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Thursday, 12th May 2011 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Ville Vanhala

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At the same time that companies, industry associations and governments started constructing their first websites, I started my professional career working with business information in the research team of a global strategy consulting firm. It was a revolutionary period in which facts about companies, industries and even nations were becoming available easily and instantly online. During the 15 years that have followed, a lot of the change in online information has taken the form of incremental developments. Better websites, better interfaces in business information providers’ services and constantly improving availability of data. But in the past couple of years, as part of our work at Global Intelligence Alliance to support global companies with market information, I have felt that there are again more fundamental shifts happening in the way that information is consumed in business contexts. For example, there are some interesting shifts in which information is important for business users.

This month’s VIP product reviews connect well with some of these changes. Firstly, it seems that interest in macroeconomic intelligence has hugely increased, especially during the economic uncertainty of the past few years but, quite naturally, also due to the longer term trend of globalisation. Secondly, we have all had the opportunity to witness the emergence of a totally a new type of information content: information in social media. We have seen a quickly growing interest, even necessity, to monitor discussions in blogs, microblogs, discussion forums, video sharing sites and other new media.

Considering the first trend – generally increased appetite for macroeconomic data – it is interesting to read this issue’s first product review in which Penny Crossland reviews IHS DataInsight 4.1, a workflow tool for using economic data and forecasts. Clearly, it is one of the advanced solutions in this area and the tool offers a range of possibilities for organisations to integrate economic data into the intelligence on their operating environment. For readers familiar with IHS, the review will serve well to compare observations on some of the strengths of this product. For those readers whose work profile does not include economic analysis (at least not yet ...), it will offer an interesting glimpse of the possibilities of macroeconomic market intelligence. It may perhaps trigger some inspiration to consider integrating more macroeconomic monitoring into the range of analysis one’s team or organisation works with and what can be done with state of the art tools in that area.

Thinking of the other trend mentioned earlier – the emergence of social media as a totally new type of information for organisations to tap into – Scott Brown’s product review of Radian6, a tool for social media monitoring and engagement, is a very interesting read. The story of Radian6 is part of the emergence of a whole new industry around monitoring social media. In just a few years, more than 200 social media monitoring solutions have appeared on the market for information users to choose from. Radian6 has been one of the success stories in the field. In just a few years it has become a recognised brand in social media monitoring and has played its part in making organisations aware of possibilities for social media monitoring − an exciting trend for those of us in the information industry to monitor as we keep an eye out for what’s next.

Ville Vanhala

Ville Vanhala has 15 years of experience in international market intelligence. As co-founder of Global Intelligence Alliance (GIA), he played a key role in developing the company’s research and market monitoring capability and service concepts on a global scale.

This editorial appears in VIP Magazine No. 90, May 2011. Purchase online >>

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