Competitive Intelligence

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

New C.I. Programs - determining organization needs and developing the right system

I have recently begun researching and planning the construction of a new C.I. program for a company in the software industry, and I would like some advice on determining their top needs and setting up a system to support those needs.

The program is starting out with the sales organization for sharing stories about successes against competition, but will eventually be scaled to the entire organization. In order to do so, I have been asking team leads, managers, and directors what their teams' and departments' most pressing issues are in regards to external threats, such as competitors, changing market trends, etc. I'm running into the problem where I have so many different needs that I can't find many commonalities, and they are definitely not across the board - I need to out which departments or areas of the business really need C.I. support. This is the first area where I would like some input.

Second, after I have figured out the overall needs for the system, what's the best approach for evaluating software or systems to support those needs. There are many different solutions out there, but how do I figure out what fits with what we want?

Here are the systems I've looked into so far:
- Cipher
- Traction
- Strategy (haven't dug too deep with this one)
- Open source Wiki

Any others I should consider?

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Hi C.I. Joe: There are several very helpful CI applications reviews in the public domain. Ones that come to mind are done by Fuld & Company, another was done a few years ago by Arik Johnson at Aurora WDC, and there have been several articles devoted to this topic in the CI Magazine, JCIM, and other related publications. There is an excellent chapter (it is number 13) in my 2003 book Controversies in Competitive Intelligence (w/ D. Blenkhorn, Praeger) entitled "How can we determine which CI software is best?" written by Paul Nikkel that provides a model for assessing these applications. I would encourage you to look over these and see which ones meet you and your organisation's needs. Good wishes! Dr. Craig S. Fleisher

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