Friday, September 26, 2008

Is the Managed Identity Services Survey too difficult?

I relaunched the Managed Identity Services Survey a week ago with an added incentive to participate courtesy of Identropy. There's been a decent number of responses to date, although we have yet to hit the target of 50 responses (remember, the rules stipulate that unless I get 50+ responses, the results will not be published - which also means Identropy don't have to hand over the brand new iPod touch to a lucky survey participant).

At this point, I thought it may be of interest to provide an update of sorts in the interest of openness and transparency...

While I didn't set out to create a particularly difficult survey, it seems to have turned out to be less than trivial. I've re-read the survey questions over and over again to determine exactly how difficult they are and this is what I've concluded: the questions aren't that difficult but do require some thought...and that's a good thing.

In going through the responses so far, I've been analysing the "bail-out" responses with particular interest. I'm referring to the half-filled surveys where the participant got to a certain point and decided not to continue. Here's what I've found: most people "bail-out" at either question 9 or question 10. Question 9 is the first Identity Management related question. Answering this requires that you know something about what your organisation is doing in this area. Question 10 is one of two questions within the survey that require some level of effort because it's a matrix of options that need to be selected.

My guess is that people who are in it only for the iPod touch but know nothing about Identity Management are typically the ones that stop on questions 9 and 10. Some are honest in that they get to question 9, realise they know nothing about the subject area and just bow out gracefully. The ones that are unfazed simply click a random option to "answer" question 9 and continue. They then hit question 10 and stop because it's just too hard for them. I guess you can call questions 9 and 10 the "filter" questions.

Question 14 is the other question formatted as a matrix. This happens to be the last question in the survey before the participant is allowed to provide their details for the giveaway. Your reward for answering it is the chance to enter the giveaway (should you choose to provide your details and agree to the terms and conditions).

Sure, there are persistent types who will complete the whole survey without knowing a single thing about Identity Management. But "frivolous", completed surveys have been rare so far (there's 1 or 2 at this stage). I'm a little disappointed that the person claiming to be from "Horse and Hound" magazine didn't keep going though. I wonder if it was Hugh Grant? If you're reading this with a puzzled look, you haven't seen Notting Hill so ignore what I just said.

If you have another reason for not completing the survey, please let me know via the comments or by sending me a message (you can use the "Email Me" form on my blog).

Now we just need to get to 50. There's an iPod touch at stake and just over a week left before the survey closes. Most importantly, we want to see the results so what are you waiting for?

Note: I should point out that I didn't place questions 9, 10 and 14 in their respective positions to act as filters. I just wanted to know the answers and thought they belonged in those positions. The fact they turned out to be good filters is a happy coincidence.

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