Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries
I hope the future is more of the optimistic one we've always hoped for the field than the present one in which so much hope remains unfulfilled. To start this off, I think a desirable future would have these five characteristics (note: there are many, many more we can and should add, but time and a desire to be succinct for discussion will limit me here):
1. CI recongized as a vital management discipline/function in most boardrooms, Business Schools,among other places.
2. A developed, global, growing, challenged, and ever-greening body of CI knowledge.
3. CI practices which unambiguously add value to society and are recognized for generating not only private but also public benefits.
4. CI practitioners that are viewed as true professionals, much like medical doctors and engineers are viewed today.
5. No more questions about what are and are not ethical practices. No more need to discuss ethics in CI because there is general agreement as to what is acceptable and what is not.
I agree. I think CI professionals should come together in their areas, form a chapter, share ideas and knowledge (regardless of their industries) to help this profession grow.
In addition, I would say that, beside a more 'foresightful' approach (and all the remaining aspects mentioned by Craig), perhaps not in 10 but in 20 years from now, we are going to force ourselves to move into a more Cooperative approach than a Competitive approach of CI (competitive in terms of 'sneaking' what competitors are doing...).
I would dare to think/imagine that Competitive/Strategic Intelligence will be 'forced' to reflect the need and gradual awareness that we only will be able to survive in this Planet, if we address diferences and gaps of all kind if we look for 'battlegrounds' where we can share what we know and because of that we'll be able to discover 'intelligence insights' for cooperation in order to solve problems in organizations, countries and people's lives. Something like a Global/Glocal Interconnected Intelligence.
I'm just hearing someone saying 'what a naif approach...'. But I truly believe that one day we'll be forced (and repeat, at least forced) to see things that way.
I think that CI will be more popular in the future thanks to the on-line Intelligence applications that are growing day by day (e-reputation is just an example). Under this condition companies will recognize that there is also the traditional type of intelligence (the off-line) which we all know.
Very good point Alessandro. The internet has developed to be an increasingly useful tool and has 'shrunk' our world.
I do believe that a basic CI unit structure should be agreed upon as well as a basic methodology amongst CI professionals. I would like to highlight some very good books that could be used as reference:
1- Business and Competitive Analysis Methods - Fleisher & Bensoussan
2 - Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach - Robert M. Clark
3 - Competitive Intelligence Advantage - Seena Sharp
All these books are consistent in their views. One point I would like to highlight is that companies that do know about CI (or at least think they do), are asking for MBAs or other under graduate qualifications. This is a disadvantage to those such as myself, who have tried and tested experience relating to intelligence but do not hold those credentials. It is also to my understanding that academic institutions do not have a solid course plan to teach CI and analysis. Therefore, I find it a bit irrelevant to ask for such credentials. Actually, it may be even a bit detrimental as some of those who have these credentials may be unsuitable for the job and, in turn, employers will have less faith in the profession and rub it off as an unnecessary luxury.
My two cents