Together, the four types of data illustrated can provide an internal desk research information system. This is a system that produces useful and usable information through organized methods for collecting, storing, retrieving, manipulating and reporting on data available from within the firm. The first category of data illustrated is called 'operating data' because it is produced as a result of the operation of the organization. The second data category is called 'market intelligence' because it refers to intelligence information acquired by individuals who work for the organization as a result of the personal contacts they make. Market intelligence differs from marketing research by being less systematic or representative in the selection of sources from which information is acquired. The third category is accumulated research and marketing information, and this forms the basis for setting up an internal 'information library' or database. The last category, decision support systems, enables managers to add meaning to data through the use of computer-generated analysis.
These four aspects of an internal desk research information system are discussed in the following sections.
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