Competitive Intelligence

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CI practice in an organization - what else can it do?

When budgets are getting cut and CI departments have to justify their existence, there is a need to do more than just projects. Any ideas on what else one can do to sustain the CI practice and show value to the organization. Some of them I have listed down here:
1. CI projects (market CI to various departments and get more projects)
2. Help Sales / Marketing - proactively providing intelligence (this has pros and cons.. any thoughts on how best to get buy-in from Sales/marketing)
3. Train / create awareness of CI (internal training programs, blogs / articles on the intranet....any other thoughts)
4. Develop new methods and processes for CI (may not have immediate returns or visibility)

Any other activities which can be added to this list.

Thank you very much
Nimalan

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Find existing processes that are needed, used and supported by upper management and the strategic direction of the company. Make friends with process owners and decision makers. Find intelligence gaps in the deliverables of those processes and offer to close them. Finally become firm part of those processes.

Just a couple of examples:

- Business planning (strategic, marketing, projects)
- Education (offer analysis and tools where they are part of a training program, combine with CI deliverables)
- Pricing (competitive pricing monitoring, transactional pricing initiatives, equip sales with pricing arguments ammunition)
- Competition profiling (Which decision maker is happy about blindspots? Offer effective tools and templates, examples and solutions to close those gaps.)
- Trade show & conference intelligence support (talk to your marcom guys to become firm part of their show preps processes in offering guidance and training to extract intell from shows)
- Along the same lines: find people who rely on primary research and ofer support and effective processes, tools to help them
- Counter intelligence (shock a couple of security and legal people about shortcomings and ask them to push you in front to fix the issues), link this back to your expertise for CI
- Consolidate purchased intelligence (avoid duplications, improve access, save cost)
- Active intelligence vendor management (harmonize intelligence consumption, eliminate competing data)

Don't forget to promote CI value. Use internal communication vehicles to demonstrate the value add of proven CI deliverables and new tools and services.
As one who views CI as a sub-function of MI as well as a sub-function of Corporate Planning....

Expand into those areas. For example:
1. Analyze Business Customers
2. Analyze Business Partners
3. Analyze Vendors

Each of the above can be in terms of current or potential.
The first two are for increasing sales, the last one for cutting costs.
5. Get a job offer from the competition. It's DEAL time!

Okay, seriously...

5. Collaborative intelligence - use CI techniques to size up prospective partners or strategic alliances.

6. Business development support, as suggested - use exec profiling techniques on key prospects - hobbies, hot buttons, decision styles, communication style preferences. Make the sales rep's job easier.

7. Human resources support - use social media like LinkedIn to help identify key talent acquisition targets - find out who may be ready to move.

8. Lead an in-house wargaming or strat planning session. If things are slow overall, it can be a good time to revisit core assumptions and future scenarios. Make it fun, so it does double duty as a team building exercise.

Cheers.. Rob
Thanks Jens, Alan and Rob..

Really appreciate it.. do keep them coming. Inspired by Ellen Naylor's article on Win / Loss analysis.. I was thinking of something on those lines as well.. Would help the Sales teams.. and management as well..and one can see the results in the short term (phew! isnt that what people want nowadays)

Nimalan

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