Competitive Intelligence is an ethical way of improving the decision-making ability of your company by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Competitive intelligence can be short term or long term. Getting competitive intelligence goes beyond internet searches as the most valuable information is not usually available easily. Competitive intelligence studies will take inputs from multiple sources such as government records, customer interviews and news media. The non-profit community Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) aims at providing education and networking opportunities for those working in the field of competitive intelligence. For the guidance of professionals researching competitive intelligence, the community has created a code of ethics using which the professionals can set their standards.
The aim of competitive intelligence is to develop the tactics necessary to obtain market shares from competitive companies in a profitable manner. The competitor analysis involved in researching competitive intelligence will try to predict how the competitor will respond to the changes in the industry and the moves made by other companies. If strategies are developed without monitoring the competitors, the company will be vulnerable to attacks. Competitive intelligence will essentially make the best use of the unique capabilities of the company. Strategic intelligence tries to understand the competitor’s future goals, its strategy and abilities. Tactical intelligence comprises aspects such as the terms of sale, how they differentiate their products and policies related to pricing. Counter intelligence focuses on defending the company secrets. Information technology plays an important role in protecting company secrets. The strategies involved in hiring and firing employees can have a major impact in keeping sensitive information within the company.
To stay ahead in your field, it is necessary that you hire executives trained in competitive intelligence. Competitive intelligence will allow you to be aware of risks and opportunities ahead of time. To practice competitive price intelligence, your team will need to be well trained. This will give you an edge over your competitors and avoid price wars. Using competitive intelligence, your business strategies will be based on information analysis. One of the things businesses must be careful about is that their competitors are constantly changing. It will be waste of effort and time if you spend too much time investigating an old competitor while being ignorant of the new competitors cropping up. Big data technologies are a useful tool in competitive intelligence. Using big data technologies, information from social media, competitor websites and vendors can be processed in real time and used to make strategic plans.
If you do not want to incorporate a team of professionals trained in competitive intelligence in your business, you have the option to outsource the service. There are a number of companies specialising in this field offering corporate intelligence services. This can be an option also when your in-house team is too busy. However, some companies feel a concern about confidentiality when outsourcing a task dealing with sensitive information. An external team will not have the intelligence acquired by working within the company, such as obtained by participating in meetings and workshops. This can also be a shortcoming.
Providing products and services is only a part of running a business. An awareness of the marketplace is necessary to run a successful business. Competitive Intelligence is an efficient means of acquiring this.
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