Competitive Intelligence has been around as long has been the competition. The ways of tracking the competition has evolved over the years.
Presently, even the most mature organisations, with a dedicated function for Competitive Intelligence rely heavily on desk/secondary research for competitive intelligence. This approach presents a basic drawback. If the information is out there in the public domain in any form, most of the strategic imperatives, actions and pre-work have already been done by the competition. Most of this information comes from company releases, which requisite companies themselves put in public domain, after assessing all the competitive risks. This information has limited scope for the companies tracking their competition, to react or have any serious counter to it.
After this point it becomes a chasing game for the companies tracking competition, where they sit scratching their heads about ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of an information point, once the balance sheet and P&L numbers are placed one against the others.
Solution to this problem is a holistic approach towards Competitive Intelligence. This approach takes inputs from primary research, recruitments (when you interview from competition), social media, news and updates, analyst calls, subjective opinions of analysts, ears on the ground especially from the sales function apart from the good old secondary research. There will never be a confirmed information about a future mission critical strategic move, but when all inputs are taken into account, an educated guess about a strategic move can be made.
An analytics platform encompassing all inputs and outputs presents a great option. This platform collects inputs from secondary and primary sources, makes reasonable assumptions, arrives at a potential strategic move by the competition and distributes this to all the stakeholders who have skin in the game!!
Author: Prabhash Choudhary, CEO, Magistral Consulting
Magistral (www.magistralconsulting.com) has helped multiple global organizations set its CI practices. Author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries