Research service tracks IT buying habits

A custom research firm is offering technology vendors a Web-based service to help find customers that could also be used by IT managers shopping for products.

London-based Infinity Research this week launched TechNavio, which it described as a repository of market data for sales and marketing planners to gauge the possible size of the audience for their products in various parts of the world. The subscription service, which will cost US$500 per seat per month, includes information divided by 50 countries and based on spending information of 500 of what it claims are the largest IT spenders.

Rahul Agarwal, co-founder of Infiniti Research and head of business development for TechNavio, said the system was based on its own primary research as well as an aggregation of many other sources, including vendor press releases and publicly available summaries of reports from independent IT research firms such as Gartner, Forrester and IDC. While a lot of vendors already subscribe to services directly from these firms, Agarwal said TechNavio will make them more contextually relevant.

“Those firms are great from a perspective of where markets are heading. . .but they operate at a 30,000-foot level. Many times companies are trying to understand the local market,” he said. “Each report gives a slice of the market and is defined in a different way. You might have multiple subscriptions and conflicting data, so you have to call up the analyst, find out what methodology was used, who was included and what was not.”

Although TechNavio will bring together news and insight from hundreds of sources through automated technology, it will also involve Infiniti staff manually looking at each of those sources and “meta-tagging” them.

“Every day we receive some 2,000 items in the bucket, but we really find that only about 10 per cent are useful,” he said. “We’ve looked at technology to automate that, but the technology isn’t really mature. It cannot match human intervention.”

Agarwal said TechNavio could also be of interest to IT professionals buying products, who may want to use it for comparative research purposes.

“A bank can use the product to see what other banks are deploying,” he said by way of example, adding that the information largely comes from published case studies. “We have information on Fortune 500 companies covered, where we have captured deployments in the last five years.”

Barbara French, founder of Acton, Mass.-based Tekrati, tracks developments in the IT market research industry. She said there are a number of similar services already available on the market, including The success of such services depends a lot on the authority of the aggregator, she said, and they don’t always generate much revenue for the analyst firm data that’s culled from the Internet.

“It’s an age-old tradition going back all the way to Computer-Select,” she said. “Instead of being on CDs or floppy disks, now you have it online.”

TechNavio also has a number of contact names and numbers of IT professionals, which Agarwal said are reviewed once every quarter to see if they’re still in the same job.

“You have to understand that as soon as they leave it will not be possible to reflect that immediately. There will always be some latency,” he said.

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