Why business and market intelligence important for GCC corporates?
Interview with Mr. M.R.Raghu, CEO, Marmore MENA Intelligence
Do GCC companies actively seek market intelligence?
Private organizations in the GCC often find themselves in a situation where they need to make decisions of considerable importance with substantial consequences under uncertainty. In such scenarios, they seek out more information to enhance their understanding and take calculated risks. The foremost procurers and users of market intelligence, the private sector, obtains research for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from strategic, economic, industry, market to policy, investment etc. Apart from regularly subscribed research reports, private sector is also the main consumer of customized research for specific requirements to address their own business, operational or investment needs. Growth in services industry (financial service, telecom, trade & tourism) and increasing allocation in state budgets by the GCC governments for development of social infrastructure such as educational & training institutions, healthcare facilities has spurred the need for market intelligence by companies operating in these segments.
What makes businesses intelligence difficult to procure in GCC?
The GCC’s business intelligence industry faces a challenge of inadequate availability of updated statistics from national authorities, lack of data from industrial associations and limited disclosures by public companies, thereby limiting the degree of research and by extension its effectiveness. Data/information often comes with significant time lag and is quite often available only in native language. Poor disclosures by publicly listed companies in the GCC about their respective industry statistics in their annual reports have plagued the standard of industry research. Knowledge economy experts point out the importance of the triple helix model of innovation, i.e., government-industry-university relationships and synergies, in terms of nurturing sustainable economic development. In the GCC, R&D spending, largely, has lagged global peers and is largely dependent on government spending. Technology is increasingly going to be a critical enabler of economic change and competitive advantage. However, in order to understand what a country can do best, R&D spending has to be smart, i.e., it has to be backed up by research that is reliable in identifying suitable industry clusters and innovation ecosystems.
In terms of business intelligence consulting, how can one differentiate between hard (like market share) and soft factors (like customer experience)?
In essence, a business intelligence consultant’s main role is to advise a company on improvements that could be made to its business or organizational effectiveness. Yet, the range of consulting work is extremely varied. Hard data, is defined as data in the form of numbers, graphs and are obtained from various sources such as companies, governments, statistical organizations, industry associations etc. On the other hand, soft data relates to consumer preferences and patterns and are usually derived from primary research conducted by the companies through market research consultants. As access to data continues to grow in the region with the advancements in digital technologies, businesses will need to incorporate both hard and soft data into their solutions for improved, real-time decision support as a way to differentiate their service offerings to ensure that the end consumers get the desired product/service.
Do some sectors lend itself to better intelligence scouting than others?
Considering the strategic importance of oil as an economic resource at a global level and the size of sector in GCC, it remains as the most researched and well understood sector in the region. However, other industries, such as retail, food & beverage, telecom, technology, financial services etc. that have gained prominence in the region over the past couple of decades, have increasingly started using market intelligence to better serve their end customers. For instance, the retail sector in the GCC, traditionally dominated by large shopping malls, have been hit hard due to the coronavirus pandemic along with the sudden spike in traction witnessed in online retail. Such a scenario would lend very well for business intelligence, with data being gleaned from various sources such as retail players, government statistics, end consumers (through primary and secondary research) and consultants. A similar scenario was witnessed in the financial services sector too, with financial technology (fintech) threatening to replace the traditional form of banking. Many banks in the region have turned to market intelligence firms to obtain research on end consumer needs and behaviours and have implemented changes to their business models accordingly.
How can Marmore help in providing business intelligence?
Marmore MENA Intelligence has been providing research services to various clients across the GCC region for well over a decade now. Marmore’s repository of over 800 reports across verticals such as economy, capital markets, sectors and policy have aided various organizations across the globe to get access to intelligent analysis that is hard to find in a less researched region. Marmore’s research, disseminated in various formats, plays a key role for a number of organizations in the GCC looking at various aspects such as new market (sector/geography) entry, product diversification, merger and acquisitions (M&A) etc. Our research reports and customized solutions specifically look into the business environment in detail for competition from other companies, regulatory rules and laws, industry trends, up-to-date technological developments and other facts relevant to the specific product or service. Global Investor, a magazine owned by Euromoney group awarded Marmore MENA Intelligence the title of ‘Research Provider of the Year 2018’. This is a testament to Marmore’s continuous market growth, research innovation and client service leadership.