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					Business Information Sources
          CO32030

   Introduction to the module
The value of business information
             sources

              Hazel Hall


School of Computing, Napier University


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         The value of business information sources




Lecture outline

BIS module
   –   learning outcomes
   –   lectures and tutorials
   –   assessment
   –   resources


The value of business information sources
   – including material on business intelligence and source types

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          The value of business information sources




Module learning outcomes - 4 in total

Outcome 1
Identify and evaluate sources appropriate to business processes
   and tasks
Achieved primarily through
•   Lectures and exercises on identifying and evaluating business
    information sources (classroom and lab)
•   Presentations by guest speakers from industry
•   Course work assessment

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         The value of business information sources




Module learning outcomes - 4 in total

Outcome 2
Formulate and apply appropriate search strategies for the retrieval
   of business information


Achieved primarily through
•   Lab exercises



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          The value of business information sources




Module learning outcomes - 4 in total

Outcome 3
Identify the key requirements for operation and use of business
   information services
Achieved primarily through
•   Lectures on mapping sources and the business information industry
•   Presentations by guest speakers from industry
•   Course work assessment


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          The value of business information sources




Module learning outcomes - 4 in total

Outcome 4
Critically discuss the trends in the business information industries
Achieved primarily through
•   Lectures
•   Presentations by guest speakers from industry
•   Exercise on the annual Business Information Resources Survey
•   Course work assessment
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         The value of business information sources




Lectures

Hazel’s lectures

•   Introduction to the module; the value of business information sources
•   Mapping business information sources and the business information
    industry
•   Business information sources for competitive intelligence
•   Business information impacts within organisations: absorptive
    capacity and organisational memory

•   Feedback on course work reports
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          The value of business information sources




Lectures

Contributions from external experts

    –   Kenny Walker, Intelli Corporate Finance
    –   June McCole, Bank of Scotland
    –   David Watkins, Communities Scotland
    –   Jonathan Gordon-Till, Aon Consulting




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          The value of business information sources




Tutorials

Tutorials - no special preparation by students required

•   Interpersonal networks as business information sources
•   Evaluation of business information trade press
•   Lab exercises
•   Role of the business information professional
•   Business information ethics


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          The value of business information sources




Tutorials

Tutorials - preparation by students required

•   Company information sources exercise
•   Formal print sources exercise
•   Business Information Review survey exercise




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The value of business information sources



                     You will...

                     You will...
                     You will!
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The value of business information sources


                     “Flywheel” learning

                     •   You need effort to gain
                         momentum
                     •   You need continued effort for
                         momentum to be sustained
                     •   Short-term pay-off - class
                         participation mark
                     •   Long-term pay-off - easy
                         revision for exam, higher
                         chance of doing well
                     •   You are the ones driving the
                         wheel

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        The value of business information sources




Course work assessment: class participation

Worth 10%

• Prepare for workshops and seminars
• Contribute to class discussions
• Engage with lectures

Remember that everyone drives the wheel

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          The value of business information sources




Course work assessment

Case study exercise (15%)
•   1000 words; due Thursday 3 April


Business information needs analysis report (25%)
•   2000 words; due Monday 12 May




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          The value of business information sources




Supervised assessment: two hour examination

Worth 50%

•   Part 1 - 30 compulsory multiple choice questions
•   Part 2 - 2 essays from a choice of 5


Week 14 or 15



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        The value of business information sources




Module resources

Module web pages held at:

http://www.soc.napier.ac.uk/module/op/onemodule/moduleid/CO32030


Please subscribe to the module News service.




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    The value of business information sources




The value of business information sources




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        The value of business information sources




Business information value 1

To permit better decision making (and the avoidance of poor
   decisions)

Example: media research information sources - check impact of
  spending on advertising campaigns




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The value of business information sources


                     Dear Mr Read

                     Business jets - a new departure in business travel

                     There are times when the flexibility of a private jet can
                          save you a great deal of time and your company a
                          great deal of money.

                     Business Jets puts an aircraft at your disposal, giving you
                          access to thousands of local airfields which are not
                          on the map for scheduled airlines. You and your
                          colleagues can fly where you want, in complete
                          privacy, without any ticketing or check-in formalities.

                     By combining the Business Jets charter service with your
                          British Airways scheduled flights, you can complete
                          even the most complicated itinerary quickly and
                          cost-effectively

                     etc...




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        The value of business information sources




Business information value 2

To move projects from one stage to the next, and do so more
   quickly

Example: technical documentation mounted on externally
  accessible web pages used remotely by field service
  engineers




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        The value of business information sources




Business information value 3

To facilitate improved relationships with clients, enhanced
   capabilities of front-line sales staff

Example: Daily sales information can highlight discrepancies in
  established customer behaviour (perhaps trying a different
  supplier?) before permanent damage is done




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        The value of business information sources




Business information value 4

To allow the exploitation of new business opportunities

Example 1: High information users are more likely to be involved
  in innovative projects with collaborating firms (Hall, 1994)

Example 2: 1996 PWC study showed that companies that value
  information as a competitive tool grew 200% faster; showed
  80% higher revenues and 33% higher productivity than other
  companies surveyed

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        The value of business information sources




Business information value 5

To save a business time and money

Example: 29,000 patents were screened at Dow Chemical. Each
  was exploited, licensed or abandoned  $125m licensing
  income; $40m savings in 10 years (Cohen, 1998, p.26)




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The value of business information sources


               Dear Mr Read

               Just for a moment, picture the entrance to your drive fitted with automatic gates!

               They will certainly look impressive.

               More than that… they’ll say “You’ve arrived”.

               Then, at a touch of a button, the gates will open automatically to welcome you
               home.

               Security… convenience... prestige… Just 3 excellent reasons for considering
               automated gates. You might even find your insurance company will reduce you
               premiums. (If they don’t, we know one which will).

               As you look through the enclosed leaflet, we are sure that you will discover even
               more reasons why automated gates are really useful and a great investment.

               FAAC is the world leader in gate automation and we would like to send you a
               brochure containing all the facts. We believe that you will find it very interesting.
               It answers the most frequently asked questions and it should help you to decide
               exactly what will best suit your requirements BEFORE you spend any money.
               And a copy is yours… absolutely FREE.


               etc...                                                                 24
The value of business information sources




                             Mr Read’s new gates




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             The value of business information sources


                                  But Mr Read’s postcode is EH7!

Mr Read’s                         •   Which “entrance”?
front door                        •   Which “drive”?

                                  •   Look “impressive”? They’ll look
                                      ridiculous!
                                  •   “Convenience”? I don’t think so.
                                  •   “Prestige”? The neighbours will
                                      die laughing.
                                  •   A “great investment”? For
                                      whom?

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        The value of business information sources




Business information value 6

To increase worker independence

Example: At Lands’ End telephone operators are data entry
  operators, product identity sourcers, credit approvers and
  telemarketers (Service & Maddux, 1999, p. 54)




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        The value of business information sources




Business information value for individuals


• self management
• taking initiatives, e.g. suggesting training in response to
  awareness of new legislation
• improvement of communication and decision making
• raising performance levels (especially as new employees)
• learning at work
• innovation
• showing commitment and energy at work
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      The value of business information sources




The value of business information sources
     lies in contributions to business
                intelligence




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          The value of business information sources


Business intelligence - fuzzy
  concept 1



“Higher” form of information, an
   “item” of information that is
   unique or “something” that
   derives from the processing
   of information (the
   implications of which are
   understood by the user)

e.g. yield management
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          The value of business information sources


Business intelligence - fuzzy
  concept 2


Intelligence as being
   clever/smart

• surprise consumers
• surprise competitors

(Sometimes being first is enough –
   think MS DOS)


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     The value of business information sources


The intelligence quadrant:
     …we don’t know   … the number of
                      outlets our




     ..we know
                      competitors have in
                      the UK.


                      … the names of our
                                                  ?
                                            …there is a new
                      three major           member of staff
                      competitors.          recently recruited
                                            from the marketing
                                            department of
                                            company x.
                      We know that …        We don’t know
                                            that…



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         The value of business information sources




Business information sources and business intelligence - an
  example

Geo-demographic data-sets exist for particular populations.

A large retail and leisure chain might use these for catchment analysis
     investment planning, e.g. new family restaurant




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     The value of business information sources

                                                                 Research this box
                                                                 - but data-mining
The intelligence quadrant:                                       is resource
                                                                 hungry, you can
     …we don’t know   … the number of                            only mine your
                      outlets our


                                                  ?
                                                                 own records and
                      competitors have in
                      the UK.                                    this could be an
                                                                 information black
                                                                 hole
     ..we know        … the names of our    …there is a new
                      three major           member of staff
                      competitors.          recently recruited
                                            from the marketing
                                            department of
                                            company x.
                      We know that …        We don’t know
                                            that…



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                   The value of business information sources


              The intelligence quadrant:
                   …we don’t know   … the number of
                                    outlets our

Enhance
information
services
provision          ..we know
                                    competitors have in
                                    the UK.


                                    … the names of our
                                                                ?
                                                          …there is a new
                                    three major           member of staff
                                    competitors.          recently recruited
                                                          from the marketing
                                                          department of
                                                          company x.
                                    We know that …        We don’t know
                                                          that…



                                                                               35
     The value of business information sources


The intelligence quadrant:
     …we don’t know   … the number of
                      outlets our




     ..we know
                      competitors have in
                      the UK.


                      … the names of our
                                                  ?
                                            …there is a new
                      three major           member of staff
                      competitors.          recently recruited   Make the
                                            from the marketing
                                            department of        organisation
                                            company x.           “intelligent”
                      We know that …        We don’t know
                                            that…



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        The value of business information sources




Module content

Sources of business intelligence: formal and informal - mainly
  externally sourced

Access to sources of business intelligence - mapping those that
  are externally sourced and the industry that produces them

Organisations and business intelligence - organisational memory,
  absorption capacity and knowing organisations

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        The value of business information sources




Business information sources and business information
  services per se

Detail on formal business information sources and services found
  in:

• Navigating business information sources (Burke & Hall, 1998)
• Business information at work (Lowe, 1999)

Actual usage of business information sources in UK business
   libraries - annual review BIR each March.

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        The value of business information sources




Navigating business information sources (Burke & Hall,
  1998) considers:

1. Business information sources by function: company
   information sources; marketing information sources;
   international trade information sources; advertising and
   distribution information sources
2. Business information sources by format: statistical information
   sources; patents; trade marks; standards and regulations
3. The major business information services providers:
   commercial companies such as Thomson and state-funded
   initiatives
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        The value of business information sources




Business information at work (Lowe, 1999) considers:

1. Business information sources by function: company
   information; marketing information; financial information;
   product information; country information
2. Business information sources by format: news sources and
   industry sources
3. Accessing business information including discussion of the
   main business information services providers



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        The value of business information sources




So...

• Some “good” business information is held in business
  information sources

• The use of business information sources contributes to
  business intelligence




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The value of business information sources




    Formal and informal
business information sources




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       The value of business information sources




         Business information sources

Informal sources             Formal sources
Examples                     Features

Colleagues - internal        Subject content

Colleagues external          Information type

Customers                    Means of delivery


“Unknown”                                          43
       The value of business information sources




         Business information sources

Informal sources             Formal sources
Examples                     Features

Colleagues - internal        Subject content     Market research
                                                 statistics in a press
Colleagues external          Information type    release


Customers                    Means of delivery


“Unknown”                                                      44
       The value of business information sources




         Business information sources

Informal sources             Formal sources
Examples                     Features

Colleagues - internal        Subject content     Company annual
                                                 report accessed from
Colleagues external          Information type    a commercial online
                                                 service

Customers                    Means of delivery


“Unknown”                                                    45
        The value of business information sources




Degrees of formality example 1: complaints

• a complaint about the services of a business information
  supplier broadcast on LIS-UKOLUG
• a complaint about the services of a business information
  supplier outlined in a refereed article in the Journal of
  Information Science




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        The value of business information sources




Degrees of formality example 2: statistics

• statistics on the working hours of agricultural workers
  published in the official publication Social trends
• statistics on the working hours of agricultural workers
  published in an undergraduate dissertation




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         The value of business information sources




Degrees of formality example 3: the rate of inflation

• the official rate of inflation
• your “personal” rate of inflation




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        The value of business information sources




Degrees of formality and validity

• Degrees of formality impact the perception of the validity of
  information deriving from an information source

• High formality does not necessarily imply high validity

• a formal source is “one that is published in the public domain”
  (Burke and Hall, 1998, p. 106)


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        The value of business information sources




Formal information sources groupings 1
Functions related to certain subject areas

 •    Company information - accounts, directory information and
      news (the most important category of business information
      in terms of information needs and use)
 •    Market research information
 •    International trade
 •    Advertising
 •    Distribution

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       The value of business information sources




Formal information sources groupings 2
By information type

 •   statistics
 •   patents
 •   trade marks
 •   standards
 •   regulations



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       The value of business information sources




Formal information sources groupings 3
By formats of delivery

 •   commissioned research reports
 •   directories
 •   discussion group output
 •   journals and journal articles
 •   monographs
 •   news: daily papers/web pages; press releases; news
     wires; newsletters
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        The value of business information sources




Formal information sources media

 •    print
 •    online - commercial (live, CD ROM)
 •    online - “free” (e.g. web pages)

 The majority of business information units spend at least half
     their budget on formal information sources on electronic
     sources (Smith, 2001, p.21).


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       The value of business information sources




Formal information sources: “big” name examples

 •   online hosts “supermarket”, e.g. Thomson companies; FT:
     Reuters
 •   news on the web: BBC, FT, Times, Daily Telegraph,
     Guardian business pages
 •   company financials: Hemmington Scott, CAROL
 •   basic company information: Yellow Pages




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       The value of business information sources




Organisations as information services providers

 •    Companies House
 •    information brokers
 •    company contacts
 •    government agencies e.g. Small Business Gateway
      (Scotland) (Formerly Business Shops); Small Business
      Service and Business Link network (England)




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        The value of business information sources




“Informal” business information sources (not in the public
domain)

Information can be gleaned from the personal knowledge of:

 •    other employees
 •    professional colleagues outside the company, e.g. coffee
      machine club
 •    customers, e.g. often talk about competitor firm activity
 •    “unknown” contacts, e.g. staff at trade associations,
      editors of trade journals, company information managers

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        The value of business information sources




Information in the form of:

1. data from personal files, internal company web pages
2. instincts, experience
3. further pointers

“Research shows time and time again that too many business
people look no further than internal information sources as a
basis for commercial decisions” (Lowe, 1999, p.7).


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        The value of business information sources




Reasons for using informal business information sources 1

 •    ignorance of formal sources, e.g. the case of the unique
      yacht keel in the 1983 America’s cup
 •    lack of competence in using formal sources
 •    validity - horse’s mouth, e.g. in the textiles study firms did
      not believe that data supplied to directory compilers would
      be accurate due to political activity (Hall, 1994)




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       The value of business information sources




Reasons for using informal business information sources 2

 •    convenience, especially when industry is fast moving,
      fragmented, or when there are high volumes of information
 •    perfect information is rarely necessary to make a business
      decision
 •    published information may simply confirm what was
      suspected, only marginally reduce uncertainty, so is not
      worth the investment spent seeking it



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       The value of business information sources




Access to informal business information sources

 •    depends on networks of personal contacts
 •    individuals need to develop contacts
 •    individuals need to develop competencies for reciprocal
      information sharing
 •    hold professional memberships, attend events, engage in
      networking (physical and electronic)




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               The value of business information sources
                       Fund Manager in a           Systems engineer in a  Business information
                       large pensions              multinational computer specialist in a small
                       company                     sales organisation     research team


Professional           UK Society of               British Computer            City Information Group;
memberships            Investment                  Society                     Institute of Information
                       Professionals; Securities                               Scientists; UK Online
                       Institute; Society of                                   User Group
                       Technical Analysts
Seminars; training     Some run by                 Internal meetings and       Some run by
courses; conferences   professional groups and     conferences; external       professional groups and
                       university departments      training on competitor      university departments;
                                                   products                    others run on a
                                                                               commercial basis e.g.
                                                                               Annual International
                                                                               Online Meeting,
                                                                               London, December
“Electronic”           Chat areas on               Internal discussion lists   Freepint; LIS-UKOLUG
networking             professional body web       and electronic
                       sites                       conferences


                                                                                                  61
           The value of business information sources




References
Burke, M.E. & Hall, H. (1998). Navigating business information sources: a
    practical guide for information managers. London: Library Association.
Cohen, D. (1998). Towards a knowledge context: report on the first annual U.C.
    Berkeley forum on knowledge and the firm. California Management Review
    40(3), 22-39.
Hall, H. (1994). Information strategy and the textile industry. International Journal
    of Information Management 14(4), 281-293.
Lowe, M. (1999). Business information at work. London: Aslib.
Service, R.W & Maddux, H.S. (1999). Building competitive advantage through
    information systems: the organizational information quotient. Journal of
    Information Science 25(1), 51-65.
Smith, G. (2001). The new information economy takes shape: the business
  information resources survey 2001. Business Information Review 18(1),
  5-23.
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