Keep It Moving: Timing is Everything, Pt. 2 – Position your Function as an Internal Agency

The world is changing, and with that comes pressure on businesses to respond faster. To support our clients, we’re sharing the most valuable learnings from The Better Why: a report for insights leaders and customer activists.

Paul Logue

Former VP of Growth Analytics, Market Insights & Customer Experience at HPE

Once you get people to think about you differently, good things start to happen.

Since splitting from Hewlett Packard Inc. in 2015, HPE has undergone several acquisitions and “spin-merges” – essentially, merging segments of HPE’s business with other companies to form new ones. Amidst this growth, Paul Logue, formerly HPE’s Vice President of Growth Analytics, Market Insights and Customer Experience, was tasked with understanding and anticipating customers’ needs, which, like most things in the tech space, are changing fast.

“We’re the hub of what’s going on from a customer perspective,” he says of his team. “We’ve greatly expanded the role we’re playing as we’ve started to be part of this transformation.” Along with 100 global team members, Paul unearths hidden insights and advocates on behalf of customers. Just don’t call them the research department. According to Paul, they operate as an agency model within the company. Building an internal agency isn’t without its challenges. One of the biggest, Paul says, is conditioning your company and your clients to think of you differently. “You’re not a go-fetch, deskside research firm,” Paul asserts. “You are an agency.”

One of the very first things you do when working with an agency is brief them on the challenge or project at hand. Paul’s team has developed an insight agenda process centered on a briefing document that kicks off every project with probing questions, such as: What decision are we trying to drive? What hypothesis are we exploring? What does success look like? And, Paul’s favorite: How is my team going to work with your team collaboratively on the implementation? “Once you get people to think about you differently,” he says, “good things start to happen.”

For more, download The Better Why Report: lessons, case studies and advice from 400+ insights leaders from global brands on their key challenges, what they’re doing to tackle them and how the world of insights is evolving.