Competitive Intelligence

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

Assessing an Organization's Competitive Intelligence

In my many discussions with high tech managers, most will recognize the need for effective competitive intelligence. Many will say that CI is poorly or, at best, partially done in their organizations. It is common to hear that product managers, for instance, have THE responsibility to understand the competitive products and show this whenever a new product is being considered.

Viewing this from outside an organization, I have been wondering how to explain a fuller vision for competitive intelligence and then to make it easy for an organization to do a self assessment.

To this end, I have drafted a survey covering 10 areas that I think are important. Do you think that this survey would be effective? What important areas or questions are being omitted?

What tools have you used or are you aware that accomplish a similar purpose? How have those assessments led to concrete actions?

-- Tom Hawes
Strategically Thinking Blog
JTHawes Consulting Website

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1. Problem Recognition
2. Sponsorship
3. Future Orientation
4. Internal Leverage
5. Intelligence Gathering
6. Interpretation
7. Return on Investment
8. Action Bias
9. Strategy Impact
10. Repeatable Process

Tom, I am a prisoner of my Perception. I saw a dissonance between the 10 verticals and definitions. ( With malice towards one and all – just kidding!! ).

I believe your criteria’s are excellent but whether the criteria’s actually belong to the verticals, would actually depend on how we interpret the verticals.

You may like to rethink whether the 10 verticals and the definitions and criterias are aligned.

Crietria’s are excellent, but lets re-look at “Root - Cause Analysis” and “Non – Conformities” we need to address.

Cheers and God Bless
Vivek Raghuvanshi

Thank you for your comments though I confess that I will need some examples to fully understand your meaning. Where specifically do you think that these is misalignment? Or, do you think that everything is misaligned?

-- Tom
Dear Tom,

Your work is great. The criterias are superb.

What I meant was that maybe you may like to re-look at the definitions.

Maybe we just keep the criterias and rather than going in for quantitative analysis, we go in for "Qualitative Analysis" by treating each of these criterias under 10 verticals as "open-end questions".

I would do it that way.

Your work is simply great.

I would use these criterias as "Open End Questions" and go in for Qualitative Analysis which would enable me to provide "Tailor made Solutions" to the Client.

Okay. I think I understand better your comments better now. My intent is to have this be a qualitative analysis since it not supported by academic or scientific research. And, as you recommend, my goal is to get to tailored solutions for the client. The survey is meant to facilitate the discussion and get to solutions faster.

-- Tom
Tom - If you haven't already done so, you may want to take a look at the work done by Prescott and Comai on benchmarking CI functions. See and BR. Martin

Thanks for the links.

Hi Tom,

This reminds me of the process we used at SCIP to pick the best in class companies back about 10 years ago!

Another book that's good for best in class is Competitive Intelligence: A Guide for Your Journey to Best-practice.... It's an APQC publication, less that 100 pages long. I have used this when working with clients to set up a CI process.

All the best,

Ellen Naylor

Thanks. I noticed that Prescott has a Texas Instruments background (as do I).

-- Tom
John is one of the most prolific writers I know in CI, and it's no wonder he has received both the Meritorious and Fellow's awards at SCIP! He's a great guy and also served 2 terms on SCIP's board. Ellen
Dear Tom, very fine work indeed. As an addition for your consideration I have successfully established a global CI system at a 6bil multinational corporation, evaulated it several times from start to several improvement cycles using the CI Matrix of GIA ( and the Prescott/Comai model (at SCIA; the CI group in Switzerland I am a bord emmber of - we just had an event in Zurich covering this process and John Prescott, Alessandro Comai will support our Education Day in September by lending their expertise too, so I can fully support Martin's remark).

A white paper on "World Class Market Intelligence–From Firefighters including the case from my company described above is available for download at GIA's website and I will hold a joint work shop with GIA's Hans Hedin (who is another great reference besides Prescott/Comai - they are all members of this fine comunity here by the way) at SCIP's European Summit Amsterdam in November detailing the matrix used, surveys and results.

I'd be happy to provide more details via email attachments and also to greet you as a workshop participant in Amsterdam then.

Thank you for these useful suggestions. I will look them over. My assumption has been that others have done similar work in the past and you (and others) have confirmed as much. The references that I have been given will be helpful to test the completeness of what I have started and to improve my first attempt.

I would love to come to Amsterdam. My last visit was too many years ago. Perhaps attending the summit will be possible for my schedule and business but it is too early to tell. I would appreciate getting the details just in case it does work out for me.

Thanks again.

-- Tom


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