The currency of market research and competitive intelligence is extremely valuable in its own right
Back in the day, the first functional area within corporations to be computerized was finance. There were two main reasons for this: in finance, there are lots of numbers to crunch, which is what computers have always been best at; and money matters a lot in business, so managing it well warrants a substantial investment in technology infrastructure.
From its beginnings in finance, computerization across the enterprise marched on, but it took several decades before information technology (IT) was applied to managing an organization’s market research and competitive intelligence information assets. Admittedly, managing unstructured data was a harder problem to solve with computers than accounts payable and receivable, so it took time for the technology to advance. But there also was a more casual attitude about using IT to manage documents – even valuable, licensed subscription-based research reports.
Here’s how one Northern Light prospect visualized the problem:
Imagine a company that treats its money like most organizations treat their information. When walking around the office, one would find bills and coins all over the floors, in drawers, on desktops, overflowing out of computers, in the cafeteria, on the sidewalks, and scattered in every direction. And the bills and coins would be in different currencies with the exchange rate unknown. No one would know how much money we had, and it would take forever to find a certain coin that was needed in 15 minutes for a meeting with the CEO!
To this day, many organizations treat their information assets with, shall we say, less than the respect they deserve. What those assets deserve, and in fact require, is a management system as rigorous and capable as any used to track and manage the company’s finances – in other words, a modern knowledge management (KM) system. We’re talking about intelligent systems capable of storing, indexing, and recalling morsels of textual information – and, perhaps most impressively, placing them into context, transforming them into actionable business insights.
This last step increasingly is the province of artificial intelligence (AI)-based machine learning. For example, in Northern Light’s SinglePoint strategic research portals, AI is used to create automated document summaries, which deeply analyze documents, identify the key ideas, and write summaries of the documents that reveal the insights contained in the document for the user. Extending that concept, the platform also can examine a group of documents on a search result, distill the most important ideas, and then automatically summarize the key points in an easy to read report that encompasses the entire search result. Each key point includes links to the underlying documents so users can drill in to read the original if they want to learn more.
Given the sophisticated capabilities available in today’s KM systems, enterprises can now apply IT resources to managing and extracting benefit from their information assets as they do their financial assets. The currencies may be quite different, but the value of each is significant.
To learn more about how SinglePoint can help your organization manage its market research information with the same rigor as it manages its money, contact Northern Light.