Subscribing to quality research can be expensive. Very expensive. Google is great and yes, you can at times, find market research and company credit/financial reports for free. The flip side is that there are many products and services that provide comprehensive, authoritative and quality research that is fee-based. Often times, the valuable information used for critical decision-making in procurement is not free. Key decisions should not be based on information that is only obtained and used because it is on the Internet (open web) and it is free.
Given that research subscriptions are generally expensive and it is imperative that quality information is used to make critical decisions, what is a procurement department with a tight budget to do? (Remember that public libraries, and possibly some local university libraries, provide free access to various business databases. Also other departments within your organization may subscribe to services that you can join.)
There are other options to explore as well. One of those is AlacraStore.com. This website allows you to purchase “one-off reports,” meaning you do not have to have a subscription to purchase single reports. Procurement professionals have access to premium databases such as D&B, Fitch, Moody’s, Datamonitor, S&P, Experian, GlobalData, IDC, Plunkett, PrivCo, EIU and Freedonia. The value here is that you can search all the databases at one time, allowing for comprehensive coverage. The report categories include Credit Ratings, Market Research, Company Reports, Country Profiles and M&A Info. Searches can be performed by keyword, company name, ticker symbol, publisher, or industry criteria. The results are pulled from all the categories, so for example, for a particular company, you could potentially see results for credit reports, financial reports, and any market research reports in which the company is included. You can also search by specific category only. You can register, then purchase and download reports with a credit card. When using AlacraStore.com there are no invoices, contracts or access fees.
Alacra also offers information workflow and compliance solutions, including a module for risk monitoring. Alacra has put together a nifty Periodic Table of Business Research Databases to help you identify which databases to consider, broken down by categories.