Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

What other types of new technology, especially "web 2.0" tools, do you find valuable? I'm thinking of tools like technorati, and Linkedin and custom RSS feeds. I suppose you could include the whole pantheon of Google apps in there as well. You might also include high end tools like what Anderson Analytics offers.

I'm interested in hearing how other people have adapted some of these great gadgets for CI purposes.

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I work at the corporate level for a 5-company group, and have been working to find smart, low cost/free CI solutions that will allow us to both collect and share information globally (and easily!) within and among firms. One tool that has proven useful is Diigo - they have been slowly but surely increasing their functionality over the last 18 months or so and it's proving to be a handy way to build a corporate infobase on topics of interest. It's still a bit tough to extract and publish collections of information without a lot of post processing, however. Has any one else used Diigo and if so, how do you find that it compares with alternatives?
I encourage my clients to implement CI dedicated tools, especiaaly those that have been developed in Israel. They are very powerful not only in gathering but also in analysis which is relateviely weak with other tools. They are actuaaly "one stop shop" that are supplying with the full Intelligence cycle. I know some other dedicated tools that have been developed in other countries, which are also useful. I see the main problem that CI professionals are not pushing enought to move forward in this sense.
Avner Barnea, Israel
In the organization I work in, we use a proprietary application as a discussion board.
It's a web 2.0 like app, but one that was developed in-house.
In addition, RSS is a great tool.

Yet, I didn't find an analytic tool that could support all the information we gather, using humint and secondary resources.
This is a really interesting conversation and one close to my heart (as I work for a software company).

I'm a big fan of Feedreader (an open source RSS reader) that, while being a software client, can be archived and searched offline, unlike Google, Technorati, etc. I tend to suck down a river of information and then sift through it once a week or so to gleam out any nuggets.

I've tentitively given Rivalmap a go also. I love the idea of a central, online place to add information in a way that my users can access and make sense of it. Unfortunately, when push comes to shove, I have to hark back to traditional tools such as PowerPoint and Excel to get my message across in a flexible manner (by flexible I mean for someone to have the ability to copy, paste and take credit for my work *joke*).

I have begin leveraging RSS a lot more an an outgoing tool to get information and updates into the hands of many. I've been doing this primariliy through SharePoint (disclaimer: I work for MSFT), but there are plenty of other solutions out there - Oracle, Websphere, BEA, etc that provide this kind of portal technology. Simple as adding a document to your site and getting the intranet site to pump out an RSS to your constituants to download at thier leasure - or to spur them into action.

I love wikis for the simplicity and effectiveness of getting several people contributing - but this comes down to people contributing. If you're working in CI as a sales adjunct, you know the sales reps (unless it's a very long, complex sales cycle) will not be going in and updating the wiki - they'll be chasing deals. I would really like someone here to prove me wrong :)
As you see from my previous comment - I'm looking at the second layer - above the gathering process. This is were expert tools are coming in and giving an added value in the analysis process. I'm trying to implement these tools, but many time CI professionals are not ready yet for them. They have to be more open about it in order to update their contribution the their firm. To me this the major challenge of CI professionals.
Yes, the good old sales-rep intel problem. We looked at that with Sony Ericsson ten years ago (research project) when Intranet was still something new. sales people were not paid to enter intel, but to make sales. but they often knew more about customers and competitors than most other staff because they were out there. (managers ofte just know airports and hotels, what they see, so nothing to get there). so we invented an incentive program. sales people could choose between adding intel or making a sale. if they did the sale there was no time for the intel. the key was to make a continous, regular system for evaluating intel by sales people. all intel was classified as either nice to know or need to know. need to know was classified on a scale of 10, each with a specific remuneration attached. employees soon learned what intel was more worth than spending time on sales.

Now the intel models used in Nokia still turned out to be superior, but of another reason. In Sony Ericsson they still used the departemental model of intel gathering (designating specific departments and functions). at Nokia they used the omnipresent model of intel gathering, where everyone was encouraged to share info with everybody else. of course, the remuneration solution does not exclude the omnipresent model.

The models are presented in

Now also available in chinese:

I have been using Twitter to "follow" blogging Illuminati as well as breaking news, finding out what people at competitor companies are saying. It's a microblogging tool that allows only 140 characters or less and I recommend Twhirl, a Twitter client based on Adobe AIR technology.You may follow me at infosourcer.
It sounds interesting. yet, is there a significant added value that a competitive analyst could benefit from this information?
I would appreciate it if you'd share some insights with us.
I'm on Twitter as well (@8of12). I use something called Tweet Scan that searches all of the traffic on Twitter for keywords. Right now I'm just tracking discussions of my own company and will likely extend into tracking competitors soon.

I'm also following a competitor that is being recognized for conducting a level of customer service via Twitter. I am following them to get an idea of what is going on in their world. This is just like following a competitor's blog to gain insights.

At SCIP08 Suki Fuller and I shared tidbits on conference sessions, so it was a little like being able to be in multiple places at once. This can be valuable in any trade show setting as a mechanism for trade show intelligence coordination. Set up new Twitter accounts, make the updates private and connect everyone on the trade show team so that they can provide updates to the entire team in real-time. The record of the tweets would be a first pass and basis for a more formal debriefing.
AH yes- Summize and Tweetscan - I forgot to mention- excellent tools for tracking who said what and where- Tweetscan e-mails you search agent results. Very handy. One comment on there was from a competitor company- person stated he wanted a change in jobs.Instead of "following" him and hoping that he would "follow" me back (only way to be able to direct message folks), I went to his LinkedIn profile and InMailed him about an opportunity. He responded and was impressed with the power of Twitter!
Hello Suzy,
I know Twitter - the preoblem is it is very limited. It was not developed to the usues you are indicating.There are better similar tools that follow changes in the competitors websites.
The Twitter ancillary tools are great. Yet given Twitter's recent hiccuping fits and scalability issues, it make me wonder how viable Twitter will be in the future as a CI tool.


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