Competitive Intelligence

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

Varsha Chitale's Blog (40)

Are you harming your company by giving your boss (only) what he wants?

Examples of competitive intelligence failures and blind spots are cited to emphasize the importance and value of CI to an organization. A recent one is the failure of Blockbuster to see opportunity to take its business online – a blunder that cost it its very existence. In India one of the oft quoted example is that of  HLL and Nirma in the 1980s. There are, of course,  many others…

These companies did not have incompetent senior management. They were large companies with deep…


Added by Varsha Chitale on March 30, 2012 at 5:13am — No Comments

Competitive intelligence and confirmatory intelligence

I understand that competitive intelligence is important. But why are competitive intelligence needs always urgent?  Most companies that approach us for intelligence want it in a tearing hurry.

That some kinds of tactical intelligence is often required immediately is understandable. Strategic intelligence, on the other hand is associated with long term decisions.....

Read more...…


Added by Varsha Chitale on March 23, 2012 at 4:13am — 2 Comments

Value-for-money comparison of research techniques

When you need research to answer a particular problem, how do you decide whether you will use secondary or primary research? Or, what the mix of the two will be? Do you decide  on the basis of the budget you have available? Do you decide based on what your team is good at? Do you decide on the basis of the time available to you?

To ensure you get value for money (VFM) on your research, you want high quality research, with a fast turnaround time (because time is money) and at…


Added by Varsha Chitale on March 20, 2012 at 12:10pm — No Comments

Tracking disposable income – Competitive Intelligence for driving sales

Disposable income is a key growth driver for several industries in India such as consumer durables, automobiles, tourism, education, real estate, telecom, entertainment, BFSI and so on.

These industries are interested to know where the disposable income resides by geography, occupation, age, income group and so on, so that they are better able to target their products, sales efforts and marketing campaigns.…


Added by Varsha Chitale on February 3, 2012 at 2:30am — No Comments

The future is already here - can you read the signals?

“Can you do research and tell me what my key intelligence topic should be?” was a request from a market intelligence analyst to us recently. What he was actually saying, is that he needs pointers on what trends or developments will be relevant to his company going forward, so that he can focus on them and prepare for them now. He wants to identify relevant “weak signals”.

All new trends/ patterns/ macro changes in  technologies, society, economy, etc. start with small shifts in…


Added by Varsha Chitale on January 24, 2012 at 6:56am — No Comments

CI in 2012 - When the going gets tough, the tough get going

This is the season for forecasting – looking at what the new year might bring… Not to be left behind, here are my two bits on what 2012 will bring for competitive intelligence practitioners in India.


Added by Varsha Chitale on December 30, 2011 at 12:47am — No Comments

Diagnosis for strategy formulation

Treating a patient for the wrong ailment will not make the patient better, but may actually harm him. This is as true for an organization as for the human body.

Strategy formulation (and planning) is undertaken at least one a year in most organizations; and more often than that in some organizations.  Strategies are devised for navigating obstacles and challenges to reach the desired business objectives/ goals. However, if the key obstacles and challenges are wrongly identified, how…


Added by Varsha Chitale on December 29, 2011 at 3:42am — No Comments

Talking to Strangers – for competitive intelligence

Have you talked to a stranger today? Yes, I know what Little Red Riding Hood’s mother said, but if you are a competitive intelligence analyst, you are not doing a good job if you haven’t!

Competitive intelligence is all about gaining competitive advantage (for your organization). For doing this, you have to be doing something different from what your competitors are doing.…


Added by Varsha Chitale on December 16, 2011 at 2:17am — No Comments

Education and careers in competitive intelligence in India

On the SCIP linkedin group I recently came across a survey to identify the education and career moves that can lead a person into the competitive intelligence discipline.  It was most interesting to note that many of the competitive intelligence practitioners, even in countries more “CI mature” than India, got into their role by accident!

Competitive intelligence in India is a very new discipline. There are few educational courses that lead to a career in CI.…


Added by Varsha Chitale on November 14, 2011 at 5:00am — 2 Comments

Drivers of competitive intelligence in India

While the practice of competitive intelligence is as old as competition and private enterprise itself, it has emerged as a systematic discipline and a profession in the developed economies only in the last 30 years or so. In India its practice is relatively new, but expected to grow very rapidly.


There are several reasons that come to my mind, why competitive intelligence is gaining appeal in corporate India.…


Added by Varsha Chitale on October 28, 2011 at 3:20am — No Comments

Finding needles in a haystack… CI and information explosion

The information explosion has played havoc with people’s schedules. One estimate puts the annual economic loss due to information overload at $900 billion (globally).

While drowning in information, they are starved of usable knowledge. If organizations miss market signals, they risk being outwitted by their competitors. However, it is impossible (and inefficient) for them to sift through every nugget of information out there.

How can people and organizations manage the enormous…


Added by Varsha Chitale on October 18, 2011 at 6:36am — 2 Comments

Competitive intelligence for industrial policy

India’s proposed National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) has ambitious objectives of creating employment for  100 million people and taking the share of manufacturing in India from the current 16% to 25% by 2022.

Competitive intelligence is critical for achieving this objective! Several successful economies such as South Korea, China, Taiwan and Brazil have used competitive intelligence for achieving their economic objectives. Hopefully the Indian implementers who will deal with the “how…


Added by Varsha Chitale on September 12, 2011 at 3:38am — No Comments

Global uncertainty and competitive intelligence

Competitive intelligence can be likened to an insurance policy for a company – it helps mitigate risks arising from developments in the external environment by providing timely warnings.


Thanks to heightened global economic uncertainties, the CI  insurance premiums have been rising sharply. Increased risks have also changed the way companies strategise.


What this means for competitive intelligence is that companies will now need to......…


Added by Varsha Chitale on September 7, 2011 at 3:32am — No Comments

The perfect gift

All of us have received gifts at some time or the other – on birthdays perhaps? All gifts are fun to open, but once in a while we have received something that was exactly what we wanted – the perfect gift. And that gift stood above all others – how could the giver possibly have known exactly want we wanted?

Competitive intelligence is that perfect gift!

Read more.....

Added by Varsha Chitale on August 4, 2011 at 8:33am — No Comments

Competitive intelligence in India on a shoestring

How can small businesses in India do competitive intelligence (CI)? I had the opportunity to discuss this with a group of small businesses at the TiE breakfast event in Pune last month.

Small businesses have limited resources at their disposal and need to figure out ways to do CI on small budgets. In…


Added by Varsha Chitale on July 25, 2011 at 12:44am — No Comments

Flexible ethics

Most companies want to be and claim to be on the right side of the fine line that demarcates ethical CI from low life espionage. Only, different people and companies draw lines at different places.

Let’s first distinguish between personal and corporate ethical lines. My friend works with the competition. Is it OK if he talks to me about his company when he has had a beer too many, and I share that information internally in my organisation? This lies in the personal space – am I…


Added by Varsha Chitale on December 30, 2010 at 4:18am — No Comments

Social media for CI?

The social media revolution has changed the way we interact with each other. Platforms such as Facebook, Orkut, Linkedin, blogs, forums, online communities, message boards, etc. have become mediums for everyone across the globe to exchange thoughts, ideas and opinions. The power of such a large number of people communicating and collaborating with virtually no barriers is unimaginable.

Among other things, customers are extremely vocal about their likes, dislikes, needs, wants and… Continue

Added by Varsha Chitale on July 31, 2010 at 2:02am — 1 Comment

Intuition and competitive intelligence

In the real world, it is impossible to have perfect information on the competitive environment, although that is what everyone would ideally like to have.

In order to stay ahead of the game, senior managers are required to take fast decisions. They do the best they can based on whatever inputs they have available to them at the time. They augment the CI available to them with their own intuition and gut feel.…


Added by Varsha Chitale on June 26, 2010 at 12:00am — No Comments

Actionable analysis in an imperfect environment: A guide to CI in India

Actionable analysis in an imperfect environment:

A guide to CI in India

- published in SCIP’s Competitive Intelligence Magazine, March 2010…


Added by Varsha Chitale on March 8, 2010 at 11:15pm — No Comments

Rural schools in India – private or government?

One of the key inputs required for the Indian economy to continue its growth path is a revamp of its education system so as to make its ample manpower more employable.

I have long held the view that the quality of education that the government provides in India through its municipal schools is significantly inferior to that provided by the private schools. I felt the government should simply give “education coupons” for students to go to…


Added by Varsha Chitale on February 16, 2010 at 11:00pm — No Comments

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