Big data analytics and international market selection: An exploratory study

Jonathan Calof, Wilma Viviers

Abstract


A great deal of information is available on international trade flows and potential
markets. Yet many exporters do not know how to identify, with adequate precision, those
markets that hold the greatest potential. Even if they have access to relevant information, the
sheer volume of information often makes the analytical process complex, time-consuming and
costly. An additional challenge is that many exporters lack an appropriate decision-making
methodology, which would enable them to adopt a systematic approach to choosing foreign
markets. In this regard, big-data analytics can play a valuable role. This paper reports on the
first two phases of a study aimed at exploring the impact of big-data analytics on international
market selection decisions. The specific big-data analytics system used in the study was the
TRADE-DSM (Decision Support Model) which, by screening large quantities of market
information obtained from a range of sources identifies optimal product‒market combinations
for a country, industry sector or company. Interviews conducted with TRADE-DSM users as
well as decision-makers found that big-data analytics (using the TRADE-DSM model) did
impact international market-decision. A case study reported on in this paper noted that
TRADE-DSM was a very important information source used for making the company’s
international market selection decision. Other interviewees reported that TRADE-DSM
identified countries (that were eventually selected) that the decision-makers had not previously
considered. The degree of acceptance of the TRADE-DSM results appeared to be influenced by
TRADE-DSM user factors (for example their relationship with the decision-maker and
knowledge of the organization), decision-maker factors (for example their experience and
knowledge making international market selection decisions) and organizational factors (for
example senior managements’ commitment to big data and analytics). Drawing on the insights
gained in the study, we developed a multi-phase, big-data analytics model for international
market selection.

Keywords


Market Market Intelligence, Business Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence, Information Systems, Geo-Economics

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.37380/jisib.v10i2.581

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