A big aspect of managing the costs of a business information services (BIS) center is ensuring that researchers are using the right data source to answer each query. What do we mean by the right data source? The choice should be based not just on whether the required information can be obtained, but also on the cost-effectiveness and terms and conditions of use. Could the researcher get the same information from another data source at a better cost with no risk of non-compliance?
Moreover, in the longer-term, a BIS Manager should also be able to see how effective a data source is based on its usage pattern.
Making the assessment of whether the right data source is being used is difficult and has always required considerable research experience. However, new technological developments are making it possible for even a newbie researcher to have this information readily available.
How do you choose the most cost-effective data source?
You can get the same information from multiple sources, so how do you decide which one to use? Or, more importantly, how do you ensure that researchers always use the most cost-effective means of getting the necessary market data?
Most people will use personal preference or familiarity with a database as deciding factors when choosing which data source to use, with only the most experienced researchers knowing which data source is actually the best one for a given query. However, modern technology can now help even novice researchers to make the right choices.
For example, Evalueserve developed a proprietary workflow tool with a built-in Database Cost Optimization Module that can be programmed to suggest data sources based on the type of request, cost effectiveness of the database, and internal restrictions on usage of certain sources. The module can also generate analytics by tracking usage of data sources and present the picture of whether a particular data source is useful for a certain type of information request.
How do you ensure compliance with terms and conditions?
Market database vendors are increasingly focused on ensuring that terms and conditions for use are adhered to at all times, whether they relate to single user login, data distribution restrictions or limits on the amount of the data that can be downloaded.
In addition, a BIS team may implement internal usage restrictions, usually based on the cost of reports or data downloaded.
In either case, BIS managers need to ensure that their researchers are always aware what’s allowed, but in a fast-paced working environment, there isn’t always time to go check terms and conditions—and the more database subscriptions there are, the harder it is for an individual to remember all the details!
Again, technology offers a solution. Software modules like Database Cost Optimization Module can also be programmed to provide information on internally and externally mandated usage restrictions of relevance to the request, geography and sector.
What can usage analytics tell you?
Smart analytics can tell you if you’re getting the right return on investment for your database spend. Imagine how useful that information is, come contract renewal season!
While it’s clear that correlating database usage with subscription costs is very informative, in order for it to happen, usage monitoring has to be integrated into the workflow smoothly and not require additional reporting from the researchers. If it takes time, it is unlikely to happen.
Again, technology holds the key: Database Cost Optimization Module has the capability to track database login, number of searches and number of downloads (i.e., actual successful usage instead of just the search). It’s exactly the kind of information that will support the right decisions when it’s time to renew subscriptions.
Want to know more about Database Cost Optimization Module?
It has already helped our clients improve research productivity—and almost completely eliminate instances of non-compliance with terms and conditions. Check it out and consider what it could do for your business information services center.