IIeX Amsterdam 2019 Podcast Series

IIeX Europe 2019 Conference Series – Richard Collins – Askia

Welcome to the #IIEX Europe Conference Series 2019. Recorded live in Amsterdam, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Richard Collins, Chief Customer Officer at Askia.

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We are live at IIeX. What do you think about the show so far?


It’s good. This venue is awesome. It’s probably the best one on the roster that we go to. They run it really well, good content loads. It loads of different things you’re going to learn here. I don’t have a booth this year. I’m regretting that. I think I’ll get one for next year.


Yes, it’s been for PureSpectrum, it actually has been really good for us. It’s been a lot of activities. It’s perfect. I love the activity map. Askia, what’s going on with Askia?


Askia, we’ve just changed our tagline. We’ve been software for surveys for 20 years, and we’re now automating insight because a lot of our clients, they’ve got Askia in the middle of what they’re doing and what you’re doing is so hard. There is so much technology involved, it’s so more complicated than it used to be. We’re working with companies like KPMG companies, companies like Hall and Partners where we are at the center of what they’re doing. But they’re using lots of other things to link through to it. Lots of automation, lots of APIs, lots of really clever things.

We’re doing a lot of custom things for clients. There’s a lot going on at the moment and the business is definitely changing. We’re having to be less of just a software company to almost more of a consulting company. They have research operational problems and we help them solve those.


That’s actually really interesting. What are you seeing… because you’re a veteran of the industry. You’ve touched a lot, right? Qualitative technology, quant technology, quite a few from a global point of view, what are you seeing as trending right now.


Automation’s the big word. Everyone is trying to save time to the bits that can be automated to do those. Whether it’s sampling, whether it’s waiting, whether it’s getting data, merging data, data processing. Those things that are difficult and could potentially be to automated. That’s the trend I’m seeing.


Yes it was blockchain last year. Right?




It’s funny. It’s like one in one year, there just hasn’t been a lot of mention of blockchain.


I think there have been two papers both today. Yes that’s right. I expected there might be that there were loads last year.


Yes exactly. I guess my broader point is, do you feel like automation is here to stay or do you feel like it’s more faddish?


No, I think it’s here to stay. There are all sorts of different ways you can have AI and whether it’s pure AI or not, I don’t think it really matters. It’s whether you can be taking the best of human skills, automating those where possible, where it makes sense. You can save an awful lot of money, save time, and get those people who are smart. We got some really smart people in the industry, getting them focused on generating insights and helping them generate insights. Things like automating on the analytics so to be able to pull out the analytics, what are the main themes coming through from this study without interaction and then the researchers will come in and then expand those, explore those.


Yes, I actually, I think you’re exactly right on the automation viewpoint. It’s funny because we’d been doing it, it’s like cloud computing. We were doing stuff in the “cloud server base” well before it was defined. We just wrapped a new word around it and all of a sudden.


We’re actually saying, people are asking for things away from the cloud, so they want control.


Centralization. Is that around consumer privacy?






Some people they want to necessarily not go into the cloud. They want to know exactly where the data is and be able to lock it down, which fits well with, with Askia. With about a half our clients, they weren’t like that anyway for heritage reasons and actually that says come full circle that half the people we speak to, they don’t want to go cloud.


Maybe just don’t, there’s a lesson there. Just don’t jump on the bed, things will be right.


We are about to launch a whole web version of Askia which has been a long time in the making. Then suddenly people said, no, we don’t want that. Just give us your on premise.


That’s hilarious, that’s great. I love it. I tell you what, for every business out there, there is a thousand different ways to ask one question and market research processes followed exactly in that space. That’s where I think like we’re just as an industry framing research automation in the last 12 months, it is buy in exactly is a great example is kind of a leader in the space. Now you know what you’re doing here spectrum too, right? There are a ton of players in research automation.


Foster junior yesterday, they were talking about that.


In no way, shape or form, this is a rising tide principle. I don’t think it’s going to be a winner, take all type of role. I think that you’re going to have bigger players and smaller players, but you could be a smaller player and how the hell of a good size business in this space. Now it’s just a huge opportunity, Blue Ocean, right? Blue Ocean opportunity for the next three to five years. Because the corporations, they still haven’t figured out how to inject at the right time in the right spot for the decision making. As that happens, that’s where the automation comes in.


We’re seeing some of our clients are doing incredibly complicated work stone, so it’s not all going for that small templated research that that’s a factor and a growing factor. But there are still some beasts of surveys out there. They’re really important to do it, censuses and for social research, there are still a lot of that going on and that’s mixed methodology to this. We’re not changing lock, stock and barrel, but there’s a shift for sure.


Yes, for sure. Are you going home tonight?


Tonight? Yes. Back to London.


Yes. Good. We’re winding up last day. Next year, do you think you’re going to exhibit?


Yes. I think so. I’ve been impressed. Wherever it is, whether it’s an Amsterdam, I hear rumors of Barcelona.


I’ve heard that too. I would hope for, that would be spectacular.


Yes Barcelona is a fantastic place.


I will be taking my wife and we will be having any extended period of time without children. (Laughs.)


Yes you need that too.


If someone wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


Richard@askia.com, very simple. I’d love to hear from you.


Perfect. That’s it. Thanks for being on the show.


Pleasure. Thanks Jamin.