What is competitive intelligence (CI)?
Process to systematically collect, analyze, and disseminate information as intelligence to users who can act on it.
Organizational function responsible for the early identification of risks and opportunities in the market before they become obvious
To gain foreknowledge of your competitor's plans and to plan your business strategy to countervail their plans
Why do you need a formalized CI system?
Ensure all internal stakeholders are privy to key market information
Help managers discover new markets or businesses
Beat the competition to market
Foresee competitor’s actions
Determine which companies to acquire
Learn about new products and technologies that will affect the industry
Forecast political or legislative changes that will affect the company
Makes the organization more competitive
One centralized depository for CI data
What are the benefits of a formalized CI system?
Improved market knowledge
Improved cross-functional relationships
Greater confidence in making strategic plans
Improvements in product quality vs. competition
CI is a formalized four step process
1. Setting intelligence objectives (i.e., designing the requirements)
Clear outline of intelligence needs
Avoid too much or unnecessary information
Driven by needs to the organization
2. Collecting and organizing data about the industry and competitors
Data will be collected & organized by Product Manager
Key is to ensure reliability & credibility
Sources of Intelligence (primary & secondary)
3. Analyzing and interpreting the data
Analysis & interpretation is the real core of CI
Real data must be transformed into “qualitative” information (i.e., intelligence)
Product Manager will review all data & interpret vs. competitors & market environment
Regular interaction with key stakeholder input
Incorporate intelligence Spider to index and categorize documents (via web searches)
4. Disseminating the intelligence
Deliver actionable information
Delivery to staff at all functions of organization to enhance competitive advantage
Monthly report to president (white paper)
Quarterly presentation to senior management
Quarterly Intelligence Digest distributed to internal management
Lastly, be sure to understand the difference between information and intelligence. Information is the starting point. Information becomes intelligence when it is distilled and analyzed. Intelligence is filtered and actionable information. It is data that is turned into knowledge and used for decision making and actions. Intelligence is knowledge and foreknowledge. Remember, CI's real value is to provide managers with the organizational tool to learn what the competitor will do, not what the competitor has already done.