5 Questions You Should Ask to Solve Data Collection Problems

Data collection questions resized 600The Internet offers tons of information to support research and strategy, but most companies struggle to really benefit from it. As a rule of thumb, no one is cured without first being diagnosed. And when it comes to data management, it’s important to pinpoint what data collection problems deserve a technology remedy.

In 2013, companies will do this at great costs. Gartner reports that corporate technology spending will increase 4.2 percent to $3.7 trillion. Since the opportunities are promising, top leaders expect more from these solutions. Data collection technology must save more time, gain more productivity, and generate more revenue to justify their increasing costs. It’s also important for these solutions to help reach goals and improve decision making by providing greater visibility into the global business environment. If they don’t, they risk becoming a financial and organizational setback.

When diagnosing data collection problems, you must first evaluate how technology, or a lack thereof, creates an impediment for your role as a knowledge worker. Afterwards, you’ll see how leaders are also impacted. Answering the five questions below will help you determine which technology option will solve your data collection problems:

1. How do you currently use Internet research to support decision making?
2. Where do you spend most of your time hunting for information on the web?
3. What kind of online information will benefit senior management, clients, or your team?
4. What kind of online information will not benefit senior management, clients, or your team?
5. Are you missing important areas of monitoring to support your assumptions?

Every organization has room for improvement. Once you’ve answered the questions above, you’ll know what you could be doing better by using the appropriate technology solution. As an example, we’ve compared two types of data collection technology below while answering the questions listed:

Media Monitoring Services

Organizations use media monitoring software to collect copies of media content to measure the effectiveness of public relations or marketing campaigns. Companies that consider these solutions have a difficult time effectively tracking competitor press exposure, industry evolvements, legislation, and online brand reputation. Using this kind of technology helps support campaign assumptions as well as determine how to monitor PR and communication initiatives in any market.

Here are typical data sources collected by media monitoring services:

  • TV and radio news reports or commentaries
  • Newspaper columns 
  • Magazine articles
  • Trade publications
  • Blogs

Market Intelligence Software

Organizations use market intelligence software to understand the overall market. These technologies consider everything from product pricing, promotional campaigns, market economic factors, among others. For many companies, this kind of software automates research to follow emerging consumer trends, industries, and political advancements in any market around the world.

Here are typical data sources collected by market intelligence software:

  • Press releases, blog articles, white papers, or other self-published marketing content
  • Prices found on product web pages
  • News and market reports from industry sites
  • Industry pages releasing surveys and valuable statistics
  • Tweets from competitors, vendors, media, or consumer Twitter accounts

There are many ways to implement data management and competitive intelligence software to a company's department functions. To learn how to gain a competitive advantage using business intelligence and competitor monitoring software in your department, download one of our helpful competitive guides.

What do you think? What else should companies consider when choosing data collection technology?