The web channels
There are many industry analysts that offer free content and newsletters. Of course a subscription will unlock some solid content hidden behind the walls. Be sure to see if others in your company, typically at the c-suite level, have subscribed to these services. It may be quick and easy to get a seat as well. Check out Gartner for technology research, Forrester and IDC for market research, and The Hackett Group for operations and supply chain information.
Pay attention to your supplier’s web sites. You might be surprised by the information provided, including technical specifications, product directories, and perhaps some case studies or informative blogs. Pay special attention to any press releases or media contacts. You might find some interesting news that might work in your benefit in a negotiation or identify a potential risk in the supply chain. Google your suppliers from time to time and be sure to click the ‘news’ tab. You might find some interesting things that might set off your risk alarms.
Pay attention to your web site as well. You suppliers certainly are and fishing for information that would work in their behalf. Often information on your website may compromise supplier relationships, or provide information on customers or suppliers that is impertinent or compromising. Sometimes the staff who maintains the website are unaware. Of course it can also be an important tool for supplier communication.
Some quick searches may show that you industry has a content aggregator or news service that can be a wealth of information. One solid resource is CEOExpress a portal that addresses a wide range of publications and resources for business and technology. Need to find the latest operations strategy from McKinsey or the time in Indonesia? It’s all there.
Social media is also becoming an interesting resource. Focused content on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can be valuable and targeted to specific industries. LinkedIn also has industry and topical groups where a lot of great thoughts get shared. Companies may have rules on accessing social media from your desk, but we have learned that most breaking news is spread through social media.
Keeping up is really part of our jobs and being a resource in your own company or department is one more career differentiator. Yes, there is lots of noise out there these days but as an industry and profession we have never had the resources at our fingertips to keep up to date. It’s really your responsibility to do so.