Get the right data—make the right decisions

Leaders have critical decisions to make. And their people hold the key to getting them right. ThoughtExchange can help. With both survey and Exchange technology, leaders get the whole story. Find out how.
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March 27, 2023

Meghan MacRae

ThoughtExchange Vs. The Competition: Who Gets You Better Data?

10 minutes

As organizations continue to focus on gathering feedback, the demand for efficient survey tools is growing. From providing valuable information that helps improve strategic plans and operations to boosting engagement, surveys can uncover critical data and information that help create a more positive experience for all team and community members.

While traditional surveys are helpful, they can sometimes limit nuance and insight, therefore limiting your organization’s decision-making abilities. By going beyond the standard survey format, a tool like ThoughtExchange provides organizations with deeper insights, faster results, a more streamlined experience, and ahead-of-the-curve collective intelligence technology.

See ThoughtExchange in Action — Watch the Product Tour

In this post, we’ll see how ThoughtExchange stacks up to enterprise survey and analytics platforms and free or low-cost survey tools so that you can choose the right tool for your organization’s unique needs.

In this Article

What is ThoughtExchange?

ThoughtExchange is the world’s most trusted engagement and survey platform leaders use to create alignment and solve their most complex and pressing problems. With quantitative survey and qualitative Exchange functionality, we make it fast and easy to surpass the surface-level data most survey platforms offer.

With an Exchange, leaders ask groups of 10 to 10,000+ just one question to access thousands of valuable data points. Participants respond anonymously in their own words and rate each other’s responses at random, so the most supported ideas rise to the top, and each idea is considered an equal number of times. The built-in AI tools analyze and sort their responses in real-time—so leaders and their teams can focus on responding and taking action instead of being buried in spreadsheets. Quickly export a report, HTML page, or slides to share with participants and other interested parties.

We've got you covered when you just need quick and simple data. Our Classic Survey functionality removes the need for multiple engagement tools to gather data for benchmarking and reporting. Leaders can ask multiple styles of survey questions and leverage different question types, including Likert scale, dropdown, comment box, and satisfaction score. And with our best-in-class analytics, you can dive deeper into the survey data through beautiful visualizations. With ThoughtExchange, you can run a stand-alone survey or run surveys alongside your Exchanges and collect the data from both features in one place.

Education leaders need to do what’s best for their communities and students. And that starts with navigating ChatGPT’s potential impact and assessing implementation for optimal student outcomes. Below are insights from our webinar, our student Exchange, and our collaboration with ChatGPT.

ThoughtExchange vs. Enterprise survey and analytics

As enterprise survey and analytics platforms are engagement surveys (with a focus on employee and customer experience), they are often compared to ThoughtExchange. Let’s take a closer look at how each stacks up against the competition.

What are enterprise survey and analytics?

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms are quantitative survey platforms that allow organizations to create, distribute, and analyze employee and customer surveys.

ThoughtExchange vs. enterprise survey and analytics platforms: Functionality

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms provide managers with insights into their employee sentiment. They also often integrate predictive intelligence and machine learning to uncover survey insights, which helps reveal and prioritize key topics. They frequently include preconfigured dashboards that let teams filter and personalize the data depending on the audience or recipient. Their main strength as survey platforms is tracking basic metrics.

In comparison, the product's focus on insights and actions differentiates ThoughtExchange from enterprise survey and analytics platforms. With ThoughtExchange, you can use our Classic Survey functionality to provide a general engagement overview or pulse check and use an Exchange to source actual insights and next steps. An Exchange is a tool for multi-directional dialogue designed to simplify and speed up qualitative data collection and analysis. Since the built-in AI tools analyze and sort the data as people participate, the final analysis and reporting process is quick and easy. And with the latest AI technologies built directly into ThoughtExchange, leaders can execute custom analysis tasks instantly.

Designing and building surveys, getting people to participate, and then trying to analyze the data can take months—and this process usually doesn’t even uncover the important underlying issues. ThoughtExchange’s Classic Surveys and Exchanges are quick and easy to create, can take place live or on-demand, and can be run separately or concurrently depending on the depth of data needed.

ThoughtExchange vs. enterprise survey and analytics platforms: Participant experience

When it comes to the participant experience, taking a survey through the average enterprise survey and analytics platform doesn’t provide the validation many employees and community members are looking for when offering feedback. As a one-way, static communication experience, participants may be more susceptible to survey fatigue.

In contrast, ThoughtExchange offers a dynamic, many-to-many discussion that lets people learn from each other and witness their personal impact. In an Exchange, participants anonymously share their answers and read and rate each other’s answers. As one customer put it, ThoughtExchange “allows you to expand the thinking in the room, as opposed to limiting it.”

The chart below compares each product's features, strengths, and weaknesses:

Product

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms

ThoughtExchange

Description

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms

Survey platforms for tracking and measuring quantitative feedback.

ThoughtExchange

ThoughtExchange is an engagement and survey platform leaders use to capture, track, measure, and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data.
Features

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms

  • All-in-one workspaces
  • Built-in idea boards for crowdsourcing team ideas
  • Customizable experience
  • Scaleable
  • Organization hierarchy tool
  • Predictive AI analytics engine

ThoughtExchange

  • All-in-one data dashboard
  • Scalable Anti-bias, inclusive technology
  • Live presentation mode
  • Offers both classic survey functionality and Exchange functionality
  • Built-in AI sorts and analyzes responses in real-time
  • Tools for finding common ground on divisive topics
  • Custom landing pages to showcase individual projects and all engagement initiatives
Strengths

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms

  • Employee engagement surveys have many features and customization options
  • Strong quantitative analysis
  • Great for tracking trends and changes in responses
  • Variety of solutions for different organizational needs
  • No add-ons required

ThoughtExchange

  • Enjoyable user experience with a dynamic and interactive format on any device
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative analysis
  • Great for tracking trends and changes in responses
  • No add-ons required Prioritized insights and actions that help plan next steps
  • Finds common ground ideas in polarized groups
  • Leverages the collective intelligence of the group to solve complex problems
Weaknesses

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms

  • Doesn’t uncover the underlying reasons or any further insights where it’s apparent that improvements are needed
  • Limited ways for participants to learn from each other or produce actionable results faster
  • Surveys can take a long time to create and build (and still not provide the necessary insights)

ThoughtExchange

  • Hearing people’s candid ideas and feedback requires openness from leaders
  • Requires a willingness for transparency in decision-making
  • Offers fewer survey question types than some enterprise survey and analytics platforms
Explore all the features and benefits of ThoughtExchange, in depth, at your own convenience.
Watch Product Tour

ThoughtExchange vs. Free or low-cost survey tools

If you’re looking for a free or low-cost survey tool, chances are you’ve come across or even already used the variety of tools available. Let’s take a look at how they compare to ThoughtExchange.

What are free or low-cost survey tools?

Free or low-cost survey tools give users a simplistic way to ask a range of survey questions and collect feedback, making them accessible to most people.

Depending on users' needs, many free or low-cost survey tools offer free and paid plans. They allow users to create, share, and analyze online forms and surveys in real time.

ThoughtExchange vs. free and low-cost survey tools: Functionality

Free or low-cost survey tools offer a range of features for the survey process. Some offer AI-powered tools for guidance and logic in choosing questions, along with customizable templates. These surveys can be shared via web links, email, or embedded forms on your website, with built-in reports and dashboards for analyzing feedback data. Many free or low-cost survey tools integrate with tools like Microsoft Teams, MailChimp, HubSpot, and Zoom.

That said, the free plans often only include their most basic features. While this usually provides access to unlimited surveys, they often limit customers to:

  • Around 10 questions per survey
  • A viewing limit of 10 responses per survey
  • Limited team collaboration features (no shared analytics, templates, or library)
  • Limited template types (paid plans offer more)
  • No ability to rate responses or questions

Like free or low-cost survey tools, ThoughtExchange offers Classic Surveys in addition to Exchanges so that you can choose to run a quick quantitative data survey or a more in-depth qualitative data survey—or both. The Classic Survey tool allows you to ask multiple styles of survey questions, including Likert scale, dropdown, comment box, and satisfaction score. Quickly import answer options with bulk upload, and use branching to improve data quality by customizing the questions participants answer based on their previous responses. And with best-in-class analytics in the leader dashboard, you can dive deeper into the survey data through beautiful visualizations. ThoughtExchange also has integrations with Slack, Microsoft Teams, Outlook Calendar, Google Calendar, and other tools.

Free or low-cost survey tools also have some limitations regarding data at scale. In comparison, ThoughtExchange offers deeper and richer insights from larger volumes of qualitative data. Whether there are 10 or 10,000 participants, ThoughtExchange has specifically designed AI and manual tools to sort and group large amounts of data into themes. This helps end users better understand the details, nuance, and complexities that can arise from conversations—something that’s near impossible to do with free or low-cost survey data.

In an Exchange, the results are prioritized based on ratings and context rather than simply the number of responses or frequency. This helps reveal unique yet powerful ideas that might have been overlooked simply because only one participant submitted them. Plus, Classic Survey data and Exchange data can be cross-analyzed, producing an even more comprehensive understanding of sentiment and thoughts. While basic reporting and analytics features are available with free and low-cost tools, they usually don’t provide the same level of insights and analysis needed to make strategic decisions.

What enhances ThoughtExchange’s functionality is the expertise and community available to users. The team has years of combined experience supporting customers working on numerous challenges across their organizations, which has resulted in a holistic and proven approach to finding the best solution for every customer.

ThoughtExchange vs. free or low-cost tools: The participant experience

In addition to the Classic Survey functionality, with ThoughtExchange, participants take part in a share-rate-discover process in Exchanges. This means that they’re exposed to the viewpoints and ideas of fellow participants, which creates strong opportunities for collaboration and brainstorming, and allows leaders to find common ground ideas between polarized groups and achieve more unity in their communities.

By contrast, free or low-cost survey tools often do not allow users to see or rate other responses, which keeps responses siloed and buried. This can limit the diversity of perspectives and experiences generated throughout the process.

Product

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms

ThoughtExchange

Description

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms

Free or low-cost survey tools allow users to create and distribute surveys to collect and analyze feedback easily.

ThoughtExchange

ThoughtExchange is an engagement and survey platform leaders use to capture, track, measure, and analyze quantitative and qualitative data.
Features

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms

  • Flexible and scalable pricing and plans (from free to enterprise) options
  • Various customization possibilities
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Choice of question types and templates

ThoughtExchange

  • All-in-one data dashboard
  • Scalable
  • Anti-bias, inclusive technology
  • Live presentation mode
  • Offers both classic survey functionality and Exchange functionality
  • Built-in AI sorts and analyzes responses in real-time
  • Tools for finding common ground on divisive topics
  • Automated reporting to export PDFs, HTML pages, and slides
  • Custom landing pages to showcase individual projects and all engagement initiatives
Strengths

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms

  • Offer question types and features (such as branching)
  • Quick and easy way to collect small amounts of qualitative data
  • Free or low-cost
  • Usually easy-to-use and accessible to users of all skill sets
  • Recognized and trusted by participants

ThoughtExchange

  • Offer question types and features (such as branching)
  • Use Classic Survey tool for a quick and easy way to gather quantitative data from any sized group
  • Use Exchange tool for prioritized insights based on participant ratings rather than just frequency of responses
  • Richer and deeper analysis of qualitative data
  • Cross-analysis of quantitative survey data and qualitative Exchange data
  • Easy-to-use and accessible to users of all skill sets
  • Expert support
  • Enjoyable participant experience and collaboration potential
Weaknesses

Enterprise survey and analytics platforms

  • Free plans come with major limitations for in-depth data
  • Data is difficult and time-consuming to analyze when collected from larger samples or at scale
  • Lack of in-depth analytics and tools
  • Participants are unable to see or rate each others’ responses (less collaboration)
  • Don’t provide quality insights into stakeholders’ priorities
  • No strategic support to help achieve user goals
  • Data stored in multiple locations which can lead to security and privacy issues

ThoughtExchange

  • More costly due to premium and enterprise-level features
  • Offers fewer survey question types than SurveyMonkey
  • Requires a willingness for transparency in decision-making

What depth of data do you need for better decisions?

Every platform has its place. While enterprise-level or free and low-cost survey tools are a quick and simple way to reveal explicit and significant shifts and changes through quantitative and smaller-scale data, these tools usually don’t provide any way to turn these insights into real, tangible action. Plus, the process of completing a survey won’t magically improve participant sentiment—especially if no real changes or improvements are seen as a result.

ThoughtExchange provides the ability to collect both quantitative and qualitative data through Classic Surveys and Exchanges, and has sophisticated AI data analysis tools built-in that can help you identify actionable insights. Using ThoughtExchange, leaders are able to identify concrete actions and participants can see their ideas come to life, increasing support and satisfaction at your organization.

If you don’t have the need for enterprise-level features and sophisticated analytics and reporting, a free or low-cost survey tool might be exactly what you’re looking for. With options for organizations of every size and purpose, the right survey tool is the one that works best for your specific organization’s goals and needs. But, for anyone looking for a robust and effective way to gather and analyze a deeper range of data in order to inform their decision-making and align their communities—it’s clear that ThoughtExchange stands out as the best choice.

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We’re happy to answer your questions, share pricing information, and explore use cases for your team.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Meghan MacRae
Meghan was raised by an English teacher, thus she found a way to incorporate her instinct for grammar and spelling into her career. She honed her corporate writing skills in clothing companies and the music industry, and brings a passion for creativity and playful wordsmithing to her work at ThoughtExchange. When she’s not crafting language that brings people together, she’s reading a thesaurus, playing Uno with her kids, cooking and singing and dancing, and collecting vinyl and art.

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