Online research really is one part art and one part science. Whether you regularly collect competitive landscape intel to expand on your business intelligence (BI) or use online research for emerging trends and technology, consider creating a guide as a handy tool to streamline your process.
Research is a large part of what informs our decisions – and either we initiate it or our customers provide us with their own as a starting point. Regardless of the source, there are some important guidelines to take into consideration so that you are approaching your broad searches from a place of consistency and thoroughness.
Broad Search Tips: Variety Is Key
Initially, it may be useful to cast a “wide net” and conduct broader searches for your preliminary research. This is like crawling before you walk; you may ‘know” what specific company or tool that you’re seeking to learn about; consider, though, that broad searches can open your eyes to potential pathways, trends, or applications of use that you hadn’t previously considered.
Here are some suggestions to get started:
- Conduct searches based on key phrases that are directly relevant to emerging trends and technology or specific capability in which you’re searching. For example:
- “[X application] for [size] business” → “cloud storage websites for an enterprise business”
- “Trends in [x tech / capability area]” → “ trends in cloud storage functionality”
- “[X} solutions for [x industry]” → “big data solutions for insurance business”
- Experiment with variations of those phrases by adding examples of similar companies, related categories or industries, and also alternate between phrases and complete questions. For example:
- “Competitors to GoogleDrive for enterprise business”
- “Why do businesses use Amazon Web Services?”
- “Big data storage automation”
- Look at citations on articles that you have found / like. Often, citations provide a link to the original source where you may be able to find even more information for your broad – or specialty – search.
Narrow Search Tips: Specialty Resources Rock
When you’re ready to dive into more specific functionality or specialty sites for a list of players in the industry, try trade and specialty sites and startup and venture capital sites. These specialty resources can provide deeper insights in your research for emerging trends and technology. You’d be surprised how many companies that you have heard of are considered ‘emerging’; so, don’t leave these off in your search.
Here are some tips on where to go and how to do it:
- For industry-specific resources, look for trade publications or specialized industry sites. Continuing the cloud storage example in the broad search, here are a few examples:
- Cloud Computing Magazine
- Gigabit Magazine
- Inside Big Data
- Check out emerging or startup companies, too. In addition to conducting a broad search (i.e. “emerging companies in cloud storage” ), check out venture capital, private equity, and m&a database portals. Some listings may also provide PPT decks that give access to the competitive landscape research, too. Here are a few places to start:
- Angel List
- There may even be investment firms that specialize in a particular industry that will have even more resources. Try searching for:
- “[X] firm in [x industry]” → “investment firm in cloud computing”
- “Incubator for [x industry] startup” → “ incubator for cloud computing startup”
- “Venture capital firm for emerging company in [x industry’]” → “venture capital firm for emerging company in cloud storage”
- Last but not least: talk to your network! You never know what hidden gems that your peers may use for resources.
Conducting research that drives meaningful insights is so important to inform your decisions. Whether qualitative or quantitative, we can help you accelerate your business intelligence activities and develop a point of view on what it means and how to use it. Give us a call when you need a helping hand.