Kantar Sifo has been the largest and best-known market survey company in Sweden since 1954.  For several decades Kantar Sifo has conducted a large annual consumer survey – Orvesto, in which over 50,000 respondents answer a 48-page survey.  Preparation of the questionnaire, handling different editions, scanning completed surveys, statistical analysis of the data, printing and distribution of the survey, all add complexities to the survey process.  In addition, different steps in the process are performed from different parts of Sweden.

Early Beginning

In 2005, Kantar Sifo contacted Gislen Software to support them with development for Orvesto.  To get a basic understanding of how the Orvesto product worked, we began by developing a report solution for the platform.  This was a requirement but it was also a good pilot project and gave us time to learn more about the company and its needs.  Since then we have developed solutions for different departments, initially using a traditional life-cycle development methodology and later agile methodology.

The Solution

In 2007-2008, workshops were organised to discuss the integration of the design tool with the existing software solution provided by a partner company in the WPP Group.  The result was a decision that Gislen Software would develop a middleware solution which would tie together the existing software, Adobe Indesign and ReadSoft’s Eyes and Hands scanning solution.  In addition, a version control system was specified to store different versions of questionnaires and other artefacts.

The Pre-study

Integration with existing software provided by Kantar-SIFO’s partner needed further analysis as the two companies had different for conducting and managing surveys.  Terminologies were also different, which led to more workshops where terms were mapped, integration hurdles were defined and solutions to overcome these hurdles were identified.  Kantar Media Research in the UK needed to add functionality to its product and expand the API.  Gislen Software needed to update the overall Requirement Specification produced earlier to satisfy the new vision and scope.

Design and Development

Though most of the integration hurdles were identified during the pre-study phase, the design phase had a few more to overcome.  A prototype was produced to identify performance bottlenecks (because of data transfer between the two applications) and to check if the APIs exposed by the questionnaire application met the requirements of the middleware application.  Gislen Software also produced a screen prototype to give Kantar-SIFO a feel for the application.  The different parts are developed in different technologies – the Plug-in for Adobe Indesign in Javascript and the main part of the application in Dot Net.  Integration with the version control system and the scanning system also required different technologies.

 The Future

The middleware solution was designed to meet the future needs of Kantar-SIFO.  If any of the components such as the question database tool, survey design tool, version control, scanning and OCR tool or the reporting tool need to be changed, or if Kantar-SIFO decides to run other types of surveys, then the middleware solution can easily be extended to support any of these activities.

Further Collaboration

In 2009, we developed a solution for another department called PR Research to manage press coverage for group companies and clients.  This is a web-based solution.  Reports are produced from news articles imported into the system and coded.  The system was delivered in 2010 and we have since provided support and further development.

In 2011, Kantar-SIFO asked us to take over the maintenance and development of their employee survey system from Kantar-SIFO’s ERC business area.  The system was built to manage very large surveys for complex organisations with up to 100,000 employees.  We placed a team onsite to learn and understand how the system worked and how it had been developed.  We designed a 360-degree survey module and have since provided a permanent team for the ERC department for support and further development. The product has since been modernised and certain parts have been rewritten to better suits Kantar-Sifo’s customers. For example, in 2017, we helped Kantar-Sifo to update the product so that it would support GDPR. All this work has been done using Agile development methodology; Scrum and Extreme Programming.


Over the last 14 years, Gislen Software and Kantar-SIFO have enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with the close relationship between the companies providing a solid foundation.  Working closely together helps to keep costs low.  Gislen Software has, with its strong Swedish connection, provided an easy way for Kantar-SIFO to manage the outsourcing process to India.

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