You can carry out your own research and development (R&D) in-house. If you do not have the resources, you could consider outsourcing to external contractors.
Managing internal research projects
You can use internal project managers to carry out certain research activities. Internal research can include looking at:
- identifying new customers
- identifying and evaluating new markets
- upgrading your product/design
- assessing the impact of a new product or service on the business
- determining if a new product will meet customer needs and specifications
In many smaller businesses, an existing member of staff can take on the role of a project manager alongside their existing duties.
Your project managers will be responsible for planning, developing, implementing, controlling and closing the project, and embedding its results in the business. See more on project management.
Advantages of internal research
Internal research can benefit your business in several areas, such as:
- Costs - hiring external researchers is often more expensive than using your existing employees. Keeping the tasks in-house also means you can control and monitor expenses and resources better.
- Flexibility - internal teams can be more agile when carrying out research. They can also adapt quicker to the specific or changing needs of the business.
- Security - keeping research in-house can help prevent leakage of information or intellectual property outside of the organisation.
Internal research can also bring opportunities, in the long term, to increase productivity and profitability, enhance your brand and stay competitive in your marketplace. Read about the commercial benefits of research and development.
Disadvantages of internal research
One of the biggest downsides of internal research is the potential lack of specialisation. Some larger companies have dedicated R&D departments. This may not be viable for you if you run a smaller company.
Your employees may have great project management skills, but may lack specific skills and expertise they can bring to the research, for example in marketing or design. If you do not have the internal resources, you can choose to outsource some, or all, elements of R&D to an external contractor. See more on external research and development.