Posts Tagged 'business intelligence'

Competitive Intelligence Functionality: Graphs

Graphs are strong instruments in which trends can be easily shown and recognized. Many different kinds of graphs make sure that there is a graph for every purpose. With this is mind, it won’t surprise you when I tell you that graphs are also being used in Competitive Intelligence (CI) tools. But, the use of these graphs differs from for instance Business Intelligence (BI) purposes. What is the difference and what are the challenges when using graphs in CI?

The Art of information analysis, or the biggest misconceptions of interviewing

If you are in any way participant in intelligence projects from an end user or consultant perspective (BI, CI, MI or whatever I) you will most likely also participate in the process of information analysis. Previously, we have defined this as the process of gathering both information needs and functional (and non-functional) requirements. I’ve seen many many posts about interview techniques and presentation techniques and the more I read about it, the more I come to the conclusion that those are merely tools, and not even the most important ones. No, information analysis is Art. And it was not his brush that made Rembrandt one of the biggest painters of his time.

Why measuring effectiveness of marketing campaigns is also part of Competitive Intelligence

Companies investing in marketing undoubtedly have plenty reasons to launch the marketing campaigns that they do. But most of the time it’s hard to predict (let alone calculate) what the campaign will bring the company, and if it will pay itself back. And even afterwards it is not always easy to measure, or determine otherwise, whether or not the campaign had the desired effect. In this post I’d like to discuss how CI can contribute to determining how effective your marketing efforts really are.

I don’t need Competitive Intelligence, I work for the Government!?

Recently I visited a BI-seminar where I exhibited on Competitive Intelligence basics. Afterwards I spoke to several people who wanted to discuss whether or not Competitive Intelligence would do them any good. Especially government or semi-government employees struggled with the necessity of CI in their particular situation. “We don’t have competitors” was one of the most heard phrases. Most likely that isn’t even true, but even if it is, I’d like to quote Seena Sharp here from her excellent book “Competitive Intelligence Advantage” where she explains the difference between competitor and competitive intelligence:

Competitive Intelligence – Think Big, Start Small (I)

When we hear success stories on Competitive Intelligence (or other related professions such as Business Intelligence), the companies in question often have mature CI systems in place, with lots of supporting software, contracts with (expensive) content providers or news sources and many CI professionals to support decision makers in their tough task of guiding their company through stormy weather. Of course that makes sense because these companies have much more visibility in the market than small companies, the stakes are higher and the struggle to beat competition is drawing more attention, especially when it is a publicly traded company. But that doesn’t mean that smaller companies with ditto budgets cannot gain serious advantage by practitioning CI. In fact I think the effect per invested coin of your choice may even be larger and CI may even be more vital for these companies. Let’s have a closer look at that in this post.

What’s in a name

ICT jargon is funny. Names come and go, mostly before they ever reach the state of maturity. Some topics and/or names are hot this year and totally taboo the next. Then of course there are silly names that do not properly describe what they actually are, but for some reason are generally used. The various subtopics of intelligence are no exception. You have Business Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence, Marketing Intelligence, Competitor Intelligence, Enterprise Intelligence, et cetera. In a way they describe what they actually are, but a lot of people do not use them properly anymore. And with properly I suppose I mean that they lost the original meaning somewhere along the path. Business Intelligence for example is now commonly seen as a reporting solution for management information, accompanied by a datawarehouse. But is that really what it is about?

Welcome

What kind of host would I be not to welcome you to this blog. So, welcome to this blog! Before I further introduce myself, I would like to explain the subtitle. Because one might get the wrong idea to think ‘doing’ Competitive Intelligence is something you do when things get rough. You might actually consider that, and hopefully it is not too late at that time, but it’s not what I meant. What I did mean is that every company has to cope with it’s environment – competition, customers, legislation, the weather, et cetera – and that environment is bound to be changing rapidly. More often than not more rapidly than we’d like it to change. That is what I mean with stormy weather. And stormy weather is not so bad, once you are well prepared for it.