The speed of business is forever accelerating, driven in large part by the speed of information and disruptive technologies. Companies with the most up-to-date, accurate information have the edge over the competition. Whether it’s insight into a transformative technology that promises to boost productivity or a more accurate and timely prediction of the price of a commodity, information is a powerful kingmaker.
Until recently, businesses have relied almost exclusively on professional market intelligence firms-think business consultancies and technology market research firms-to supply timely business insight into the direction markets were heading and the relevance of new technologies. These firms conduct surveys and research and write reports that they sell to clients. The problem is the research is often dated by the time the report goes to press. And because the reports are made available at the same time to all willing and able to pay for them, they afford only limited competitive advantage. Also, conducting the research is labor-intensive and costly to produce, so the reports are expensive.
Companies are now looking for ways to get closer to the source of the information-the consumers themselves-which requires a new, innovative approach.
The rise of crowdsourcing
The last few years have seen a trend away from reliance on monolithic research reports to more dynamic crowdsourcing options. This is transforming the market intelligence world thanks in large part to the ubiquity of the Internet, the power of social media and new cloud-based services and applications that enable collaboration. Indeed, crowdsourcing is impacting how some leading business consultancies and market research companies are going to market. For example, both Deloitte and PwC have initiated crowdsourcing efforts as part of their consulting offering.
The crowdsourcing trend is impacting market intelligence niche players as well. While some are being disintermediated by savvy app-based startups, others have seen the writing on the wall and have taken the risk of disrupting themselves. One example of the latter approach is Beroe, the industry leader in procurement market research and intelligence.
Beroe’s focus was on providing bespoke intelligence to procurement functions of large organizations globally. In fact, it invented the procurement intelligence market and enjoyed a market share of over 40%. But last year, Beroe made a gutsy move to democratize its procurement intelligence service by giving it away for free to any procurement professional in the world.
The company worked with Aricent to create a platform dubbed Beroe Live that includes 10-years-worth of market intelligence, arranged by niche category and buffered with thought leadership content. Aricent built the new AWS cloud-enabled platform to deliver self-service content, manage on-demand research requests, and provide in-depth analytics and customer management solutions.
“Aricent’s technology expertise in cloud, analytics and user experience management coupled with its rapid application development methodology and experience delivering complex business-intelligence solutions was exactly what we needed to launch Beroe LiVE”
Chief Technology Officer, Beroe
Beroe Live solves users’ problems by crowdsourcing information on topics ranging from benchmarks to prices, costs and supplier ratings. Procurement professionals gain access to the content by becoming members of the community. With this new business model, Beroe Live has emerged as the largest procurement community in the world serving over 7,000 companies. To date, its 25,000 individual members have produced two million supplier ratings and over 10,000 discussions and polls.
The next wave
Crowdsourcing using dedicated communities is transforming traditional market intelligence by enabling new business models and adopting new technologies. The business value is their ability to reduce the time and cost of producing highly customized and targeted market intelligence. Collaborative communities are enabled by platforms that harness the latest technologies to reduce the cost and accelerate the time to business insight.
But the shift to crowdsourcing is just beginning. With the dramatic increase in the application of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain, and the corporate acceptance of collaborative networking, there is untapped demand for new, more sophisticated models that can deliver more precise and targeted customizable intelligence. The key is having a trusted and experienced partner that can deliver on building and maintain these new platforms.
The challenge for both developers and users of these collaborative networks is to focus on the potential business value they can deliver, while at the same time ensuring the platforms and networks are secure and trustworthy. With over 25 years of engineering and design expertise, Aricent is able to deliver complete end-to-end solutions that are highly customizable and secure.
Find out more about the how we delivered on Beroe’s best-in-class solution by downloading the full case study below.