Trend analysis is a common task an individual or business completes to learn information about a particular topic or area. IT trend analysis is no different; its purpose is to present information for a decision, most likely a business needing to implement a specific type of software or hardware. The best tips for IT trend analysis include the use of quality historical data, defined methods for gathering data, and an inclusion of both internal and external data for trend analysis. This process can take some time to complete, so an individual or business should not place too strict of a timeline on the gathering and dissemination of data. Adequate time is necessary for each project, meaning that trend analysis could take different lengths to complete.
Each trend analysis must have a starting point, which often starts with some time in history and moves forward from that point. When one begins IT trend analysis, the starting point is often of particular importance for the study. For example, going too far back may result in the inclusion of data that is not related or simply unimportant. This is especially important for IT trend analysis as software and hardware in the IT industry can move or change quickly. Therefore, the historical starting point should be one relevant to the study and need for information on the selected topic.
The quality of IT data is also of import when it comes to trend analysis. The most qualified data often comes from a source close to the industry or company. Individually collected data may not be the best source if unreliable or distant from its true source.
Along with the type of data needed for IT trend analysis, the methods used for gathering it are also important. The methods may be statistical or mathematical if certain numbers are on the data that need studying. Or, a more qualitative approach on the study may be necessary, one that reviews companies and certain products they sell, with little specificity in numbers. The need for data often defines how a company approaches the gathering of information. Failure to have this definition in place can result in data that is ultimately useless for a trend analysis.
All types of data are necessary for a complete IT trend analysis. While external — or public — data is most likely readily available, internal data may also be helpful. This data can be hard to come by as few companies are willing to send out private information. In some cases, however, an anonymous survey through a consulting agency may provide otherwise private data. This additional source can fill in cracks found in a traditional trend analysis.