King Research has been providing market research services for Sun for more than a decade. They've conducted many, many focus group and 1-1 interview projects. Plus they set up our Services Advisory Board, a 15-panel CAB consisting of customers, partners and the Sun field in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.
One of the benefits of working with King Research is that we substantially reduce risk when we're developing new services. When we build and then launch new services we know that what we’re offering will be what customers want. For example, open source is really important at Sun, and in several of our projects in this area with King Research, we've learned precisely what customers want from the company in this area. King Research has made a tremendously important contribution to the company's strategy in open source.
Sun is also heavily committed to working with partners, and King Research has helped us a lot to truly understand what partners need and why. That's helped us develop partner programs that we’re pretty confident will be a success.
Some of the things we most value in our relationship with King Research are:
- Strong moderating and interviewing skills.
- Ross has deep domain expertise. He knows our company’s products and services and the way these are used in the IT industry.
- The company is very experienced at conducting global research projects. We've had some bad experiences in the past working with other vendors in some of our global markets, so knowing we have someone who knows how to conduct global research projects successfully is a real value to a global company like ours.
- A vendor having a combination of good research capabilities AND domain expertise is a winner as far as Sun is concerned.
- When we work with King Research, we like knowing that we're working with a principal at the firm, having one person all the way through the project from project planning, developing the research documents, conducting the actual research, writing and presenting the report.
- King Research is quite cost-effective. I get better projects, done quicker at a lower cost point than some other vendors charge.
- They have a genuine commitment to our success. Ross is absolutely passionate about our projects and in making sure we get the most we can out of each one we conduct together.
- Ross is always responsive and flexible, characteristics that are very important when working with a large company like ours.
In addition to learning a lot about what Sun should do with regard to product and service development, we've also learned what not to do. We've had a number of service ideas over the years that on the surface sounded interesting, yet when we got with customers and prospective customers, we learned we should not proceed. King Research helped us avoid those potential mistakes.
Linda DeBerardinis, Market Research Manager, Services Division, Sun Microsystems, Broomfield, CO