Why MRDCL for crosstabs / tabulations?
MRDCL is one of a small number of software produc…Read more
MRDCL is one of a small number of software products that allow data processing professionals to efficiently produce volumes of crosstabulations, crosstabs, tabulations, tables or whatever you call them using a scripting language. Whilst there are hundreds of software products available to the market research and surveying business, there are few scripted tabulation software programs.
For many years, the market leader in this sector has been Quantum. Impressively so, in my opinion. Written in the late 1970s/early 1980s and not developed since the late 1990s, it succeeded in being the number one product in this market for a long while. Why? It used a relatively simple scripting language and was marketed successfully before competitors could get a foothold. However, Quantum’s day has passed, leaving MRDCL as the right product for modern needs.
MRDCL differentiates itself from other products as it now only has a complete set of tools to produce any tabulations you might need, but its development has been focused on productivity. High productivity means saving money – it’s as simple as that. However, that is a big claim, so let’s look at three features that make such a big difference.
EPS is a technique within MRDCL that users love. It stands for Excel Productivity Scripting. It means that you can prepare a template in Excel to your own design which will automatically run MRDCL script. What does that mean in practice? Let’s look at a practical example. Most questionnaires have rating scales. From rating scales, you might be able to think of, say, 15 types of tables that you might ever want from rating scales. Using EPS, you can set the parameters of your rating scale, check off which of the 15 table types you want using any notation you choose (such as keywords, abbreviations, numbers, ticks) and magically your tables are produced. What’s more, results are more likely to be correct and will only take a minute to specify rather than, perhaps, 30 minutes or more. These templates can be used from project to project and a whole team can share the template so that everybody handles the task in the same way. This really improves productivity. There are gains from reduced staff time, time spent finding errors, time spent looking after someone’s else work when they are ill or on holiday and staff flexibility.
This EPS template feature and other tools in MRDCL mean that projects can be shared. If Quantum and most other scripted tabulation programs have one failing, it is that it is hard for staff to share projects. It means that too often that over-skilled staff handle simple parts of a project. MRDCL puts an end to this. Projects can be shared so that skilled staff can handle the more complex parts and junior staff can handle the easier tasks. This frees up senior staff to do what they are good at and saves money as less skilled staff can handle the easier parts of a project.
The third productivity feature is one that some competitor products claim is a disadvantage! Some products claim that you can do “anything” with their software because there is a programming language (like Visual Basic) that can be accessed for complex requirements. The claim is that possibilities are limitless. This may be true, but it hides the real problem. MRDCL is already capable of doing anything that users want. I truly cannot remember a support request where MRDCL cannot handle what is required. MRDCL means that everything can be handled in one language. This is a gain! The cost and practicality of using an external programming language like Visual Basic or Python just because something is outside the scope of a less fully featured product can mean anything from delays to non-delivery and hours of struggle with an unfamiliar language to expensive outsourcing. Falling back on a programming language like Python, R or Visual Basic is not a good solution.
Well, of course, there are. We have over 50 videos to help you from learning the basics through to advanced concepts. We have a highly responsive support team. We run free masterclass webinars. We have free tools for research executives or clients to produce extra tables interactively. We are an easy company to do business with. And what’s more, we are committed to helping you to produce volumes of crosstabulations, crosstabs, tabulations, tables or whatever you call them as efficiently as possible.
If you’re serious about crosstabulations, talk to us now. Quantum was the first program to make scripted market research tabulations easy, we have built on that to take the art to the next level.