There are three important trends taking shape in market intelligence in the areas of procurement, sourcing, and supply chain that both research/data providers and procurement researchers should note.
The Importance of Quality Data Will be Grasped. For Some, Through Hard Lessons Learned
As stated in the Outsell Information Industry Outlook 2018 report, in a section titled “Forget Big Data, Focus on Good Data,” the point is made about what Outsell calls Pipes and Water: “It’s okay to have the shiniest new pipes. But if what’s running through them is polluted, not treated properly, or just not ample enough to flow through the pipes…It doesn’t matter if one has the shiniest mainframe, coolest laptop, hippest social network, or Watson. If it’s crunching away on bad water — bad data, misinformation, fake news — it’s going to yield information underload” (phrase attributed to Mike Caulfield). Information and research providers will focus on data accuracy and use it for competitive advantage. But it’s more than that. As the march to Big Data becomes more intense, the market will self-correct and providers that do not grasp the importance of quality data will be weeded out. In order for this to happen, some very hard lessons will be learned by organizations that make strategic decisions based on bad data that was generated via polluted pipes.
Crowdsourced Knowledge Goes Mainstream
Crowdsourced knowledge, also known as peer analysis, user-generated content, community-based research, among other terms, initially got off to a slow start. A few years ago, a new generation of research startups, mostly in the area of IT, introduced a model that centers on the concept of reviews coming from professionals who are currently using the technologies, professional services, and suppliers in enterprise environments based on direct experience. The reviews are intended to be unbiased. One of the earliest startups, G2 Crowd, started in 2012 and provides a platform for IT user-based reviews and now has almost 270,000 validated user reviews. Look for any supplier discovery offering, either commercial or open access, to offer a platform that allows for peer review and user-generated content.
The Role of the Independent Analyst Will Evolve
In the past, the analyst or research provider, based on his or her own subject matter and/or product/service expertise, provided buyers with valuable insight in order to help them make successful critical decisions for their organizations. Based on current trends, three of the most important criteria needed for optimum data or intelligence are 1) authority/quality, 2) keen expertise, and 3) peer experience input. To address this, the current analyst role will need to shift from researcher to conductor. This means that his or her highly valued expertise is utilized for not only content, but to orchestrate and ensure that that research being provided has been created with quality (clean) data and verified and has been reviewed by peers that have experience with potential suppliers or markets being considered.