Competitive Intelligence

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

I've been using a lot of mind mapping tools to develop CI knowledge taxonomies lately, and I thought it might be fun to make a taxonomy of CI as a discipline. Attached here is my first, down and very dirty first pass, one that took all of 15 minutes, so don't expect to be blown away by my penetrating insight :)

The public URL for this is: with the oh-so-secure password being, "editme." Feel free to mash/mix this if you like. Personally, I think it would go well with a deep dub remix of Chaka Khan's, "I Feel for You."

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Excellent visual representation. I might shift some of the nodes around a little, but that's just nitpicky stuff. A very good way for presenting "INTRO TO CI" or executive overview stuff.

It also confirms my own view of CI as a very broad field that incorporates a bunch of uses that have little to do with competition as such. For example, evaluating potential partners, screening vendors, qualifying customer leads, job searching, recruiting... almost anything that involves some due diligence can benefit from the use of the CI skillset.

That's part of the reason it is frustrating to be stuck with the nomenclature we have. Business Intelligence would be a much better descriptor, but that term is coopted by the Data Warehouse/Data mining/CRM/report writing crowd.
I agree pretty much, Mark. It is a nice representation, and broad it is also.
Having come from, first, military intelligence and, secondly, corporate marketing (which also encompassed many disciplines) I find the term Competitive Intelligence, is somewhat misleading. In my company we use the acronym RARE (research, analysis, response and evaluation), our version of the OODA theory decision cycle. That can be applied to virtually anything but is particularly effective in knowing your enemy or competition. Too often we are viewed as a PMC rather than a business consultancy. Thus, we use competitive intelligence as a more definitive term.
As usual my friend, you've done it again! Bravo!

Do you know, is there a Flash widget we could export and paste in here for easier collaboration? I'm setting up a Cover-it-Live widget for the site to do events coverage with (as SCIP09 is right around the corner) so thought that mapping app would be an awesome addition to it.

- Arik
Thanks - so here's what I did - rather than mess with the AUTH code to access the MindMeister API and remotely authenticate new users to your map, I went ahead and paste the iframe code into a new PAGE here:

It's a kludge but it'll work for the moment.
Just tried to paste the developer API key and Ning won't let me run scripts - I'll rig up a hack.
That looks pretty cool, thank man!
Thanks for sharing, Kieran.

Would it help to add under SKILLS / Analysis: "Customer Analysis" ?

"Customer Analysis" is a broad term which might need sub-topics like:
. . Company Overview Analysis
. . Lines-of-Business Analysis
. . Management Profiles
. . etc., etc.
That, of course, gets to the whole debate over the boundary (if any) between CI per se and competitive analysis where the entire competitive landscape is in play. I'm figuring out a way to add this and Babette's comments into the map, so thanks :)
Hi Keiran

Love visual displays - pictures really paint a thousand words. With your analysis side, as this is the area I have done a lot of work on with Craig Fleisher, I would like to suggest the following.

As there are over 200 different types of analytical techniques that managers and analysts can use, we broke them into six groups to make the whole listing more manageable. These are:


Rather than listing specific techniques and the map gets too unweldy, you may want to break the analysis down into these suggested categories and then we can create another map using these six categories and break down the suggested techniques into each category. This should help manage the huge list of analytical techniques.

Then under analysis on your chart, other issues can also be addressed such as assumptions, skills, recognition, etc.

Excellent suggestion, Babette. Any chance you'd care to expand a bit on this? I'd love to add these techniques to the map. One of the great things about mindmapping software is you can just collapse levels to cut down on the visual clutter - or expand single topics to create a very granular view.

If you're interested, email me at kieran DOT michael AT gmail DOT com.
I have always had a great attachment to words, and to taxonomies in particular. I like your idea of a 'mind map' covering this topic. To that end I can provide you with a copy of an edited version of my complete three-day basic CI course, which may give you some ideas (simply provide me with an email address). I think Babette's classification of the Analysis branch is great and could usefully be incorporated. My glossary of terms, widely available at many Websites, may also suggest some content - it is heavily cross-referenced.

Vernon Prior


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