Iain Smith is founder of IT human resources consultancy Diaz Research, which
specialises in IT research and data, and its clients include such blue-chips as
Abbey National, AstraZeneca, Bank of England and Bank of Ireland. As a research
company, it relies on the internet for up-to-date news and to get market
What are your top research sites?
For IT sector news, it is hard to beat silicon.com, but I also like the US
site, cio.com. Both these sites have tech-nology and technology management
content, but are also quite good at focusing on the people issues and effective
leadership. HR sites in general do not carry many stories relating to IT or
high-tech HR issues. Company websites are great – you can check their news
releases and annual reports.
What are your top three tips for researching on the internet?
Spend time really understanding the search engine you’re using. Google, for
example, has loads of brilliant features. Set aside time to explore Google (or
your favourite search engine) properly and I guarantee that investment will
repay you many times over. My next tip is to take everything you get from the
internet with a pinch of salt. No one guarantees its quality. And if you come
across a news item – do check the date the story was filed. One of the dangers
of using the internet is the temptation to just surf. Force yourself to stay
focused on the task at hand.
Where research has paid off?
Diaz Research produces an IT HR newsletter that tells people what’s
happening on a monthly basis. Although much of that is based on our own direct
research and contacts, we could certainly not produce the newsletter without
regular trawls of around a dozen sites in the UK, US and France. Secondly, we
would find it very difficult to operate without being able to research company
news on the internet. There is such a wave of consolidation taking place that
it is very foolish to visit any company these days without having researched
them, and the way to do that is via the internet.