The Trainers’ 3-Step Guide to Effectively Researching Tech Brands
Thanks to advances made in the past few decades, tech is now part and parcel of our everyday lives. In education, the role technology plays in classroom instruction as well as academic research is indispensable.
It is no surprise, therefore, that tech brands have become the subject of many academic research projects. As subjects of academic research, tech brands present researchers with very unique problems. Because of the nature of the industry, a company is likely to have a short lifespan due to disruption. Further, the enthusiastic nature of most tech communities leads to the creation of several volumes of content around popular brands and most of these pieces of content are not sourced properly.
If you are a trainer, how would you direct your students to effectively research a tech brand given these unique challenges? Below are some insights that will help you capture as much reliable material data as possible about any tech brand.
1- Cover the Basics First
As with any research project, you want to make sure the action items are informed by solid fundamentals. You want to make sure the goals are clearly defined and the students know exactly the kind of data and information they are supposed to collect.
Achievement thinking is helpful to any project planning process. It is especially valuable when researching a tech brand where the students have to bring several pieces of the puzzle together to achieve the objectives you desire as a trainer.
Therefore, create a mini-plan upon which the students can build on as they research the tech brands in question. Obviously, you should encourage your students to get creative and not limit themselves to the barebones you’ve provided.
2- Comprehensive Sourcing of Data and Information for Tech Brands
You don’t want your students beginning their research project by looking up information on Google or unreliable secondary sources of data. With an understanding of what needs to accomplished, information and data for tech brands can be sourced from the following places:
The Company Itself By reaching out to the brand, you can get reliable information from the primary subject of the research project. This is very valuable and should always be considered. Companies today are also in the business of collecting data. Tech companies collect and analyze large volumes of data about their customers and industry. They can, therefore, provide data that can help a researcher contextualize other pieces of data they manage to gather elsewhere.
Tech Industry Experts: experts in any given tech field can give nuanced information on several topics including the actual size of the market, how a brand’s products fit into the entire context of the industry, the general direction of the industry, as well information about the brand in question that insiders are aware of but the brand won’t volunteer to your students even if they ask in good faith.
The Brand’s Customers:end-users are always in a good position to provide reliable information about the tech products they use and the brands they give their business to. They can provide information on customer experience, perceived value-add, and how a tech brand compares to its competition.
Tech Industry Research Firms: Several research firms produce research about the tech industry every year. They provide unbiased comprehensive information and data about tech markets and brands that can serve as reliable sources of secondary data for your students. Such firms include Ovum, ICDC, Gartner, and Forrester, among others.
Tech Industry Publications: The tech industry has lots of market-specific publications that can act as reliable secondary sources. They provide industry and company news, market information, trends, and opinions. Students should, however, note that most opinions in many publications are unqualified and should not be taken with authority when writing an academic research project.
The most reliable publications are those that have been formally evaluated such as dissertations and journals. The peer review ensures that such tech publications only provide high-quality information.
Vendors: For tech brands that have middlemen, vendors and IT solution providers working with the brand can be of great help since they are in contact with both the brand and the end-users frequently.
Vendors are very informed about the value a brand brings to the marketplace relative to other competing brands. Many IT firms have changed their products based on feedback provided by IT solution providers. This is because these solution providers are always looking for ways to help customers solve problems and so improve their businesses.
3- Probe Emerging IT Trends and How the Brand Is Approaching Them
ICT is an ever-evolving sector and tech brands are always in the process of changing their strategic and operational objectives and procedures to match these emergent needs. A researcher failing to probe the dominant paradigm of a tech brand as regards these trends is, therefore, making a big mistake.
In 2020 and beyond, the following topics in tech are significant and should attract the attention of researchers gathering information about tech brands:
i. Artificial intelligence and augmented intelligence
ii. Data science
iii. Cybersecurity and related issues such as digital identities
iv. Human-computer interactions
vi. Cloud computing
vii. Sensor and wireless systems
viii. Machine learning
x. The internet of things.