- Why Monitoring Key Environmental
Variables Consistently in a Focussed Way
is Vital for Long Term Success-
Everybody would like to be well informed. About competitors, users, clients, technology, suppliers,
But keeping track of all information sources, distilling the information to address the key business
issues and being able to retrieve the right information when required is a big challenge.
The traditional approach of either do-it-yourself, ad-hoc when needed or asking junior staff or
assistants to add this to their normal duties does not guarantee comprehensive coverage, focus on key
issues and most importantly ease of retrieval in the future when you urgently need to support some
proposal or inform some decision.
The answer is to create a dedicated team of researchers to do this who know how to search for the
information, distil it to address real issues and create a database for long term access and retrieval. A
tall order and you are unlikely to obtain a budget purely for this.
BQu has created a technology assisted process that addresses all these issues by ensuring
comprehensive web information coverage through specific tools, distilling and formatting the
information to the specific needs of the user(s) and creating a dedicated database to enable long term
retrieval of the information when required. All at a very low cost.
Problem – Too Much Information too Little Time –
The internet and internet tools have provided access to masses of
competitive, market, legal and other information. Although available,
this information is not easy to track as, for instance, the average
corporate web site will have 200+ updates a month, only a few of
which are important or relevant.
Subscribing to newsletters only makes the problem worse as it creates
more information you have to absorb and codify.
Each department and user has different issues and requires different
information to be distilled from the mass of information, in addition
the most valuable information is information tracked over time to
identify trends. This is even more difficult as in the internet historical
information simply disappears.
The range of areas that might, or might not be of interest is large as Fig 1 and will vary by decision maker and
Objective – Distilling the Mass of Information into the Right Information, Addressing
the Right Issues, in the Right Format–
Therefore there is a need to distil the available information to create specific report(s) to inform the decision
makers on key issues quickly and easily and create a common knowledge base highlighting the main findings.
In addition all relevant information needs to be stored in an easily searchable and accessible database to be
able to inform any future decisions easily and quickly.
Hurdles – Lack of Time, Skills and Experience Make this Vital Task Often Neglected
until Urgently Required –
Reliable, up-to-date and accurate market information is important, but not vital to gather and keep. Therefore
most people do emergency research when faced with specific requirements to support decisions. This is often
unsatisfactory and leaving key decision based on incomplete and often inaccurate information.
Lack of time and specific business research skills means that often a quick and superficial review is all that can
be done and most people rely on their gut feel based on ad-hoc research and meetings.
Alternatively junior executives or personal assistants are asked to keep an eye on certain information or web
sites and do the best they can without training, support or the appropriate technological support. This often
creates a very imperfect and incomplete product, leaving unknown gaps.
Solution – Create a Cost Effective, Dedicated Unit and Process Separate from Day to
Day Management –
The solution would be to create a dedicated team and provide it with the training, technological tools, access
to paid for data and a clear brief and feedback.
Even the largest companies and departments find the investment required, between £50,000 and £150,000 a
year, too large for something that cannot be shown to have an immediate direct return. In addition recruiting
and motivating business researchers within a pure IT environment is difficult as this will be quite isolated
positions with limited interaction with likeminded people.
How To Do It – Simple, Low Cost, but Dedicated Outsource of the Time Consuming
Part under Close Direction of Key Decision Makers –
The key is to maintain control and involvement within the Department but to outsource the execution to a
partner with dedicated skills and investment in not only Business Research but also the technology to gather,
distil and maintain the information.
BQu has created a
combination of IT using the
most up-to-date web based
tools and Business Research
and Communication skills
similar to that of the leading
consultancies to be able to
offer this service highly
Our approach to the service
is indicated in Fig 2.
The key to its success is
• Tailoring to your
unique and evolving
• High value in terms of
affordable cost but
• Use of technology to
ensure quality, reduce
We ensure this by combining a highly trained and educated off shore capability and having the direction and
management in the UK and sophisticated communication tools to enable seamless remote management and
interaction with the off shore team.
The key to its success is in the set up and the regular review of the value provided. During the set up we need to
• Key Issues that need to be addressed: This is vital for us to provide a tailored and digestible
document that adds maximum value to the various end users. The Issues can differ for different End
Users. This close tailoring makes the resulting information both insightful and compelling
• Sources of Information: Unless you have an unlimited budget we will have to limit our research to
specific sources. These would typically include: Company web site, industry web sites, specific
government sites, possibly paid for sites (e.g. Gartner), etc.
• Key Data: There might be key data that is important for you and that you would like to collate into
datasheets and we would discuss these with you and structure the datasheets accordingly
• Formal: We all have preferences as to formal. We have devised a format that we have found
successful, but all organisations have their preferences and you might want us to produce our research
in your own corporate format
The typical parts of a Market Watch Programme are:
• Monthly Report: This would distil the main findings with instant links to the underlying information
• Database: This is a bespoke database where all the underlying information and reports are stored
indexed and structured in the optimum way for your own organisation
• Datasheets: Repository of quantitative or qualitative information which is updated on a regular basis
with historical trends kept for analysis
• Ad-hoc or regular bespoke analysis: This is usually linked to the Datasheets and consists of analysis
of trends or specific evolution in qualitative elements to inform key decision makers
Our approach enables us to provide a quality product from as little as a few hundred pounds a month. This is a
significantly lower cost than any internal option.
BQu is a company dedicated to provide business decision makers with the support they need to make better fact based
decisions and to improve their communication and engagement with all stake holders and end users.
BQu was created to close the gap that exists between business leaders and consultancies in terms of the support they
have to enable them to research topics, gather or create information, analyse data and present results.
We do this by focussing our resources in assisting management rather than advising management while still using the
problem solving approach of the leading consultancies and the communication framework devised by Barbara Minto also
used by the major consultancies.
Our motto is: - the right information - at the right time - in the right format - at the right price -
For more information refer to the links below.
About the Author
Jacques de Cock. Jacques de Cock is Chief Executive of London-based business intelligence and research
consultants, BQu. He has over 25 years’ experience in consulting and Business management. A physics graduate
from Oxford University, he gained an MBA from the London Business School and worked for McKinsey where he set
up the first research centre for the information technology markets in Europe. He then became a principal of
Booz|Allen|Hamilton before leading the creation and floatation of patsystems and the creation and development of
other entrepreneurial businesses. Contact him at email@example.com
www.bquintelligence.com ● firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +44 20 7431 4597 ● Fax: +44 20 7691 1189