One of the biggest challenges faced when performing research for supply market intelligence is determining the correct resources to use. This challenge is widely recognized within the procurement community. Tata, in a recent white paper states: “In short, it [supply market intelligence] results in procurement personnel spending huge amounts of time on gathering knowledge. Today, large volumes of information are available online. But it is not easy to find valuable and relevant information – for instance, competitor intelligence and cost trends for a particular category are difficult to acquire.” While addressing the problems of wading through large amounts of information, or the difficulties of finding obscure information, it is also important to realize the need for using authoritative, credible information for intelligence investigation. This should be the number one consideration when evaluating research intelligence resources. How do you determine this? The rule to follow is this: The authority of the research resource rests with the credibility of the author or organization responsible for producing the information. How do you determine credibility of the source from where the data originates? When you are determining credibility from an Internet source, there are many things to consider, such as, the impartiality and timeliness of the data being presented and the motivation of the provider. Also, can you verify through triangulation? But what about research that involves using commercial databases and larger, more complex resources? The number one way to ensure credibility is to enquire and investigate the original data sources being used. An authoritative resource will generously make available their list of data providers.
On May 6, at ISM2015 Annual Conference, I will be presenting, along with my co-author Kelly Barner (virtually), on supply market intelligence risk assessment and research resources. Risk assessment is covered in the first part of our book (Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals: Research, Process, and Resources) and listings of supplier and geopolitical risk research resources are provided in the second part. Most of the presentation will be dedicated to covering various risk research resources. Preparing for this presentation once again confirms for me the importance of original source data. The resources I will be highlighting during the presentation are examples of providers that demonstrate the high value they place on their original sources. Because, ultimately, it’s these original sources from where the information is being pulled that are so important. Theses sources are the foundation, the core, or the scaffolding from which your intelligence is being built and it needs to be firm and solid. Using providers that demonstrate this high value ensures that you are drawing from data resources that are of the highest quality, and therefore credible. Providers, for example, like LexisNexis and BvD have long histories of using reputable core databases and sources, and the newer offerings, such as riskmethods and CSRHub do the same.