tetra Insights, we’re always testing and implementing new research solutions and we will continue to share our knowledge with you here.
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