Walnut Unlimited is a full-service market research agency which has been successfully serving clients for nearly 40 years. They work with their clients to provide them with the knowledge, recommendations and opportunities to take major business decisions.
Their portfolio of services includes: Customer Satisfaction, Retail, Brand Tracking, Pack Testing, Pricing Research, Qualitative Research, Neuroscience, Omnibus Studies & NewMR.
The complex nature of the Walnut Unlimited business and its clients meant that the organisation had an equally complex set of IT requirements to address. Data protection is paramount in all their dealings, so it was important that absolute security was maintained throughout any IT implementation. Any IT systems had to integrate seamlessly with their parent company where required, but also maintain the agility of a smaller set up.
Overall, Walnut felt that is was important to have a strategic IT services partner who fully understood their business needs and could ensure that their IT systems were sufficiently robust to take on any future changes or expansion into new markets. Ian Ralph, Walnut Unlimited’s Director commented:
“We knew that our existing IT systems were lagging behind the growth and development of the rest of the company; we needed to update to something that was scalable, flexible, secure and futureproof. We knew what we wanted from a supplier and met with several IT providers before Pro Drive was recommended to us.”
Pro Drive setup a Discovery Workshop with Walnut to help them create a map of where technology was a priority for them as a business. It very quickly became apparent that their existing IT arrangements were not providing them with the resources and knowledge to address security audits by existing and potential clients, thus holding them back from entering new markets.
Risk was also a major concern with the IT network not being documented and in depth knowledge residing largely with a small internal team.
Over the coming months Pro Drive worked with key Walnut individuals to map out a range of services to address these issues whilst complementing the skills of the existing IT team.
They standardised the IT system setup and documented the process, reducing risks to the business of a major IT failure.
”We had an instant rapport with the Pro Drive team, they visited our site often and our staff also visited their Guildford office, so that everyone involved with the project knew who was responsible for what” said Mr Ralph, adding “A good indication of how smoothly it has all gone is that I have very little to do with it, I’m just required to sign off as items are completed!” concluding “That said, I am kept fully informed at every stage.”
A year later and Pro Drive is working with both the Walnut and parent company IT teams to implement a major systems upgrade and an integration with group messaging systems to promote better sharing of information and business amongst group companies. Working closely with Walnut personnel, Pro Drive has held focused project planning sessions, helped achieve effective cost savings and data protection measures to prepare for new EU legislation. Walnut is now well positioned to approach and develop new markets.
”The new IT system has allowed us to integrate an additional business into our systems seamlessly and we are well placed to add other businesses just as easily should the need arise” surmised Mr Ralph, adding “We are also now in a position to offer ground-breaking innovations to our clients such as our ‘Reflected Life Panel’ which gathers and collates vast amounts of incredibly detailed consumer data securely” He concluded “The insights derived from this research gives us and our customers a competitive edge.”