Use of cloud-based survey tool Qualtrics continues to rise

Use of cloud-based survey tool Qualtrics continues to rise

A new cloud-based survey tool deployed by ITS is proving to be a successful solution for the UI.

Since its summer 2011 launch, the number of people using Qualtrics to create surveys topped 4,500. In 2013, over 8,800 surveys were created and 375,000 survey responses were collected.

ITS has continued to hear positive feedback from customers who expressed appreciation for the new service.

A variety of uses

The UI uses online surveys for a wide variety of data collection, from conducting Institutional Review Board-approved research to seeking feedback on customer service. Event organizers create Qualtrics surveys for registration, and service managers use it to gather information from customers as they assess demand and preferences.

In 2012, Qualtrics was used for the Working at Iowa survey, which helps the UI understand how employees feel about their work environment and is used to support continuing improvement and engagement. In 2013, Qualtics was used for the annual campus IT survey, which helps IT professionals understand how employees feel about technology on campus, where it is working well, and where it can improve.

User friendly and flexible

Ben Earnhart, who handles technology for the Department of Sociology and the Iowa Social Science Research Center, has worked with Qualtrics on several projects, including one that garnered about 1,400 responses.

For the most basic functionality, it’s really simple to use. For more advanced users, the flow control, randomization capabilities, and presentation of questions can be incredibly powerful,” he says.”

Earnhart says Qualtrics meets researchers’ needs for security and compliance, and that collaboration capabilities allow them to easily edit surveys. He can maintain control over the technical aspects of the survey but still allow clients to view results in real time. Another plus is the presentation options, which range from built-in templates to custom colors, spacing, and graphics.

UI technology experts say in most cases, people can create, test, and deploy a survey in less than 30 minutes. Users can log in using their Hawk ID, and Qualtrics is hosted and fully supported by the vendor. Users receive help directly from Qualtrics by phone or e-mail, Qualtrics provides a wealth of support information, and training is available in a number of formats at no additional cost to users.

Successful transition to cloud

Prior to Qualtrics, the UI had used WebSurveyor since May of 2005. The Survey and Desktop Applications Group in ITS-Enterprise Services investigated what the market had to offer and guided the transition once Qualtrics was selected.

The Directory and Authentication Group hooked Qualtrics into the university’s Shibboleth to allow enterprise authentication. By January of 2012, everything was shifted over and ITS was able to retire the old tool.

Qualtrics is one of the first cloud-based services ITS has deployed for the entire campus. In evaluating future cloud possibilities, the UI will look at this as one of the successful transitions for campus.

For more on Qualtrics, including training and support information, visit http://its.uiowa.edu/qualtrics.