We talked to Gerardo Iracheta of SIGMADOS on how they help make decisions and here is what he said.
How are you and your family doing in these Covid19 times?
Gerardo Iracheta: Fortunately, well. I am always following the health recommendations and attentive to the evolution of the pandemic and the information that is being published.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded SIGMADOS.
Gerardo Iracheta: Since my early professional days, I have had a close relationship with the media. It has been a central part of my professional career and a vocation for me. I started as director of Radio España, Pamplona TV, La Voz de Euskadi (radio), and other media in the northern area of Spain. Once in Madrid, my partner Luis Hernández and I decided to continue this work with the media, supporting television and radio stations in terms of technology, interactivity, data analysis, and content.
How does SIGMADOS innovate?
Gerardo Iracheta: In three ways. First, innovation today must be a culture, an attitude towards a future yet to be written that permeates the entire company. My role as CEO is to stimulate that mindset of losing the fear of anticipating problems and creating new solutions. Second, we innovate by combining technology and knowledge in order to create synergies with a multiplier effect. And thirdly, we innovate with our teams, which are necessarily multidisciplinary. At Sigma Dos, our staff is composed of creatives, journalists to data analysts, and sociologists. We live in a 360 ecosystem of ideas.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Gerardo Iracheta: On the methodological side, we have had to accelerate the digitalization process we already had in place: telephone surveys are done remotely, using a software-assisted teleworking system that we have adopted permanently. We are expanding online research and creating our own panel with an innovative technology called Trustsurvey, which allows us to compare the answers with the panelists’ footprint on their social networks. On the content side, we are conducting specialized studies that analyze the impact of the pandemic on consumption, on changes in habits, on political opinion…
Did you have to make difficult decisions, and what are the lessons learned?
Gerardo Iracheta: As I said, we have preferred to do without a physical space, in this case, the call center, rather than without the staff. Our professionals have been able to continue to work from home, always with the technological support of the company. It has been the hardest thing to do -but it was necessary- to stop seeing a splendid army of first-class pollsters in the office every day, who do an extraordinary job in the field-work and are our first line of battle. The lesson learned is that digitalization is no longer an option. Digitalization saves jobs and companies.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Gerardo Iracheta: We have developed our own technological applications, such as Trustsurvey (mentioned above), developed with the University of Salamanca as part of a project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, which allows us to have our own digital dashboard. In terms of telephone research, we continue to use Gandia technology, whose flexibility has allowed us to adapt to new work schemes.
On skills, I think the most graphic and inspiring example is that of Ulysses tied to the mast of his ship not to be tempted by the sirens’ songs and be distracted. Here the temptation was discouragement or fatalism, to think that this pandemic would be an insurmountable storm. Not at all. Every crisis is an opportunity, and we must focus our energies on solutions rather than looking at the problem itself. We have tied ourselves to the mast of solutions.
Who are your competitors? How do you plan to stay in the game?
Gerardo Iracheta: I say it frankly and without any hint of self-sufficiency: our main competitor is ourselves. We may compete with another company for a specific project, but in the medium and long term, we depend on our ability to successfully complete our digital transformation and internationalization process, which is, to answer your question, what will keep us in the game.
Your final thoughts?
Gerardo Iracheta: To see digitalization only as a means to adjust costs is short-sighted. Digitalization is a tool to increase knowledge, to process more and better information, and to give more added value to the market research we do for our clients. It also makes it easier for us to be a global company, which is essential in this day and age. That is our mission today.
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