Most organizations today are not structured or organized properly to make good decisions that will help them outperform their competition in the marketplace.
The benefits gained by successfully anticipating a competitor’s future plans and strategies are generally self-evident. The consequences of making decisions based on information that is incomplete, inaccurate, or late are as severe.
Today’s managers face an abundance of information in their decision-making contexts, and sometimes this information abundance causes them to be paralyzed. Much information arriving to top managers is biased, distorted, subjective, filtered, and/or late.
Modern Competitive Intelligence (CI) practitioners are stimulated by using their unique set of skills, knowledge, abilities, and instincts to uncover relationships that enable their organizations to compete more effectively. Most CI practice includes a heavy dose of analytical capabilities.
CI can be described as the process by which organizations gather information about competitors and the competitive environment and, ideally, apply it to their planning processes and decision-making in order to improve their enterprise’s performance.
CI links signals, events, perceptions, and data into discernible patterns and trends concerning the business and competitive environment. CI can be simple scanning, such as analyzing a company’s annual report and other public documents, or elaborate, such as performing a fully digitized, multi-day war -gaming exercise.
Decision makers are charged with answering a small number of very powerful questions about their organization, including the following:
- What is our current status or situation?
- What are our options?
- In which direction (-s) do we want to go?
- Which direction can and should we go?
- How can we effectively get to where we have decided we are going?
- How will we know that we have reached our desired goal (-s)?
Answering these questions is the foundation for a competitive intelligence practice.