What IS and IS NOT Analysis – and the five benefits of good analysis.

You can’t be expected to know the entire competitive landscape well enough to correctly call ALL the shots. Within today’s complex, chaotic, and globally competitive environment  – think VUCA world –  the pressing need for sense-making, strategic thinking and improved understanding of the competitive terrain is why you need to develop and enhance your analytical abilities.

Analysis needs to be done well if you want your business to succeed.

And you ask – But isn’t analysis something that my software can do for me? Can’t I just get by and rely on a mixture of collected data, software analysis, intuition, and experience?

My answer is unfortunately a resounding no – and definitely not these days.

Let me briefly explain what I do and do not mean by analysis by referring to the following table.

Table 1 – Identifying Analysis

  What Analysis IS What Analysis is NOT
Methods The practiced application of proven technologies. Constant usage of industry conventions and one-off solutions.
Process A method and set of steps designed to effectively break a situation into its component elements and recompose it in a way that addresses a challenge or question. “We just kind of know what it is, how to do it, and fortunately, have managed to get by so far.”

We hire consultants to do it for us.

Output Actionable insight, intelligence/meaning and implications derived from data and information. Repackaged, re-organized, re-classified data and information. Often a summary of the information at hand. No meaningful conversion.
Data Sources Legal and ethical gathering of relevant data or information driven by the needs defined in the structuring of the analytical question. Seeking and using data or information from illegal sources or by unethical means – often incomplete.
Support Systems Using application-relevant communication, information and management systems to supplement your thinking. A software application or solution you can acquire and apply “off the shelf.”

Magic-bullet solutions.

Timing Provided in advance of any decisions. Rushed to provide support to an answer that has been decided.
Communication Channel Conducted in whatever means the decision maker can best accept and use it. Done via “formal” reports with a specific format.

Always in writing.

Questions Answered What?

So What?

Now What?

Just something nice to know – providing no insights.
Catalyst Yours or your bosses discussed need to know something.

The need to better position your organization in its competitive marketplace.

What you think or hope is important to the executive.

The need to demonstrate we are actually doing something.

 

At a minimum, good analysis of your competition, environment, organization and strategy should help you deliver the following:

  1. Early warning of potentially developing opportunities or emerging threats in your competitive environment.
  2. An objective and arms-length assessment of your organization’s relative competitive position.
  3. The ability to help your organization to more quickly and easily adapt to changes in the environment
  4. The means for basing your organization’s strategic, marketing, sales or product plans on relevant and timely intelligence.
  5. Confidence that decisions are based on systematically derived understandings that reduce ambiguity and complexity to low levels.

Does your analysis deliver the above?

The driving purpose of performing analysis is to better understand your industry, the context of your business, and your competitors so that you can make better decisions.  Improving the quality of decision-making should hopefully improve the quality of the strategies that you implement – providing you with a competitive advantage – and superior performance results.

If you would like to find out how you can develop your competitive intelligence capabilities – or those within your organisation – contact Babette Bensoussan for a confidential conversation. 

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