Editor’s note: Wale Omiyale is senior vice president of market research at Oslo, Norway-based research firm Confirmit.

For years, marketing research organizations have been under immense pressure to uncover higher-quality insights faster and at a lower cost. In general, delivering faster insights at a lower cost is not new. However, sometimes faster and cheaper can mean poor quality.

So, how can marketing researchers avoid this?

Software providers are working to refine the capabilities of automation tools used in such processes. Today, automation is paving the way to make this a possibility with accurate, agile research.

Automation can be described as the technique of making an apparatus, a process or a system operate automatically. Since computers are exceptional at following rules, software providers have used this to their advantage by programming computers to carry out information-processing tasks. If this is done successfully, users can see faster delivery and lower costs.

Automation has already been around for years in simpler forms, such as questionnaire scanning, which was revolutionary in speeding up the process of data capture and was created in direct response to the need for faster results. With this need in mind, automation tools have been reworked and redeveloped – so much so that the tools used today now span the entire life cycle of marketing research. In addition to automating survey design, sampling, data collection and reporting, tools are available for much more advanced automation techniques, from emotional response recognition to multimedia feedback, social media analysis and more.

With the adoption of speed comes quality concerns. Traditionally, some marketing researchers have felt that a reliance on technology could pose real challenges for data integrity. Many question the accuracy of software-interpreted data.

The concerns are valid. While the indust...