Once your company gets even the slightest taste of the keen insights crosstab analysis can provide, there’s no turning back. But unless you enjoy the services of a market research firm, regularly obtaining those insights typically requires investing in crosstab software. Researching available crosstab software programs can be daunting, although the task can become much easier if you start by asking three main questions.
Who will be using the crosstab software?
One of the foremost considerations is the complexity and level of knowledge the crosstab software requires for use. If your company is stocked with seasoned research consultants, you’re likely to have a much broader range of choices than companies with employees who have little to no experience analyzing surveys. Different programs are suitable for different users, with some of the most advanced geared toward statisticians.
What key features are most important?
Knowing what your company is planning to do with the software can help you determine the key features that are most important in your crosstab software program. Reviewing key features of various programs can help you decide which programs make your list of potential candidates. Key features can include the ability to:
· Share results via Excel, PDF or online
· Perform advanced analysis
· Create large numbers of crosstabs
· Automate weighting and statistical testing
· Create reports
· Chart results in easy-to-read visuals
· Update chart, report and graph data when underlying data is updated
· Integrate with existing tools or programs
· Customize to your needs
You’ll also want to look at how easy or difficult the program is to learn and use as well as the overall number of features and platform layout. Two more attractive features include online training options and high levels of support when needed.
What software limitations would be a deal breaker?
Once you have your list of contenders, it’s time to narrow it down by weeding out programs that have limitations your company simply can’t tolerate. These can include things like:
· Inflexibility creating complex crosstabs
· Inability to support tracking studies
· Lack of advanced analysis
· User programming required to achieve results
· Slowness and lack of efficiency
· Difficulty creating crosstabs
· Overall difficulty of use
Crosstab software is meant to make everyone’s job easier, not add another burden or hassle to your already busy schedules. Most crosstab software offers a demo to get a better idea of the look and feel for a program before you invest, and many even offer a free trial that lets you test it out to verify it meets all your crosstab needs.