On-demand business intelligence: Transforming data into actionable insights

Valentina Gerasimova,
Head of SeeNews Research On-demand services

You have been long in market intelligence, how has your business evolved in the age of Big Data?

Data has been around for decades but what has made it big are the new technologies and the user needs. More than 15 years ago we started as a research and market consultancy with the sole purpose to provide a comprehensive database of company profiles, industry and macroeconomic reports for Southeast Europe (SEE). We sought to support local and overseas businesses in getting a complete picture of the marketplace.

Nowadays, clients expect us not only to provide information on market size, potential, trends and players but also to transform it into actionable insights to help them discover unmet customer needs, competitive advantages, and unforeseen obstacles. Now, we are more than a data and analytics provider, but a trusted business partner offering one-stop-shop business intelligence tailored to the specific needs of every client looking for partners, reviewing competitors or considering entry in new markets.

How can research on-demand help companies face the challenges of business growth?

We help companies find solutions in critical situations. We address issues which cannot be solved by traditional approaches because they require knowledge of the industries in the SEE region, the specifics of the Balkans. For example, after frost damaged the walnut crops in the region we had a request for a report on the walnut and almonds market by a businessman who wanted to sound out the competition and develop an import strategy for the region.

Our report on outdoor pig breeding regulations in neighbouring and western European countries was prompted by the lack of EU standards for free-range pork. The research found out that in the western countries the free-range system was a well-established practice and raised the issue of introducing such regulations.

It is not only emergencies that we attend to but we also respond to current or anticipated customer demand. The onslaught of low-cost carriers on the Balkans and the fast growth of the segment in SEE has raised interest in their business and operational practices, their impact on the leisure and travel market, prompting us to come up with a report which can be accessed freely.

We are the only researcher that has the resources and the expertise to support a company to find a solution for the SEE market. We have the data corpus, the real time information, as well as long-term partnerships with local information providers, analysts and consultants.

You have mentioned requests for research-on demand for some niche markets. Is this always the case?

Our expertise ranges from energy and transport to IT and agriculture. We have produced more than 3,000 tailor-made reports so far, most of them are on specific segments or subsectors. They include, for example, outdoor advertising in Bulgaria, ceramic tiles in Macedonia, legal expenses insurance in Bulgaria, Germany and the UK, medical diagnostic laboratories in Bulgaria, automotive lubricants, outsourcing in SEE, etc.

We are not confined to niche markets, part of our research is focused on the leading industries in the region – energy, banking, chemicals, transports, wholesale and retail. The annual ranking of the big players in the region of the TOP 100 SEE edition is also based on our research.

Among our recent clients are IBM, the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association, the Bulgarian Association for People Management, the Bulgarian Mining Chamber, embassies, PR and investment agencies, banks and other large companies.

What is 2018 holding for SeeNews in terms of market intelligence?

Our latest development project aims at turning Big Data into an affordable business intelligence tool for companies, especially SMEs, which do not have big market intelligence budgets. It will combine data with ontologies, tailored for each client, to generate sector reports using automatic extraction, storage, analysis and visualization.

It will help companies to navigate in the business environment by highlighting sector trends, market potential and opportunities.