The future of data repositories in market research

Day One Podcast: Insights Room 101

Episode 15: Su Sandhu


In Room 101, a guest describes three of their worst insight industry pet peeves and aims to lock one of them away forever in Room 101, much like the popular British TV show. Our guest on this episode is Su Sandhu, founder of Sky Blue Healthcare Associates, providing business insights and analytics support to healthcare clients by embedding client-side experienced consultants into internal BI teams. Su joins us on The Day One podcast to share the things she would like to banish from our industry into Room 101 forever. The main pet peeves Su describes are: the underutilisation of existing data, market research for the sake of ‘ticking a box’ and fear of the next shiny thing. Su provides meaningful criticism during our conversation, and we hope you enjoy it.

Su begins the conversation bringing us through her journey from her background in chemistry to her career insights and analytics. With entrepreneurship in her blood, Su combined her passions for innovation and science together with commercialization and business, to develop new products, take them to market and to improve people’s lives.

Before revealing her nominations for Room 101, Su shares a hilarious story from her time working in consumer testing. In this interview, the consumer insisted on demonstrating to the market research team, who were all packed into a tiny bathroom, exactly how she uses the product in the shower every day – without wearing anything to cover her modesty!

Su then presents her first proposal to be banished to Room 101 forever – “the underutilisation of existing data”. Su has seen throughout her career in pharma companies that there is a plethora of information, and when a business question or business issue arises, it can be seen as much easier to conduct another piece of market research than to go back and do a gap analysis.

Diving deeper into what we can do to solve this, Su believes having insights workshops or an exercise that’s built into the business planning process is a possible solution. She wants to see people being disciplined about looking back at what information you’ve already got. Su also recommends having a central repository where all the market research information is kept. There can be disconnects between teams and sometimes you might not even be aware that some research has already been conducted.

The conversation explores if technology will naturally solve the problem of underutilised data, creating this repository for market research and insights. Could AI, similar to ChatGPT, be the answer to this?

Su’s second choice for Room 101 is doing market research for the sake of ‘ticking a box’. She believes that usually market research is done with the best intentions rather than just ‘covering your back’. However, with the speed that things are done, not having the right people in meetings, not having the Insights expert present, can sometimes mean that things are lost in translation. Sometimes things are done just tick them off, rather than for the right reasons, which isn’t the best use of resources.

Su reveals her third and final nomination as the “fear of the next shiny thing”. Could the next shiny thing replace us? Su thinks we should be looking at new technology such as AI and asking, ‘how can we use this to enhance what we do, not to replace what we’re doing’, rather than having an ‘us versus them’ mentality. Su presents the question instead of AI, could we turn it on its head to create IA, Intelligence Accelerator?

Hannah, Abigail and Su agree to banish the underutilization of the data to Room 101.  We enjoyed the conversation, and we hope you do, too.

About – Su Sandhu:

Su founded Sky Blue Healthcare Associates to provide business insights and analytics support to healthcare clients by embedding client-side experienced consultants into internal BI teams. Su spent over 20 years working client-side before transitioning into consultancy and throughout this time, has championed the use of data insights to help drive strategy and to make informed business decisions. She believes that having the confidence to challenge the status quo and influence decision making is critical in our roles within BI and, as such, we should have the ability to deliver insight-driven recommendations with impact. She recently delivered a workshop on this topic at the 2023 BHBIA annual conference and was awarded the John Wheeler Award for Best Workshop. Su was also a finalist in the 2022 Every Woman Entrepreneur Awards.

Relevant links:

Abigail Stuart