Introduction to mind mapping
Have you ever been thrown into a capture for a complex opportunity that seems to invite a crowded competitor field? It can be challenging to understand the core requirements of a contract in a short period of time and to narrow down a group of competitors to focus on. Consider mind mapping as a tool to help you simplify this process.
Mind mapping is defined as a visual way to organize your ideas for one central concept or idea. Mind maps make complex subjects easier to understand by allowing you to see the bigger picture and recognize key points and patterns.
Mind Mapping in Competitive Intelligence
Mind maps can be a useful tool for competitive intelligence analysts. They not only visualize and clarify complex situations or problems, but can also be easily shared to spark discussion and discovery within your capture team.
Examples of mind mapping applications within Competitive Intelligence include:
- Mind maps can help an analyst break down a complex contract opportunity and identify core contract requirements.
- Mind maps can help an analyst determine which of their competitors is best equipped to satisfy contract requirements.
- Mind maps can help visualize a competitor analysis and capability to better guide an analyst’s capture strategy.
We will demonstrate the process of creating a mind map as an analyst that is evaluating a potential competitor for a cloud computing migration contract.
Step #1: Identify the technical requirements
For the first step, the analyst must read through a contract’s statement of work (SOW) and identify a few core requirements that define the contract opportunity. The number of technical requirements may vary depending on the complexity of the work being procured.
Step#2: Identify aspects of differentiation that a competitor could use to address requirements
The identified requirements provide context around what capabilities a competitor may leverage to demonstrate their strengths in each core requirement. Relevant competitor differentiation often centers on People, Processes, Tools, and Past Performance (PPTP).
The analyst should identify aspects of competitor differentiation by asking basic questions about each of these categories in the context of the three core requirements. As the analyst extends their mind map, their questions should become narrower and more specific to the competitor’s capabilities and why they matter.
For example, for the first core requirement, the analyst should ask the below questions based on PPTP:
- People: Has the competitor made any cloud architect/SME strategic hires? How would this hire help them for this opportunity?
- Processes: Does the competitor use specific branded processes for cloud migration? Does the competitor have a cloud center of excellence or any other cloud-related facility? What is their importance for this opportunity?
- Tools: Does the competitor have any relevant cloud migration technologies or tools? How are they important to this opportunity?
- Past performance: Has the competitor worked as a prime or subcontractor on other contracts that have similar technical requirements? How is this work relevant to this opportunity?
The analyst should use the same analytical process for each requirement. Posing these questions will naturally drive the next phases of the intelligence process, collection and analysis.
- Mind maps break down complex ideas and make them easy to understand.
- In competitive intelligence, mind maps support a framework that can help analysts understand a contract opportunity and analyze the capabilities of their competitors.
- Using a common mind map framework can enable cross-competitor comparisons to enable better competitive analysis.
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