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We provided a research report on UK ISPs to a public telecommunications company; they required a list of recommended Internet Access Providers to consider for investment in the UK. They contacted us via Paola Kathuria's UK & Irish Internet Company Directory.
Starting with a list of about 400 UK Internet access providers, we eliminated those companies which did not meet our client's core criteria. For the remaining 20 companies, we collected information from various sources and ran a telephone survey to gather in-depth information.
The resulting 80-page report and analysis contained a short-list of eleven candidate companies and we were subsquently commissioned to prepare two in-depth reports of UK companies.
The company was a small public (US - NASDAQ) company with specific infrastructure - backbone and CLEC - properties in various places in Europe. They were in the process of raising additional funding in order to move into the ISP business in a bigger way.
The central European and UK surveys were done in parallel. Both kicked off with a half-day workshop at the client company to discuss and agree the survey questions.
Starting with a list of about 400 UK Internet access providers, we eliminated those companies which did not meet our client's core criteria. For the remaining 20 companies, we ran a telephone survey to gather in-depth information.
Other information sources included:
The resulting 80-page report was split into an overview, a one-page analysis, 3-page of company summaries, comparison tables, company detail and supporting materials in an appendix.
We created a one-page overview comparison table called the UK ISP company league table. To make it, we applied a score value between zero and five to every company's answer in relation to our client's core criteria. Companies were then ranked on the total.
A few weeks after we had delivered this report report, we were given a few days to prepare a paper on just one of the UK companies. We researched and wrote the 14-page report.
We were then asked to provide an in-depth report on nine of the UK companies considering a different set of issues, such as sales and marketing skills. The resulting 33-page report was delivered two weeks later. It followed the structure of the original report by describing the research method, displaying information in a comparison table, company summaries and detail.
Our client eventually purchased a UK ISP and a number of eastern European ISPs and was itself acquired by a leading pan-European data communications company in 2002.
We provided research for a public telecommunications company considering investing in Internet access providers in the UK and central Europe.
They wanted to establish a picture of the Internet service provider market in the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. They'd contacted us after seeing InetUK, the UK & Irish Internet Company Directory, which Paola Kathuria maintained.
We contacted potential respondents by e-mail and invited them to participate in a web-based survey which we designed. Response rate was 56% - the survey responses and analysis were written up in a 145-page report which was later made public in summary form.
We devised a section in the survey on Business Principles. It allowed companies to make certain statements that could reasonably be tied to their ethos, or strategy, without the statements necessarily being seen as judgmental or threatening.
Three example statements follow. Respondents were asked to rate agreement with them on a 5-point scale:
Lists of ISPs from Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were collated from various sources; we then proceeded to gather a contact e-mail address for each. We sent a short message to the contactable 129 companies and asked for the owner's or general manager's e-mail address; 63% replied.
A few days later, we mailed out the actual survey invitation using software we'd developed to ensure the each message was individually addressed. After a week, we sent reminder messages to any companies which hadn't yet responded.
Survey response was high - 56% of those invited - respondents were mostly company owners, directors or senior managers. As an incentive, we promised to make a summary of the survey results available six months later. The number of responding companies represented 24% of our original ISP list.
Data was imported into Excel for analysis. A sheet was created for each comparison table that would appear in the final report. In addition, each survey response was imported into Omnis3 and its own reporting was used to generate the company-detail pages.
The resulting 145-page report was split into an overview, comparison tables, company detail and supporting materials in an appendix. We prepared the report using MS Excel, Word and Omnis3 (for the company details); we endeavoured to present information in the most accessible way by use of colour and frequency.
The comparison tables took groups of related survey questions and presented responses side-by-side, such as Business principles and Disaster recovery provisions.
We also created a one-page overview comparison table called the Company league table. To make it, we created a scoring system based on the client's company selection criteria. The scoring system was then applied to all the companies to produce a ranking.
The biggest section of the report detailed each company's survey responses in an easy-to-read format.
This Central European ISP survey and the UK ISP survey were both completed within five weeks from go-ahead.
Our client eventually purchased a number of eastern European ISPs and a UK ISP and was itself acquired by a leading pan-European data communications company in 2002.
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