Competitive Intelligence

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

What resources and tools do you use to do a company profile

I am working through all my tools,subscriptons and techniques this year to revamp how we do company profiles.  I wanted to see what others use.  I will share if you do!  Here is my tool bag:

  • Factiva
  • Janes
  • Hoovers
  • Dunns and Bradstreet
  • Company Investor information/Company Websites
  • Reference USA
  • Morningstar, Seeking Alpha, Yahoo Finance
  • Primary gathering at shows, industry events, suppliers, etc..
  • Carroll's Pubs (although they should pay be for all the errors I find)

Those are the main staples.  What do you use? 

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I am going to assume there is a distinction between company profiles and competitor profiles for you. I like to structure models so that they can be nested – an analytical system of systems if you will.

Generally speaking, I'll first decompose the target company into three network overlays: physical, organizational, and information.

The physical network is frequently just extracting the companies physical locations – offices, factories, etc – from the their webpage. The organizational layer is the corporate and organizational structure – again from the company webpage, but LinkedIn and other APIs are helpful. The information layer is the target companies presence on the web – this can get very granular if need be – from basic homepages and social media accounts to developing targets for bots and spiders.

All this information decomposed into a network graph of nodes and links for visualization – node properties available by clicking on them. Consolidating the layers builds a decent overview of the company. This overview guides and drives further intelligence collection.

They key here is automation – which I haven't been able to do fully - but by tapping APIs and some basic programming hacks, I can cut the time and effort down considerably. Likewise automated steps can be re-run at future dates to pick up what has changed.

But irregardless of ones computer wizardry, I believing building-out such a model significantly improves collection targeting and the analytic process down the road. Additional network layers and models can be built out from here – and gaps easily identified. The process is conductive to an iterative and recursive intelligence cycle.

The benefit of synthesizing the collected information into a target network model comes at the analysis stage and in developing the finished product – the information is right there in context to derive answers from.

This company profile can be used in developing a competitor profile. Likewise, the target network model fits into my analytical system-of-systems – the company/competitor network model being nested in a nine-forces network model.  But that is beyond the scope of your question, and is something I have been meaning to blog about.


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