Phil Hearn: Blogger, Writer & Founder of MRDC Software Ltd.

Extending the capabilities of a research and insights platform

Embedding MRDCL, a premium crosstab application, in your platform

There are 1001 platforms for market research and survey analysis. Since 2020, we have made it easy for platforms to embed our MRDCL product as a white-label product, giving more or less unlimited capabilities in building variables and generating the most complex crosstabs. I have seen many online systems claim to offer a complete range of tools for tabulations or be highly effective for analysis, but nothing matches MRDCL when it comes to crosstabs.

Why embed MRDCL?

Software development takes time, costs money and can take time to get working without any bugs. Embedding MRDCL into an application means that delivery time and staff costs can take a fraction of the time, with the benefit of a reduced risk of bugs. It means that being responsive to user needs is fast and practical. A feature that might take two weeks (or much more) to add can be implemented within one or two days by linking the user interface of the controlling application to MRDCL. Or maybe only an hour, as we have experienced in some cases!

The key reasons for embedding MRDCL in your application

  • Get access to complex variable definitions
  • Produce crosstab of any complexity
  • Faster development times
  • Lower development costs
  • To perform the number-crunching for other processes, such as dashboards, PowerPoint presentations, custom reporting
  • Limitless potential

The technical bit that non-technicians should read

Platforms typically grow over time. Whether the platform or application has a big crosstab

component or not doesn’t matter. What happens with platforms is that new features or tools get bolted on. This process of ‘bolting on’ new features can make later developments cumbersome, sometimes impossible, or often mean going backwards to go forward. By making MRDCL the engine for variables and crosstabs, any new features or developments can be quickly and efficiently added. This aspect of software development is often overlooked.

What inspired us? A short story.

About four years ago, I saw an online demo of a leading product (I’ll let it remain anonymous) showcasing their new development to allow rim weighting. We’ve all had demonstrations or presentations that go wrong, and, sure enough, the demo went wrong. However, that wasn’t my main problem for me. The solution was clunky, difficult to use, and confusing. As a software developer, I could see something ‘foreign’ being bolted onto an otherwise excellent platform, probably due to client pressure. If they had plugged into MRDCL, it would have been a tidy solution and developed, I suspect, in a fraction of the time.

What applications and platforms would benefit?

If you have an application developed to process one project, possibly a big project, embedding MRDCL may not be the solution you need. Such projects usually have a straight-line path and clearly defined requirements. However, when multiple users are processing different types of surveys, the chances of needing new features or tools increase substantially. Although you might start with limited tools for constructing variables, producing complex tables, handling data weighting, significance testing, or large volumes of simpler crosstabs are likely to be a necessity with multiple users. MRDCL makes this easy as the tools are already in place, and MRDCL has the engine to cope with these increased needs – with ease.

How do applications connect to MRDCL?

There is a three-step approach to connecting to MRDCL. Firstly, your application must have a user interface to determine the analysis you want MRDCL to process. This may be as simple as adding a checkbox to a form, collecting information, or setting a series of interactions. The second step is to send these instructions in MRDCL code form to the MRDCL engine. As experts in using the platform, we can help if necessary, but most platform engineers learn how to work with MRDCL quickly. Thirdly, your application can collect the results from MRDCL so that you can present them in your application however you wish. Once you have set up these three steps – INTERFACE > PROCESS > COLLECT– any future developments can use the same process.

Will MRDCL do everything I need?

One question we often get asked is whether MRDCL will do everything you might ever need. We obviously can’t say ‘yes’ to this, but there is absolutely nothing on our development list that users have requested. Here are some examples of MRDCL’s scope:

  • Variables with up to 30000 responses
  • 30000 rows in a table
  • 5000 columns in a table
  • Rim, target, factor and quantity weighing
  • 10+ significance test variants
  • Automation tools
  • All types of summary tables
  • Data from multiple sources
  • Much, much more!

What’s next in MRDCL?

We continually develop and improve the MRDCL platform. We have recently added automation features so that you can import data from other platforms and produce reports automatically. Similarly, you can activate multiple runs of crosstabs, which can be helpful for tracking studies, a type of survey that MRDCL handles with excellent efficiency. A development that is in progress is to automate PowerPoint presentations within MRDCL.

Let’s talk

Whether you have a platform that users pay a subscription to use or whether your application is for internal use or for clients or colleagues to explore data, building your application around MRDCL can unlock greater potential. We are always happy to give you a free trial of MRDCL and discuss the best ways to integrate your platform with MRDCL. Contact Nikki Sunga ( now to arrange an appointment and find out more; our expert technical team will be on hand to ensure your implementation is a smooth process.