Manufacturing Company

Research Ops Strategy for an Enterprise Dvision


Design Research (Qualitative & Quantitative)
Customer Insights Reporting
Customer Profiling
Journey Mapping
Market Research
Research Ops Strategy
Voice of Customer (VoC) Program Strategy (NPS, CSAT, CES, etc.)

As Innovation became an important refocus for this enterprise, Research & Insights was a priority capability to build as Customer Experience became an important pillar within the company’s updated vision.

My role was brought in to lead the efforts of building a new Customer Insights capability within a recently founded Customer Experience team for a division of the company.

Within our division, how do we build a new Research & Insights capability at scale?

Over the span of a few months, teams from other divisions within the company were interviewed for knowledge sharing so that “lessons learned” could provide inspiration for the planning around a program strategy. From those learnings as well as pre-existing experience, a phased implementation plan was developed to mature the following areas:

  • Governance – Generative and foundational efforts that intended to inform cadence and prioritization for a CX initiative queue. Governance Strategy included establishment of:
    • Foundational knowledge, as well as bridging any existing knowledge gaps
    • Categorization and alignment around potential opportunities to explore
    • Cadence creation for future CX initiatives through prioritization and roadmapping
    • Queue establishment for any support research initiatives considered non-CX or Marketing related priorities
    • Development of a research repository to minimize doubled efforts and ease of knowledge searchability
  • Tools & Templates – Development of standardized tools and templates used to promote Research & Insights competency across the division with the intent to empower non-research based roles
  • Competencies – Democratization of Research & Insights capability through enablement, education, and mentorship throughout the division for the Insights capability
  • Advocacy – Socializing value and demonstrating impact through small wins within project initiatives
  • Management – Development and oversight of research plans, discussion guides, recruitment and screening, etc. for Research & Insight initiatives

This program implementation plan was then presented to executive leadership. Unfortunately, there was not enough buy-in and resource allocation to implement this program and this effort was paused.

If I were to be asked how I might have done things differently, I would have:

  • Assessed any and all stakeholders by interviewing multiple people directly impacted by the implementation of this program. I would have mapped who would have been in a sphere of influence and decision-making, and begun to build rapport and gain advocacy through influence across the organization before the plan was pitched.
  • Created “Good / Better / Best” options for resource allocation to implement the program. This would have provided options for involvement and spend that may have been a better gateway to start implementation. Instead of going full-speed ahead, I would have provided options to ease into the implementation.
  • Negotiated for a smaller “bite-sized” initiative as a way to prove the impact and value of creating a program like this. I would have asked better open-ended questions to find out what worked and didn’t work about this plan, and negotiated the less-than-desirable aspects in order to make some incremental progress.

As an effort to begin some semblance of Research Ops for the division, an informal initiative was established within the Customer Experience team for Tools & Templates, Advocacy, and Competency. This incremental effort was intended to create some foundational structure to build upon when a formal strategy would be given the “green light” for implementation at scale.

This project is representative of work completed while employed at an enterprise company. The efforts above reflect work in tandem with an Insights lead within the Marketing team of the same division.
ResearchOps Governance
Part of the ResearchOps approach included a governance strategy to prioritize insights intended to feed the pipeline of innovation initiatives.
Insights Capability Maturity Approach
Because the governance strategy was paused, an interim approach was developed intended to serve as a structural foundation for the Research & Insights capability within the CX team.