Competitive Intelligence. Everyone wants it. We all hustle to understand our competition. We obsess over databases accessed and rumors shared. Information is shared informally and through haphazardly crafted documents.
Doing competitive intelligence (CI) effectively is difficult. We all recognize that as a fact. Whether CI is done by a corporate team or an outsourced resource, consider the below guide to help you make decisions about sources and standards.
|Need for CI||What is the problem?||How does this problem happen?||What is the solution?|
|Speed||Time is money and business development decisions / actions are often time sensitive. Conducting CI takes time that business development usually does not have.||Lack of processes / techniques suited for quick turnaround|
Lack of management infrastructure to effectively use already gained knowledge on regular competitors
Limited analysts and/or analytical skills to respond to ever increasing demands
|Build readily repeatable techniques and tools to respond to routine requests|
Build out internal database (not just document management) to manage CI data
Hire analysts or establish long-term agreements with outsourced analysts to reduce lead-time to engage talent
|Relevancy||Information provided is often generic and not opportunity relevant.||Analysts lack knowledge and tools to define what is relevant to a specific opportunity|
Time pressures (see above) force rushed work products thereby making generic information used
Intelligence collection takes time and constant effort to accumulate relevant information
|Enhanced training on competitive intelligence and OSINT skills (not just “Googling”) to define requirements and desired outcomes more clearly|
Investment in infrastructure to regularly capture intelligence for later use
|Ease of use||Intelligence products are vague, without structure and have only very high-level information.||Routinely ad hoc work products are not refined and regularly shared to enable absorption of intelligence|
Depth of information is limited in richness of text (even as back-up materials) making it difficult to search or have full context of the finding
|Create standardized templates which are not just forms, but integrated with CI processes|
Use longer narrative deliverables with well-defined sections by topic to enable users to take in briefings and then have the ability to search later and on their own
Doing CI the right way is an investment. This is an investment in your people, your processes and your tools. Investing in all three areas may be difficult which means outsourcing may be advantageous. Just like any other business decision, you must decide what is best to be kept internal and what is better to outsource.
If you are curious to discuss how to build up your CI function whether it is a complete stand-up or only to enhance an aspect of your CI function, check out our page on the topic here. Otherwise, just contact us and we will be happy to discuss this with you.
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