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November 2002    Feature
a free monthly briefing on the knowledge agenda
No. 67

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About I3


Managing editor:
David J. Skyrme


Taxonomy Enhanced Knowledge Publications:
New Series debuts with 'Consumers Report'

Jan Wyllie, Global Economy Monitor

As taxonomies are becoming more appreciated by the business community, an opportunity is opening up to exploit them in the media. A new company, Global Economy Monitor Ltd., is launching its first series of taxonomy enhanced knowledge publications, this week. The company uses a taxonomy devised by the veteran content analysis research company, Trend Monitor, to analyse hundreds of key articles a month from leading US and UK business sources. The taxonomy serves as a knowledge transfer conduit by collecting all pertinent evidence on scores of topics in one place making it possible for knowledge hunters to assimilate a wealth of pertinent information as never before. The taxonomy systematically covers what some of the world's most influential business publications are saying about all the major economic questions.

Knowledge Mining

The reports occupy new intellectual ground between journalism and open source intelligence. The essentially human techniques of knowledge mining used are, of course, applicable to any knowledge domain, so are of interest to knowledge managers. The editor and senior analyst, Jan Wyllie, has just written "Taxonomies: Frameworks for Corporate Knowledge" in association with David Skyrme Associates which is scheduled to be published in December by Ark Group (Full detilas in next month's I3 UPDATE - Editor).

The whole economy stands or falls on the decisions of consumers, so the subject, as well as the process, will be of interest to I3 UPDATE/ENTOVATION International readers who need to know about the new more challenging business and financial environment. The techniques used to compile and write the report can be applied in virtually any domain making the report an example of a useful tool for knowledge managers.

The Ultimate Customer Knowledge?

Consumers are the customer of last resort. So anyone in the business of finding and serving customers needs to understand what they are doing and are likely to do, given the fast-changing economic circumstances. Current news is increasingly confusing. UK and US consumers are still spending, the value of householder assets is still rising, but consumer confidence is falling. This report anticipates a new phase in consumer behaviour which makes traditional product development and marketing strategies obsolete and even dangerous.

Here is a very small selection of findings from 'Consumers' report:

"Security is becoming the most crucial aspect of return on investment which is one reason why consumers are investing so much in their homes. Finding secure financial havens outside investment in the home is perceived as becoming increasingly difficult."

"US consumer spending has been boosted by purchases of bigger ticket items, such as cars and washing machines, bought with low cost credit. However, when repayments come due, money will be diverted from new spending to paying for purchased items. A sharp spending slowdown would therefore be likely, even if future income prospects were good which they are decided not. (See Consumers / Income / Jobs / US)"

"In a world where thrift replaces consumption, as the main driver of consumer attitudes, improving quality of life might prove to be a more realistic economic goal than trying to achieve a return to 'healthy' economic growth."

The implications for business of a new age of consumer thrift are considered. Under these conditions, price cutting is not sustainable in the long term. Customer relationships will change, and they will also become increasing important. The quality and efficacy of knowledge management programs are liable to come under increasing scrutiny.

In developing these reports, our content analysis process systematically distils the essence of what some of the most influential English language business sources are saying about the global economy. The Consumers report is the first of six titles to be published monthly. The other reports are Business, Currencies, Growth, Trade and Regulation. Subscribers to any or all the reports will also receive Global Economy Monitor's weekly email Newswire free for six months.

The report is unique because it gives a 360 degree picture of the consumer as an economic entity. All the pertinent news, comments and statistics in the sources relating to consumers Income are gathered together and analysed. The same is done for their Expenditure, including spending, debt repayments and taxation; their Assets, including householder wealth and savings; and their Attitudes where confidence surveys are analysed and new ways of adapting to changing conditions are identified. Using professional intelligence analysis techniques, more current evidence is focused in each key topic, and it is possible to look at how events in a category such as income are likely to influence what happens in other categories such as expenditure.

You can see the structure of the report and read a sample free section of the Consumers Report (that on Incomes) at:

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