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Group Management Report


3. Research and development

GfK’s research of new approaches and the associated development of new capabilities and products is heavily influenced by the ever changing client demands to get high value decision support from relevant insights for specific needs. This is not just about the insight derived from data as such but also about the way it is being made available to clients at the right time in the right format. We are therefore focusing on the smart combination play of powerful insight generation with flexible insight delivery based on our strong, experienced and knowledgeable staff in our global Science and Technology group. They interlock with our global Market Research teams that translate the changing client and market demands into new demands and opportunities for data-enabled methods and software plays.

Providing answers at client fingertips

More and more, clients search for easy and fast ways to access insight without the need to load and transport data or to improve own systems. We have therefore continued and strengthened our efforts to provide easy, intuitive and interactive software tools to client users also taking their individual competitive situations, user roles, and specific needs into account. A new generation of interactive tools that provide retail and distribution insights has been made available to a first group of major clients around the world. A highly interactive NCS management dashboard is being used by decision makers in major global manufacturing clients to understand their own sales performance compared to their individual benchmark leveraging in a very intuitive way. GfK’s new Retail Scout analytical tooling provides powerful and tailored answers to the needs of major retailers around the world. GfK’s Crossmedia Linkage Visualizer is a new interactive dashboard to provide insight on how individuals use their smartphones, tablets and desktop PCs. All tools leverage the latest in modern and high-speed web technology to serve our clients with ease of access and attractive interaction like never seen before.

Servicing the fast lane

The demand for insights at new levels of speed is also requesting solution approaches beyond interactive report delivery and analytics. Many clients demand supplementing agile ways to explore business questions where they are ready to trade in some service and quality levels for the sake of speed and lowered investments. This self-service and agile trend is well known in the market research industry and we are working on our own generation of self-service tooling with ready to use, pre-packaged solutions including the access to relevant data.

Accelerating data processing

We are reaching new levels with the acceleration of our internal data processing and insight generation production pipelines leveraging new approaches from the Science and Technology realm. We have started to accelerate our retail data processing to new levels with the help from advanced artificial intelligence algorithms that automatically categorize incoming data or provide proposals to speed up the further data processing. We continue to strive for higher automation levels wherever possible not neglecting but also strengthening quality assurance with smart algorithms. We have also invested into modern scale-out infrastructure to boost our processing capabilities.

More insight from internal and external data integrating not just our data

We continue to explore the potential of new data partnerships and have also accelerated our own internal data integration to serve existing and new client demands. We know from our discussions with major clients around the world that data integration has a huge potential to provide answers to business questions where approaches with single streams of data have failed in the past. Total media measurement is just one example where our GfK Crossmedia Linkage product and underlying technology platform (also in combination plays with our Evogenius platform) is open to integrate more and more data streams for integrated analytics. We have also started to feed some of our insights into Data Management Platforms (DMPs) to serve the growing market of programmatic digital advertisement spend.

A key research and development investment area is our new Data Driven Analytics initiative, called Supercrunch. We have listened to major clients and their demands in the area of data integration. We are now focusing on a starter set of new data-driven analytical applications that leverage a combination of our own data based on new scientific approaches. The key intent is to allow to derive advanced scientific models from data and to allow clients to change parameters to adapt to own needs and to also explore scenarios. We are also in preparation to onboard additional data from the outside. We strongly believe that our clients will benefit from a combination play of GfK tools as well as consultative advice to master own challenges in data integration to derive answers where classical market research approaches have not been advanced enough to deliver satisfactory results in the past.