What is Competitive Intelligence?”
So, what is competitive intelligence? The term originated and was established in the USA. So, definitions / terminology tend to be grand, varied and overly complicated.
However, put simply, competitive intelligence allows you to avoid surprises. Think more moves ahead of your rivals, and minimise uncertainty when you make business decisions. It gives you the ability to see through or stay ahead of the competition. And in many cases, can be the unspoken, hidden key to success.
The basic process for a intelligence-gathering exercise is:
- Secure buy-in by the senior team;
- Create and encourage awareness of competitiveness throughout the organisation;
- Develop a focused definition of the key questions you need answered;
- Collect secondary information (print / web) and primary information (people);
- Then, analyse the information to generate findings. Isolate patterns and create scenarios;
- Communicate the intelligence to a relevant audience; and
- Finally, review actions, source credibility and receive feedback.
Also, it is important to debunk one myth. Spying on competitors is a fact of business life. But it is not about rummaging through your adversaries' dustbins for discarded information.
So, snooping on phone records and the theft of other sensitive information is not only illegal, but also a world away from the ever-growing CI industry.
Activities should always be conducted in an ethical way.
It is also worth noting that competitive intelligence is not just about your competitors.
It can also give you invaluable information about demographics, the economy, other industries, technology. Also distributors, clients, substitutes, suppliers, government regulation, business prospects, culture and even case law. We have written a booklet defining what competitive intelligence is and shows you how it can help you.
Feel free to download it below.