Archive for October, 2009

Article: Achieving Actionability: How to Get Decision-Makers to Pay Attention to Intelligence

Kenneth SawkaKen Sawka once again wrote a very interesting article on their Outward Insights blog. It’s about the problem of perfectly good Competitive Intelligence simply being ignored by management. I’d like to discuss this article in more detail in this blogpost, for two reasons. Firstly because this really is a problem every CI practitioner will recognize. Sawka describes the three forces that influence the level of success in being heard by management, which I think is enlightening. Secondly because I would like to share my vision on this ever returning nuisance and provide some suggestions on how to deal with these forces. Needless to say, I would really recommend the Outward Insights blog since it contains very useful posts on Competitive Intelligence.

Article: Competitive Intelligence: Your sales teams need to know what they are up against

bruceabrienThis article by Bruce A. Brien, author of The Stratascope Sales Enablement Blog gives basic but helpful tips, for people who are just starting to discover Competitive Intelligence, on how to set up a system to monitor their competitors. Basically he categorizes three ways to collect information on each of your competitors:

  • Their website: the website will not only display their services, products and solutions offerings. It will also most likely be used to broadcast their success stories.
  • Social media: Brien recommends following your competitors on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, et cetera.
  • RSS feeds: set up RSS feeds based on searches about your competitors and one or two keywords, such as issue.

Article: Misrepresentation in CI: An Ethical Analysis

Compass of IntegrityWhen practitioning Competitive Intelligence, you always balance on the line between what information is available, and what information isn’t, but can be made available. In the latter situation the question is at what price this information can be obtained. Does it involve a visit to the competitor’s showroom while portraying oneself as a customer? Or making employees of your competitor believe they are participating in a market research project while you’re collecting interesting information for your own benefit? When thinking about these situations, questions about ethics come forward. According to Julia Evans, the writer of the interesting paper ‘Misrepresentation in CI: An Ethical Analysis’, the most common ethical questions in CI concern misrepresentation:

Misrepresentation occurs whenever a CI practitioner lies or misleads a competitor about their identity in order to gain access to information.

Article: Leaping Over the Intelligence – Decision Gap

Kenneth SawkaAnyone who worked in a CI environment knows that no matter how extensive, expensive and mature your Competitive Intelligence activities are and, more importantly, no matter how insightful and actionable your acquired intelligence may be, it is never guaranteed that the intelligence is actually used in the process of strategic planning. The same goes for decision making; it takes more than relevant, actionable intelligence to make sure decisions are taken based upon it. The following article by Kenneth Sawka, managing partner at Outward Insights, clearly describes two ways to improve the impact CI can have on both strategic planning and decision making.

Article: A Competitive Intelligence Note to a CEO

Tom HawesIn below article Tom Hawes quite clearly explains how Competitive Intelligence can help a CEO tackle one of his many concerns in his organization. CI is one of the many inputs to help the CEO (or any other decision maker for that matter) make the right decisions. I really think he touches five important areas of interest when you are a CEO or (high level) decision maker in the process of considering any level of Competitive Intelligence activities. Therefore, I would like to quote his five ways ‘Competitive Intelligence can help you to organize your external perspectives and align your team to compete better’.