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Conducting Market Research on the Internet 8400 Westpark Drive McLean, Virginia 22102 March 28, 2000 Presentation to: Prepared by:

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1 Conducting Market Research on the Internet 8400 Westpark Drive McLean, Virginia 22102 March 28, 2000 Presentation to: Prepared by:

2  2000 FSI treasproc 2 Agenda n Internet research overview n Set objectives n Determine a methodology n Identify sources n Collect data n Analyze data n Present data n Reach conclusions n Summary n Appendix: Data sources

3 Research Overview 3

4  2000 FSI treasproc 4 Research Overview n Market research on the Internet is just like any other research project n The Internet offers the most amount of data in one place, but also gives us the most amount of useless data n Researchers must take care to “consider the source” and eliminate spurious data The Internet can be a valuable research tool, provided one has the skills to leverage its possibilities

5 Set Objectives 5

6  2000 FSI treasproc 6 Set Objectives n Examples of bad objectives  Identify who is doing work at the IRS  In what capacity?  Over what duration?  Validate past performance for all bidders  How many citations?  How many bidders?  Review bidder qualifications  How many bidders?  In what capacity?  Determine commercial pricing  For what specifically?  Under what terms? Since the Internet is so vast, it is imperative that research efforts have up-front, clear, limited objectives

7  2000 FSI treasproc 7 Set Objectives, cont. n Examples of good objectives  Assist management with strategic planning by providing changes, advances, and trends in technology and products  Help define requirements by determining whether commercial items are available  Identify standard commercial practices regarding warranties, financing, and maintenance  Evaluation objectives  Select and validate the best value contractor for a specific program  Reach a Determination of Responsibility on a prospective contractor  Conduct a risk assessment of future contractor performance  Establish and validate whether a proposed vendor has bid a fair and reasonable price  Evaluate competency of small business vendors  Review top five bidder qualifications, to include: verifying and analyzing financials, identifying merger and acquisition activity, identify recent wins

8 Determine Methodology 8

9  2000 FSI treasproc 9 Determine Methodology n Primary research is that which is solicited and conducted through primary means, e.g, telephone interviews or surveys  Difficult to obtain  Accurate n Secondary research is that which is obtained by seeking already-released data and analyzing it  Plenty of information already exists  Many risks  Lack of control over secondary data Methodology describes the way in which a researcher intends to meet the stated objectives

10  2000 FSI treasproc 10 Determine Methodology, cont. n Examples of primary data sources; POC information can be found on-line  Government customers  Company program managers or public relations staff  Reporters n Examples of secondary data sources  Government web sites  Government reports  Media  Company web sites  Trade associations  Financial reporting sites

11  2000 FSI treasproc 11 Determine Methodology, cont. n What to ask primary sources  Quantitative data  Government customers: “On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate the vendor’s ability to stay on schedule?”  Company staff: “What is your forecasted revenue for this year?”  Qualitative data  Government customers: “How happy in general are you with Vendor X to date?”  Company staff: “How does your solution for seat management compare to other vendors’ solutions?”  Reporters: “When you wrote the recent article on the use of videoconferencing in government, what were your most valuable data sources?”

12  2000 FSI treasproc 12 Determine Methodology, cont. n What to get from secondary sources  Quantitative data  Company financial information  Procurement data  Government budget figures  Qualitative data  Trends  Drivers  Barriers  Company strengths and weaknesses  Company contract histories

13 Identify Sources 13

14  2000 FSI treasproc 14 Identify Sources n Government market data  Office of Management and Budget  GSA’s Federal Procurement Data Center  Commerce Business Daily (CBD)  GSA and GWAC contracts  Most agencies publish annual strategic plans  General Accounting Office and Inspectors General  Trade publications  Library of Congress “THOMAS” legislative data On-line sources* exist for multiple dimensions of research. Known sources are supplemented with search engines. * A list of recommended data sources appears in the Appendix

15  2000 FSI treasproc 15 Identify Sources n Private sector market data - events and reports  FSI Outlook conference and networking breakfasts  AFCEA conferences  Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) forecasts  Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) presentations n Financial data  Securities and Exchange Commission “EDGAR” filing data (10- Q and/or 10-K files)  Company annual reports  Mergers and acquisitions data

16  2000 FSI treasproc 16 Identify Sources n Company past performance  Dun & Bradstreet Past Performance Evaluation (PPE) services  Supplier Evaluation Reports  Supplier Analysis Reports  Supplier Performance Review  Press releases announcing contract wins (company and government)  In general, past performance data are difficult to determine through secondary means  There are occasional press articles about poor contract performance  Sometimes we identify references that cite contract terminations

17  2000 FSI treasproc 17 Identify Sources, cont. n Company strengths and weaknesses  Current job listings on contracts  Few delivery orders issued on a multiple award, indefinite delivery contract  Citations of won recompetitions  Congressional testimony  Memberships in professional organizations or associations  Bidders lists put out by procurement organizations  General Accounting Office oversees and maintains historical data on protests  Small Business Administration  Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (SADBU) offices

18  2000 FSI treasproc 18 Identify Sources, cont. n Product and Services Information - government  GSA’s Federal Procurement Data Center reports contract spending actions by Product Service Code (PSC) and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code  PSCs and SICs cover products and services n Product and Services Information - contractor  GSA Schedule and some IDIQ contracts are online and provide downloadable contract documentation, including  Contractor teammates  Contractor services and products pricing

19 Collect Data 19

20  2000 FSI treasproc 20 Collect Data n Contact appropriate persons for primary research  Based on objectives, develop a list of relevant questions  Begin primary research early; call backs take time n Download relevant reports  Be careful of report versions  Pay attention to publication dates Collecting data represents the true “research phase”. Do not become overly concerned with relevance during this phase.

21  2000 FSI treasproc 21 Collect Data n View other data according to your research style  Cut and paste text into one electronic document and then edit that document online  Copy down all relevant URLs ( in one place and save all online research for a single session  Copy URLs into a word processing document  Save URLs as bookmarks  Cut and paste information directly into your research report all at once  Print out all pages in hard copy if that is the best method for you

22  2000 FSI treasproc 22 Collect Data n Learn how and when to use search engines  Search engines can result in overwhelming amounts of data  Each search engine has a unique “language” that impacts accuracy  Know exactly what you’re looking for before you start. Narrower searches result in fewer hits and more relevant hits  Search engines are “dumb”; remember that you may have to restate something five times to cover all relevant citations  Mergers and acquisitions also affect your search results

23 Analyze Data 23

24  2000 FSI treasproc 24 Analyze Data n Prioritize collected data  Ask yourself how significant each data set is to the overall research objectives and address them in rank order  “Official” documents and primary research are generally higher priority than documents acquired through other sources  Hierarchy varies from project-to-project, but typically will resemble:  Primary research  Government reports  Company literature or financials  Press releases  Published articles Because the Internet is infinite, the data we collect can seem infinite at first. Learn to “separate the wheat from the chaff”

25  2000 FSI treasproc 25 Analyze Data, cont. n Dismiss sketchy information or conflicting data  If there is no solid way to validate the source, dismiss the data n Distinguish between objective and subjective information  It is usually necessary to caveat subjective data rather than state it as fact n Dismiss extraneous data (“fluff”), or that which does not match objectives  Stated objectives are important for the reader, but also help keep the researcher focused  “Fluff” contributes to overall length of document, but adds no value

26 Present Data 26

27  2000 FSI treasproc 27 Present Data n Consider the reader and tailor the document to them  Full text report or executive summary only?  Management-level highlights supplemented with full text backup? n What can the researcher communicate about the data?  Trends and observations  Graphs and charts The look and feel of a presentation should vary according to its intended audience n Double-check that charts and graphs do not contradict each other

28 Reach Conclusions 28

29  2000 FSI treasproc 29 Reach Conclusions n Did the research accomplish all the stated objectives? What did the research show in the process? n Restate the report  A few paragraphs (written format)  10-15 bullets (slide format) n Illustrate how the research benefits the recipient  Educates them on the topic  Validates their current thoughts or ideas n State the bottom line - what does it all mean? The researcher needs to sum up findings, and determine if they are adequate and appropriate

30 Summary 30

31  2000 FSI treasproc 31 Summary n Market research on the Internet is performed just like any other research project n Setting good, viable objectives will help keep the research focused n A methodology establishes a roadmap by which objectives can be met n Many sources exist; identify and prioritize the most valuable sources n Collect data in a logical manner n Analyze data that has been collected; identify holes n Present data so that the reader can see its value n Reach conclusions that restate the “bottom line” and validate that the research met stated objectives The Internet can be a valuable research tool, provided one has the skills to leverage its possibilities

32 Appendix: Data Sources Appendix: Data Sources 32

33  2000 FSI treasproc 33 Data Sources n Search engines (comparison chart on following slide)       Northern 

34  2000 FSI treasproc 34 Data Sources, cont. Search engine feature comparison n Use your favorite search engine, but be aware of its query language and limitations n Supplement one engine with another if you don’t find what you are seeking

35  2000 FSI treasproc 35 Data Sources, cont. n Government sites  Office of Management and Budget  Federal Procurement Data Center  General Accounting  Agency Inspectors  Library of Congress “THOMAS”  GSA Office of Governmentwide  National Partnership for Reinventing Government  Chief Information Officers  SEC  Small Business  Commerce Business

36  2000 FSI treasproc 36 Data Sources, cont. n Company past performance  Dun &  Press releasesvarious company sites n Private sector sources  FSI conferences and  Federal Computer  Government Computer News  Washington Technology  Government Executive  Government Technology  AFCEA conference  EIA  ITAA presentations 

37  2000 FSI treasproc 37 Data Sources, cont. n GSA Contracts  Searchable GSA Schedules   GSA Advantage! Online Ordering   Example: GSA Advantage! List of PC vendors  n Selected GWAC contracts  DOD DEIS  HHS GWAC  NASA  Navy IT Umbrella  Transportation’s

38  2000 FSI treasproc 38 Data Sources, cont. n Government procurement sites  Department of Agriculture   Air Force  Acquisition Home  Army  CECOM Acquisition  Commerce  IT Acquisition  Defense  Defense   DTIC Acquisition  Defense Procurement  Education  Grants and

39  2000 FSI treasproc 39 Data Sources, cont. n Government procurement sites, cont.  Energy  Office of  Environmental Protection Agency  Doing Business with   General Services Administration  Business/Finance  Doing Business with  Health and Human Services  Acquisition  Housing and Urban Development   Interior  Electronic Acquisition

40  2000 FSI treasproc 40 Data Sources, cont. n Government procurement sites, cont.  Justice  Justice  Department of Labor  Grants and  National Aeronautics and Space Administration  Acquisition Internet  Navy   ITEC  Postal Service   Social Security Administration 

41  2000 FSI treasproc 41 Data Sources, cont. n Government procurement sites, cont.  Department of State  Procurement  Department of Transportation  Procurement Information  Agency Procurement  Department of Treasury  Bureau of Engraving and  Financial Management   Secret   Department of Veterans Affairs  Acquisition and Materiel

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