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Dovetail fuels world-class research at Harvard Business Publishing

Publishing and Education
Brighton, USA
Company size

Learn why Harvard Business Publishing relies on Dovetail to conduct world-class research

As a global name in the leadership development publishing space, Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) is a benchmark for quality and distinction. Read on to get a peek at the research that HBP conducts and how Dovetail helps them centralize and democratize their findings while still enabling teams to stay agile and aligned.

Centralized research to stop repeating work and start building on what is known

Over the past decade, research at Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) has been a priority. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Harvard University, HBP has three market groups: Higher Education, Corporate Learning, and the Harvard Business Review Group. Because of these separate entities, their products were built in silos. Teams weren’t able to access each others’ work to gain context and ultimately build better products and experiences.

Dozens of agile teams within each of HBP’s market groups would be working in sprints around a feature, either running user testing or conducting surveys, and all of this information was captured across multiple platforms with a variety of tools. In the past, research was spread across Google Drive, Wikis, Excel files, JIRA, emails, Survey Monkey, and even written on napkins. While research data was extensive, it usually never left the confines of each team, and as individuals moved teams or left the business, it meant that invaluable research data would be inaccessible and eventually lost.

The number of project teams at HBP grew quickly, and the amount of knowledge isolated within these teams grew. Teams were constantly being slowed down by inefficiencies that grew from not having visibility into other research initiatives.

To avoid the double-up of this work and to improve efficiency, HBP made plans to prioritize UX and research processes. The company introduced Dovetail to centralize their research data and build a shared brain across cross-functional teams. Dovetail helps these teams collaborate effectively and make informed decisions about the products being built.

Democratizing research: Share invaluable findings with teams and stakeholders

At the end of each two-week sprint, project teams at HBP share reports with their stakeholders. Before introducing Dovetail, this report looked like a traditional PowerPoint or PDF that summarized high-level learnings. This summarization presented challenges for the research teams since it would be digested without much context by a few people and then often be forgotten about.

While research has always been valued at HBP, the research team is working on expanding its impact beyond immediate stakeholders. Teams want to inspire employees outside of the research team to explore data and get closer to the customer.

With the help of Dovetail, HBP researchers can share their findings via one singular and accessible platform. The accessibility means research is democratized, and everyone at HBP can do their own research or explore a library of existing data whenever they need. Packaging the research findings as interview highlight reels and digestible insights within Dovetail means research content is easy for anyone to understand.

Looking ahead: Standardizing research to keep teams agile and aligned

Dozens of teams working across multiple projects and using a mix of methods meant research was not standardized at HBP. It was difficult to compare research studies and understand nuances within like how a question was posed, or who participated. It was difficult for the team and stakeholders to compare research studies since the full context wasn’t easily discoverable.

With the introduction of Dovetail, HBP standardized their research process so that anyone could absorb the data to build context. Since the raw data is now organized, HBP team members can quickly browse key takeaways or fully immerse themselves in the granular data rather than having confusion over where the research lives and what content is relevant to them. Standardizing this process also means new team members can be guided through HBP’s research findings to support their learning environment and help in getting them up to speed faster.

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