Competitive Intelligence

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

I am new to the private sector CI world after transitioning from active duty military intelligence as an interrogator.  For those of you that have been in the business a while, what guidance can you throw my way?  I am currently working with an intelligence company as a freelance contractor, but I would love to excel in this ever growing field.  Any insight you can give me as far as certifications, reading material, association memberships, etc would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance!


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I work as a Sector Level manager of Competitive Intelligence in the Defense Industry.  Your skills are very much relevant.  While the job market is tough we still go external for support.  We like to find people with your skills to use for special cases like attending trade shows and collecting intelligence as one example.  I would contact the major A&D companies find out who is doing their external contracting and give them your resume.  You are probably more interested in full time work, but I think once you prove yourself in primary intelligence gathering you will quickly be offered opportunities.  I would recommend joining several  networks, much like this one, to make contacts.  You will find the Special Libraries Association has a CI group that is very active in membership contact and you are allowed to pull down the membership roster.  SCIP is another one, however, membership is pretty much controlled (meaning they own the membership roster), but they do have some LinkedIn groups.  Join LinkedIn, join the CI groups and Position to WIn Groups, get to know people. Decide what industry you want to go into (I assume A&D) and join some of those groups and ask questions, meet people.   If you have local associations like AFCEA, AUSA, NDA and Women in Defense, go to the luncheons and network.  On the training side, I find that the Academy of Competitive Intelligece (ACI) certification 1 and 2 very helpful in understanding the business environment. They are expensive but worthwhile.  If you don't want to go that route, I recommend these: "Competitive Intelligence Advantage: by Seena Sharp, "Understanding Michael Porter" byt Joan Magretta, "Analysis without Paralysis" by Babette Bensousson and Criag Fleisher,  "The New Competitive Intelligence" (out of print but easily found on Amazon) by Leonard Fuld.  There are others but thoes are good to get into the Business Mind Set.  Hope that helps

Thank you so much Richard! Your insight is just what I needed! I am signing up for an SLA membership, would you like me to put you down as the person who referred me?


I can guarantee that you already know more about intelligence then 99% of the SLA membership - and umm...they aren't the best people to learn business/competitive strategy & analysis from. 

Unless you yourself are a librarian, just follow a couple blogs and read through Online Searcher magazine to stay on top of database sources. You should be able to access that publication through the online resources available at most public libraries.

Beware that “CI certification” does not hold the stature like other professional certifications do. If someone tells you differently, they are trying to sell you something. Certification is not worth going into personal debt for – and you should not expect the promise of a job upon completion, or the hope that it will help you in keep an existing job.

I don't think the CI field is growing - companies do not have dedicated CI functions or even positions like they used to.  Secondary and low-level primary research is outsourced to Asia - heck Fuld & Co is now a fully owned subsidiary of some Filipino body-shop.

If I myself knew Russian near-fluently or more and wanted to be in private sector intelligence, I would rush into the information security and cyber intel field. There is a lot more opportunity there – cyber intel is booming; and your security clearance would be valuable if you still have it.



I recommended SLA not for what you can learn, but for contacts you can make. SLA has plenty of CI professionals, they have a CI group and it is growing. I disagree with Trip about the certifications. I would not recommend going out right now and getting one, but don't just go by my word ask others. That is the idea of networking, get the facts decide for yourself.


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