A reflection on 7 years and a pandemic

Chris Atkins - Managing Director, Yonder Data Solutions

Recently, when my 7-year work anniversary of joining Yonder Data Solutions (previously Populus Data Solutions) appeared on LinkedIn, it prompted me to reflect on my time here, and in particular the last 18 months. So much has changed – together with our colleagues in Yonder Consulting we have launched a new business, most of the time working remotely – but the fundamental principles that underpin what we do are unchanged and are critical to our success.

Why I joined the business?

I am incredibly proud and honoured to lead the Yonder Data Solutions business. The reason I joined the company 7 years ago, originally tasked with Business Development, was because I felt that data collection within the market research industry could be done better and that the team I now lead was showing us how. A clear focus on the quality of input, quality of output, team experience and putting the respondent at the heart of the research process was of paramount importance then and remains even more so today.

The online research industry is proof of the wisdom of that old adage that “you only get out what you put in”. There has been a lot of pressure applied across the industry to lower the cost per interview. This is short sighted. If you want data that can be trusted and is right first time, it is crucial that we value and reward research respondents fairly for their time and consideration and that we do not over solicit them. Giving them sufficient opportunities to engage with research but not to the point where they physically can’t keep up with the number of survey requests to engage in. At Yonder Data Solutions we are proud of our online panel and our members are as important to our business as our team is.

It’s also crucial that our samples are reflective and inclusive of the population and that this goes beyond just setting quotas by standard demographics. For some time now, ethnicity has been a standard quota on our omnibus and nationally representative samples, and we include sexuality and disability on our omnibus so that they are available as breaks on the data as standard. This is an area we will continue to lead by example on.

Our team

The key pillar on which our business is built, is our people. We have an amazing team at Yonder Data Solutions, many of whom have worked together for many years, with 4 team members celebrating their 10-year anniversary this year, a great achievement. Others in the team will reach this important milestone within the next 12 months. The business growth has demanded the recruitment of 9 new team members this year and those new members of staff who have joined us have been outstanding. Onboarding in a virtual environment has its challenges but each of them has brought energy, enthusiasm and fresh perspectives to our approaches.

The net result is that we have a very experienced and trusted team, who add value throughout the data collection process. We are at our best when we come together to bring individual brilliance into the end-to-end data solutions that we deliver for our clients.

Our team has navigated the pandemic brilliantly over the last year and a half and in my view, we have become more efficient and more effective in a remote and hybrid setting. We were mainly working from the office pre the pandemic and have been mainly remote or hybrid for the last 18 months. We previously ran a physical CATI call centre in Newcastle and the team moved to a remote solution without missing a beat last year, the success of which led us to adopt this as our long-term model going forward. These are amazing achievements and are a true testament to the exceptional individuals we have working within the business, and who I am so immensely proud to work alongside and lead.

The purpose of our business is in our name, we exist to help our clients go further with focus. This requires delivering data that can be trusted first time and is delivered on time. We are fortunate that we have some amazing clients who we work in partnership with and have delivered some wonderful studies together.

Thank you to all of the team for your hard work and all that you have achieved, particularly over the last 18 months. Without you, none of this would have been possible.

Paying it forward

As a business, we are also not an island, we are an eco-system that extends beyond our team and we have a number of technology and research partners that all contribute to the success of our solutions. My thanks go to our partners, Daniela Toledo and team at GlobaLexicon, Andrew O’Connell and the team at Dynata, Jamie Clarke and team at Toluna, George Head and the team at Pure Spectrum, Simon Vaarning and the team at QuenchTec, Gurleen Sagoo-Sbrighi and team at Lucid, and Tatenda Musesengwa and the Youthsight team amongst others.

I am sure the next 18 months will bring new and different challenges, many of which we won’t have anticipated. But I have no doubt that we will continue to set standards and will adapt and learn to rise to whatever faces us.