Market Research means collecting and analyzing information about capabilities within the market to satisfy University needs. It involves collecting and analyzing information on commercial capabilities, processes, pricing, incentives, warranties, and delivery and other standard terms and conditions. Market Research should address both business and technical considerations of a requirement requiring the active participation of both the University requester as well as the Purchasing agent. These considerations might include technical approaches, common quality controls, contract structure, and standard industry terms and conditions.
There are a number of avenues to conduct market research on technical capabilities and all of them start with a clear understanding of what the University needs. On new procurement actions, a good analysis of this will present and support why the technology being sought is the better solution. For upgrading or renewing a service, market research will help one understand what is being improved on and support the decision on the appropriate solution.
Questions that should be asked in market research related to technical capabilities include:
· What is actually required describe in terms of performance versus just a brand name?
· How has the requirement been satisfied in the past?
· What is the difference between what has been done and what is actually required?
· Can the market do what is being asked of it?
· Is there a sufficient number of alternatives in the marketplace to support competition?
· Does the requirement have to be changed or is it firm?
Finally, in acquiring usable knowledge and insight into the respective market, it is important to engage in early exchanges with industry, subscribe and read periodicals or journals on the subject, stay engaged with industry associations, and network.