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Friday, January 18, 2013

Research for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

I cut my teeth in technology and business research in the enormous enterprise.  That is a place where you have lots of flexibility that lets you bring in new methods, and test and deliver them easily.   A large company can quickly staff up to solve the problem.  Even create a group tailored to a single topic when it becomes crucial.   How is the small or even medium sized business to deal with product or context research?  A process that can include outside researchers.   Knowing how a competitor is addressing a problem, or how intellectual property rights might influence next steps, could mean the very survival of a small company.  

So what are your options?  Many small businesses like start ups just trade emails.  Or use a package that facilitates other kinds of communications that is not well suited to research purposes.     You have to train your outside the company users.  And those users do not appreciate having to learn yet one more package.   I am examining exactly this problem for several businesses at this time.

One approach which we were led to is that of Zakta.  An approach where you use a template for a process that everyone uses these days.  Search.   Yes, everyone does it, knows how to do it,  talks about it and applies search.  They just don't know how to use it efficiently with multiple people while also saving the results as corporate knowledge.

I am now just talking a deeper dive into this technology.  More about that here.  I will continue to write about the experience, and particularly about how it can relate to the use of the small and medium size company.  I would also appreciate information on any other relevant experiences.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines  of a smarter planet. More here.  

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