Snap Surveys celebrates 35 years

Snap Surveys Celebrates 35 Years in Survey Software, Research Services, and Custom Feedback Solutions

April 16th marked Snap Surveys 35th year in business. Since founded in 1981, Snap Surveys has become a leading survey software and research services business, providing advanced survey software, survey research services, and customized feedback solutions to customers worldwide.

Peter Wills and Steve Jenkins, circa 1984 in the beginning years of Snap Surveys.

Peter Wills and Steve Jenkins during the beginning years of Snap Surveys, circa 1984.

Many don’t realize that the original founders of Snap Surveys, Peter Wills and Steve Jenkins, still have a large interest in the business. Peter and Steve have worked together since 1977 at which time Steve was responsible for the development of Snap Survey Software from its early days on small desktop computers, and in 1981, Peter set-up Snap Surveys, and since then, both gentlemen have had the pleasure of watching the business grow and thrive with a talented and dedicated staff, in a time of ever-changing and evolving technologies.

Peter and Steve have led Snaps Surveys for the past 35 years with their experience and extensive knowledge of market research and software development. Today, the latest version of Snap Survey Software operates on multiple platforms, in multiple languages, and in multiple modes. In addition to software, the company also provides expert research services to assist clients with survey research projects, and custom feedback solutions offering tailor-made survey systems.

To celebrate 35 years and to share more of the history behind Snap Surveys, we asked both Peter and Steve questions about the history of Snap Surveys and what’s in store for the future.

Interview: We asked Peter Wills, Chairman of Snap Surveys the following questions.

Q: What made you want to start Snap Surveys (formerly known as Mercator)?

A: I originally set up a company called Mercator with three other colleagues back in 1979 as a consultancy covering various areas of transport related research. In 1980, I submitted a paper to the Market Research Society (MRS) for inclusion at the annual conference on the future of computing in market research. As a result of that, Steve Jenkins and I wrote a demo program to analyze surveys, and it was very well received at the conference, and in particular, by The BBC. This was the precursor to Snap Surveys.

By 1981, Mercator (with the other directors searching out high value consultancy projects) was unsustainable in that form, despite me picking up various small IT contracts. In April 1981, we agreed that the other 3 partners would “leave” and I would carry on by myself, still using the same name. We then wrote a wide range of software systems for architects, lawyers, auction house, work study, animal feed formulation etc. All of our systems used the current desktop computers of the day – Apple, Tandy, Compaq, Dell to name but a few. By 1985, Snap Survey Software was by far the most successful software that we’d written and we then decided to drop all the other systems and concentrate just on Snap.

So in a way, that conference in 1980 was the initiative that led to the start of Snap Surveys….

Q: Few people realize that you and Steve Jenkins have been an integral part of the organization for the entire 35 years in business, and remain a driving force for continued development. Why has this partnership with Steve worked out so well?

A: It has always worked well because we each have our own distinct expertise – Steve in developing software and me covering the sales, marketing, and finance.

Q: Snap Surveys has been successfully providing B2B survey software, customized solutions, and survey research services for 35 years. How do you explain the company’s success?

A: We were perhaps the first company to see the potential of using desktop computers in the survey field. All of our competitors believed that you needed mainframe computers to analyze surveys. This always meant that we had a price advantage and this proved successful for all but the largest organizations, where the cost of the software was not the issue.

Interview: We asked Steve Jenkins, Managing Director the following questions.

Q: How do you see the survey software and feedback management markets developing?
A: I see more emphasis on integrating survey data with data from other sources. And, I see less reliance on traditional surveys as such – e.g. data collection by observation. For us, I see maintaining a multi-mode capability including paper – although without a doubt there are magnitudes more web surveys conducted than paper ones, there is still a big requirement for paper surveys, where survey audience demographics demand that.

Q: How do you see Snap Surveys developing in the future and what goals would you like to achieve?

A: I’ve always seen us as providing the 99% of survey software functionality that 90% of users want.

We’ll continue to do that, but working on novel solutions to fit contemporary frameworks – Snap Survey Software has seen many infrastructure changes in its lifetime and the ability to adapt and leverage the benefits those bring is and will always be key.

Q: Are there any new products or services in the pipeline?

A: Loads, actually. We will be shortly launching our new cloud-based platform, Snap Feedback Management System (presently referred to as Snap FMS). As well as providing a browser-only interface, this new platform will integrate more tightly with mobile platforms for those on the move, and the desktop platform for power users. “Collaboration” is a core feature of this platform: I see the ability for users to share work with others and publish work to others as essential.

Thank you! We would like to thank all of our customers for 35 years of business, and we look forward to providing high quality survey products and services to our customers for the next 35 years and beyond!