Building business intelligence used to be a lengthy and arduous process. It involved a huge amount of legwork, mainly for the purpose of data gathering from diverse sources. But even before the legwork began, there was the unenviable task of finding the right people for the required information about the business environment, competitors and market figures. All this is now superfluous, because most of this information can simply be gathered from the Internet. Online research is the new name of the game, and it has overtaken all the conventional methods of building business intelligence, chiefly on account of one factor: it is, by and large, extremely cost-effective.
The concept of online research can be understood by a simple breakdown of the terms ‘online’ and ‘research’. While the first term is self-explanatory, the second translates to visiting the websites of competitors, market analysis firms, and various other sources of data spread across the Internet. The only prerequisite is a familiarity with the fundamentals of searching for information online. The most general way to achieve this is through popular search engines like Google or Bing, whose search results can then be sifted for the relevant data. But this can prove time-taking, with the accompanying advantage that it is exhaustive as long as the right keywords are chosen for the search.
A much better way to perform online research for building business intelligence, including competitive intelligence, is searching for company and market information on websites that are dedicated to this very area. Many vast online repositories of company information exist, and constant, almost real-time, updating ensures that the information about competitors and the like to be found in these repositories is most recent. Since most of these databases have advanced searching options, the search for the required information can be conducted with ease in a fraction of the time required to achieve the same through telephone calls and legwork. Plus, these services are, in the vast majority of cases, totally free of cost, once again unlike offline business intelligence building, which involves logistical and administrative costs, as well as petty bribery in many cases.
Another important facet of online research for business intelligence building is keeping abreast of news regarding competitors and the market in general. This can be accomplished by subscribing to various online business news sites, which keep sending updates at regular intervals. It is also advisable to keep scanning these websites frequently, so that anything new the competitors may be up to, or market reactions to business activities, is quickly conveyed and responsive measures taken. There are many new aggregating sites as well, which display feeds from various leading business newspapers. Browsing these is, needless to say, free of charge.
Expert opinions for BI purposes are also available online, published in online news groups and the websites of business conventions and conferences. In addition, patent information, which may be required by the research and development wing of a business, can also be viewed online. Online research is, thus, a wholesome and nearly zero-cost option for any company looking to develop business intelligence by gathering information about market benchmarks, rival company activities, recent technological developments, and trends and customer reactions to product launches and the like.
About Author :
Gobinda Roy is the Founder of Ennovation Consulting and has been involved in online research, Industry research and sales consulting for over 14 years. He is alumnus of Indian premier Institute IIT Kharagpur and has over 12 years of corporate experience. . He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing online and marketing research strategies for companies in the US , Australia , UK and across Europe. He is co-founder of Lakshay Foundation and mentor at India’s top Business School CIIE, IIM Ahmadabad .