Business intelligence publishers risk undermining their own value if they don’t empower in-house research teams
Rapidly evolving markets and the burgeoning digital economy mean the business intelligence world is undergoing fundamental transformation – one effect of this change is an existential pressure being applied on the in-house research teams producing competitive and market intelligence.
These teams face challenges on two fronts: to manage reports and data in way that maximises the value of this material in a fast-paced digital environment and to prove their own worth to those who might question their usefulness. For a function that grew out of the corporate library, that is usually regarded as a cost centre, and has often seen a reduction in funding and headcount, that’s a tough ask.
So, how do they face down these challenges and become an essential element of a forward-looking organisation? The answer lies in improving their technology – and this is where publishers of market analysis can help (and at the same time help themselves).
Bountiful research, not easily found
Corporates and large consulting firms spend millions of dollars buying-in research, but many of these organisations fail to make the most of their investment because of the way that information is stored and accessed.
Often, reports are stored as PDFs and data is kept in spreadsheets in a shared drive. Although everyone can access this information, the reality is they don’t. The time and difficulty involved in sifting through documents to locate vital material will simply prove prohibitive. The pain associated with extracting and reusing valuable insights and datasets is equally limiting on usage.
To unlock the potential of this information, it needs to be accessible, fully searchable, easy to understand, and then simple to repurpose.
Avoid the bottleneck
Previously, business intelligence was underused because – as described above – even simple searches could take hours.
Thankfully, those days can be a thing of the past. Good quality research tech, more specifically, good quality content delivery software, now means users can find and reuse information in minutes.
Using a high-spec content platform could help in-house research teams prepare and share reports more easily and, consequently, become strong advocates for those publishers who can provide their research through a system of this kind.
With a high-spec content platform, end users are empowered with rich information. Ease of accessibility and use also means end users will use the technology repeatedly and more widely – all of which helps alleviate another live issue that in-house research teams deal with… the bottleneck.
When information is stored on a shared drive that, as we have previously described, is hard-to-navigate, it creates a knock-on problem. To get at this information, the default approach is to go through the in-house research team and ask them to search out that information and send it over directly.
Now, these teams are often small, and overworked, so when a request for information comes in from another part of the business, provision of this service takes time. This is frustrating for the person who made the request and does little to encourage them to seek further information.
If reports and data are buried in unsearchable shared drives, and those seeking information in a business are forced to harass an overworked in-house research team – and then wait for their information, this is a dangerous situation for the authors of the research.
If your clients can’t see the true value of what you produce, they will start to question why they are paying for it, particularly given the amount of free, albeit lesser quality, information available via a Google search. If, however, you empower your clients with self-service technology, where the search experience is crafted to suit their particular needs, then the value the pay for access to your portfolio can easily be maximised.
In-house research teams should be available to produce reports, collate an intimate understanding of the information they have at hand, and act as gatekeepers to all business intelligence, guiding colleagues with their expert knowledge when departments within their organisation need specialist help.
They can only do this if they are freed of the burden of supplying information. For that to happen, their colleagues must be able to search, access, and use research information for themselves.
They need a high-quality content platform that allows them to perform all these tasks in minutes, not days – and they need this platform to be an enabling tool, not something that adds another layer of difficultly or ‘process’ to the busy workday.
Mitali is a Physics graduate and holds a Master’s degree in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine from the University of Manchester.
A content licencing and distribution specialist, Mitali oversees all aspects of Publish Interactive, drawing from her 15 years’ experience in the publishing industry, including ten years in senior management.
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