Intelligence analysis of the data
Analysing information to create Intelligence
So, what are you going to do about it?
Most importantly, you may want to use Competitive Intelligence. So consequently you have piles of information on your competitors. Therefore, Intelligence analysis is the answer.
And, this the common problem. You have commenced research on your competitors and revealed a significant amount of data.
However, this is the first and perhaps hardest part of the process. And, you are busy collecting the data. But, that is all it is – data.
And data tells us what the company is doing
Intelligence is supposed to understand what your rival intends to do.
So, to create Intelligence, you need to analyse the data you have. Therefore, it is likely to be not the full picture. Because after all, you can not collect everything on the company. If you do, you are either very lucky or breaking the law!
Interestingly, the analysis is important. As it helps you fill in the data gaps, as well as, defining conclusions from the data. Namely, the ones that can help you expand your understanding of your competitors’ actions and plans.
And there are many ways of analysing data from a simple SWOT analysis for instance. To more complicated spreadsheet based comparative quasi-scientific approach. Still, there are a few processes which you can use now.
Yet, there is no right and wrong way of doing it. But this a sensible way to start analysing:
Then, define your hypotheses
- Firstly, Utilise teams to evaluate them
- Secondly, reassess hypothesis with external sources
- Then, assess analysis with new data collected
- Finally, conduct “What if?” analysis
Intelligence analysis environmental considerations
But, before conducting this analysis, you should have a good understanding of your competitor’s history. And the key members of staff and what are their essential products are. Also, who are their main clients.
Then, define Your hypotheses
The first action to do is to build a set of hypotheses. Ones which could potentially fit the facts you have revealed in your research. Also, what could be going on with your competitor?
However, there is not going to be one single hypothesis.
And, you can be as wild as you wish in defining them
Think outside the box.
Key aspects to consider include:
- What are the major problems the rival is/could be facing?
- Is there anyone putting pressure on the company to perform or indeed, make corrections to their operations?
- Also, how good are the management team? What are their track records, and how have they dealt with problems in the past?
- Then, what is the situation the company in terms of marketing, production and it’s finances?
- Finally, in the past how well have they dealt with problems, how did they resolve them and you and they consider they did well. Do they meet their objectives?
- And, what resources does your rival have at its disposal?
Above all, remember, the past does not equal the future
However, the past is only a consideration of the future if there have been no significant changes in your rivals company. As well as, the competitive environment.
Furthermore, these changes tend to be very obvious such as a takeover, change of leader. Also, both of these examples and will certainly extend your hypothesis to the company who took them over or who the leader used to manage.
In fact, there are many analysis tools you can use, and you will develop your favourites for each situation you face. And, some of which are detailed below:
Analytical tools and techniques
Firstly, you must understand where you are going to start. And there a number of tools for this:
- Issue Redefinition
- Chronologies and Timelines
- Ranking, Scoring, Prioritising
Interestingly, traffic analysis is an excellent tool to find out who is talking to who in your market and competitors. As you know, people tend to interact with certain people and organisations for a reason. You may not know what they are saying but you will be able to build a very interesting picture.
- Structured Brainstorming
- Virtual Brainstorming
- Nominal Group Technique
- Cross-Impact Matrix
- Morphological Analysis
- Quadrant Crunching
Hypothesis generation and testing
- Analysis of Competing Hypothesis
- And multiple Hypotheses Generator
- Quadrant Hypothesis Generation
- Also, Diagnostic Reasoning
- Analysis of Competing Hypotheses
- Argument Mapping
- Finally, Deception Detection
- Premortem Analysis
- And Structured Self-Critique
- What If? Analysis
- High Impact/Low Probability Analysis
- Devil’s Advocacy
- Red Team Analysis
- Also, Delphi Method
- Firstly, Bench Marking
- BCG Growth Matrix
- Competitive Positioning
- Customer Segmentations and needs Analysis
- Customer Value Analysis
- And, GE Business Screen
- Porter Five Forces (Industry Analysis)
- Nine Forces (Industry Analysis)
- Finally, Strategic Group Analysis
- Blindspot Analysis
- Secondly, Business Model Analysis
- Competitor Analysis
- Functional Capability and Resource Analysis
- Management Profiling
- McKinsey 7s Analysis
- Product Line Analysis
- Also, Servo Analysis
- Supply Chain Analysis
- SWOT Analysis
- And, Value Chain Analysis
- Win / Loss Analysis
Then there is environment analysis using tools and techniques like:
- Country Risk Analysis
- Corporate Reputation Analysis
- And Critical Success Factor Analysis
- Driving Force Analysis
- Issue Analysis
- Macro-environmental (STEEP) Analysis
- Also, Political and Country Risk Analysis
- Scenario Analysis, including:
- Alternative Futures Analysis
- Multiple Scenario Generation
- As well as, Indicator Validators
- Also, Stakeholder Analysis
- Then, Strategic Relationship Analysis
- Event and Time Line Analysis
- Experience Curve Analysis
- And, Growth Vector Analysis
- As well as, Historiographical Analysis
- Indications and Warning Analysis
- Patent Analysis
- Product Life Cycle Analysis
- S-Curve Analysis (Technology Life Cycle)
- And, Technology Forecasting
- War Gaming
- Competitor Cash Flow Analysis
- Financial Ratio and Statement Analysis (inc. Disaggregated Financial Ratio Analysis)
- And, interpretation of Statistical Analysis
- Linchpin Analysis
- Strategic Funds Programming
- Finally, Sustainable Growth Rate Analysis
Cause and effect assessment
- Key Assumptions Check
- Structured Analogies
- Red Hat Analysis
- And Outside-In Thinking
- Adversarial Collaboration
- And also, Structured Debate
Making a decision
- Decision Trees
- Complexity Manager
- Decision Matrix
- Also, Force Field Analysis
- And, of course, SWOT Analysis
And, get in touch with Octopus via our contact us page.
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And some further reading from here:
Finally, information sources for this page includes the excellent book entitled Structured Analytical Techniques for Intelligence analysis by Richards J Heuer JR and also Randolph H Person. And, of course the definitive Business and Competitive Analysis by the excellent Babette Bensoussan and Craig S. Fleisher.