Market Intelligence (without Search): TechNavio Debuts - InformationWeek

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8/22/2007
08:25 AM
Seth Grimes
Seth Grimes
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Market Intelligence (without Search): TechNavio Debuts

Search has many limits but the price is right and the alternative, reliance on traditional interfaces and human-structured information, is increasingly perceived as unacceptable. Yet there's still much to be said for old-school information-retrieval methods. Witness a new, search-free IT-market research tool, TechNavio, just launched by Infiniti Research.

Search has many limits but the price is right and the alternative, reliance on traditional interfaces and human-structured information, is increasingly perceived as unacceptable. Yet there's still much to be said for old-school information-retrieval methods. Witness a new, search-free IT-market research tool, TechNavio, just launched by Infiniti Research.TechNavio supports IT-vendor sales and marketing planning. It features market, customer, and competitive intelligence modules, populated with international data across technology domains and major industry groups, accessed via a Web interface. I haven't tried the tool hands-on - directors Rahul Agarwal and Shitikantha Chand demonstrated it for me last week - although I have used comparable information services.

The value of a tool like TechNavio depends on the extent, quality, timeliness, and contextualization of the information delivered, which can't be judged from a twenty-minute demo. What immediately came through in my TechNavio briefing, however, was that Infiniti Research has crafted a research tool that focuses on essentials and avoids distractions. Search is one such distraction.

According to Directors Agarwal and Chand, they "constantly hear from users that search is not very efficient" in market-intelligence work. Search is easy, but "extracting the right information at the right time is difficult," and "nobody has the patience to run through more than a few results." We all knew that, right? Search often delivers results of dubious relevance and quality and you frequently have to sift through several documents to get at the information you're really looking for. But we nonetheless head straight for the search box and accept whatever is deliverd as definitive.

TechNavio offers only structured navigation to data. That approach, created by people who understand their data and users, is conceptually no different from what you get with a newspaper or any other designed, edited presentation of information. But TechNavio is new, targeted to IT vendors, exactly the type of market you'd expect to shun conventional methods.

Infiniti Research is looking to add analytics and forecasting capabilities to later TechNavio versions. They will integrate TechNavio with marketing and sales automation applications and add trend analysis if their customers ask for those features. And they are planning to add a search box, albeit within only one of the four product modules, vendor intelligence. Their judgment is that information quality and organization are the highest priorities, followed by value-added features, classing search as seductive but ultimately inefficient. We should all cast a similar, critical eye on the thought that search is the best answer to every information-access need.


Seth Grimes is an analytics strategist with Washington DC based Alta Plana Corporation.Search has many limits but the price is right and the alternative, reliance on traditional interfaces and human-structured information, is increasingly perceived as unacceptable. Yet there's still much to be said for old-school information-retrieval methods. Witness a new, search-free IT-market research tool, TechNavio, just launched by Infiniti Research.

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