To conduct the most effective business intelligence research, use online sources, stick to quality over quantity, make judicious use of paid databases, and be careful to parse fact from fiction. These four tips will ensure that your research methods are targeted and efficient. Business intelligence collection is a research area with an increasing accessibility to laypersons. This is due to the pervasive use of the Internet to store, transmit, and present data for free public consumption.
In past decades, business intelligence was difficult to collect. The common standard was to release government-mandated information, such as financial statements, while carefully parsing out any other type of information through controlled channels. The type of instantaneous, consumer-driven dispersal of business information that the Internet allows was unknown at that time. Business intelligence research was often conducted by reporters or insiders that could do first-hand investigation into matters that were largely inaccessible to the public.
The Internet has drastically changed business intelligence research. There is a large quantity of information available on public and private companies and their key employees, and most of it is free to the public. This is largely a result of various government agencies digitizing their records and creating Internet-accessible databases that anyone can use to search for information on businesses. The first tip for conducting effective business intelligence research is to do the majority of it online. This will save you time and is more thorough because you can easily run the same search in multiple jurisdictions by visiting different websites.
Another tip is to favor quality over quantity. There is so much information available online that it can be easy to lose focus. Develop a list of the best research sources by topic and fine tune the list over time.
You will want to make judicious use of high quality business research databases that charge a fee. There are a handful of excellent business information aggregators that have a reputation for finding relevant and accurate intelligence and arranging it for analysis. This is a great way to save time in doing your own primary research and can serve as a check against the information that you find on your own.
Finally, be careful to verify information for accuracy, particularly with online sources that derive from the public. Social media has created a backlash for truth in news. Occasionally, information will spread quickly over the Internet with no verification of the underlying truth of the matter. Traditional news sources pick the information up in a rush to be the first to report it, perpetuating the problem, and once information is archived on the Internet it lives forever. Make sure to source your business intelligence research over a length of time to see whether or not the information was ultimately proven accurate.