Competitive intelligence

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Competitive Intelligence Be ahead of the competition. by Johannes Deltl
What is it about? Do you have competitors breathing down your neck? Does your competitive intelligence run smoothly in the enterprise? How good are you compared to your competitors? Competition is getting more intense. Globalisation has finally arrived in every country of the world. It is crucial to know your own strengthsand weaknesses as well as these of your „enemies.“ Companies that want to be “ahead of the competition“ must have a well-performing radar system in order to analyse their competitors and market developments, and to be able to identify relevant opportunities or threats on time . Competitive Intelligence is the art of always staying one step ahead of the competition. The following pages will give youa comprehensive overview as well as worth-while advice on competitive intelligence.
1. The Process The deployment of competitive intelligence (CI) in companies can be demonstrated best on the basis of a recurrent process. It starts with the planning phase and runs through several individual phases until the final decision, which again is the basis for the planning phase. It is important toelaborate the process and to discuss it within the enterprise. From our experience, we know that “to shoot from the hip” doesn‘t produce any sustainable effects.

2. Planning – To Capture The Essence The most important phase is the planning phase. Hence, we must understand and grasp what are the main motives for clients to set up CI within an enterprise. Explicit targets are concrete „pain points“and not „nice-to-have“ information. There is frequently a reason why an enterprise wants to occupy itself actively with the competition – there could be a new market player, altered framework conditions in the industry or an opening up of new markets. Once the relevant ranges of topics are circumsribed (no comma) it is recommended to transform them into questions. From Key Intelligence Topics(KITs) emerge Key Intelligence Questions (KIQs). For instance, an internationalisation strategy of competitor X can be a KIT. The appropriate KIQ is: What are the activities announced and implemented by competitor X last year which support its internationalisation? The implementation of a „CI Audit“ has been de facto established, where the actual information needs and accumulated knowledge areascertained within the enterprise. The most suitable method for this are face-to-face conversations; written surveys are inadvisable/not recommended.

3. Data Collection – Know Where In this phase you must initially consider where you get answers to the KIQs (Key Intelligence Questions). Within the enterprise those important information treasures, therefore, become the enterprise‘s most importantsource of information. Practical Experience One memorable experience was the conduct of a location analysis for a high street bank. After time-exhausting external research all information had been finally collected and compiled. After the presentation was finalised – you got acquainted with a colleague from next door, who kept in his cabinet the exact similar scope as a completed report. Besides the„usual suspects“ like Google, directories, databases (so-called „We are drown in secondary sources), particularly primary sources are important for answering questions. Before picking up the phone you need to ask information but we are yourself the following question: Who else apart from me could be thirsty for knowledge.“ interested in that information? Possibly the requested information has alreadybeen collected from other interested parties (public institutions, John Naisbitt consultants, associations, etc.). Other „innovative“ sources of information can be found on A Guide – 77 Practical Tips -Tips & Tricks how can you find information about the competition
4. Analysis: „Refinement“ On Information In the planning phase what should be considered carefully is which form...
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