When you're doing research, it's difficult to realize what you're really producing. And it's also difficult for people not in your team to really put a value on what you're actually doing. I've been asked by some of our newer hires what I exactly do. As an economics major, I thought about describing my research as a system of inputs and outputs for the whole company.
The main thing I do is receive and analyze things from a variety of teams and customers. They give me things to figure out. And I go figure out whether that "thing" is worthwhile to pursue, whether it turns out to be a new feature we build, a competitive information we can use in marketing and sales, or a bug that needs to be fixed ASAP.
Product gives me hypotheses.
Design gives me wireframes and prototypes.
Support gives me customer feedback.
Customers give me feedback.
Sales gives me product/market competition concerns.
What I do with all these inputs is different. The output of my work from these results in different deliverables.
I give Product my user research findings.
I give Design my usability test results for their designs.
I give Support an updated product development pipeline for their customer feedback requests.
I give Customers direct help for their concerns, re-assurance that we are addressing their issues, and roll up their feedback so I can keep track of what customers need.
I give Sales market research and competitor workshops on how to talk to customers about a specific scenario or product.
I think this is a testament to the UX field that we're really involved in all parts of the business as we're really concerned with every moment of a customer's experience of the product - from the first touchpoint of the website, to the sale, all the way to the end-user experience and so forth.