Competitive Intelligence

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

Hi,

Guess I'll start something on a fine Monday morning. I have been on CI projects for about two years now and have never really come across any specific software for CI (barring the exception of one vendor who showed us something which could track news / events on websites and compile a news letter of sorts) and so never really pursued that matter until now.

Are there any other types CI software tools out there or are we talking mainly about the "news letter compilers"!!

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I came across one called Cypher which seemed to deal with newsfeeds, handle market research, and have a heap of features, but the business case to purchase never got off the ground. eGems I have no real experience of, and there are a heap of others that purport to be CI software, but are not - more conversion of sales reports into pretty pictures.

There are systems like Answer Garden (which I understand are good for distributing information for places like Help Desks, where the problems/answers are repetitive.)

I've scoped intranets on occassion, which are good for delivery, but software is a bit of a black hole in the programming sense. If I think of any alternatives I'll let you know.
I actually went through rigor of making a business case for purchasing Cipher--then the time-consuming design, testing, and implementation. Aside from all the bells & whistles it promotes, it served us one purpose--to produce a daily newsletter.

When we re-commissioned company to build add-on module---it became apparent why I was never (nor anyone else) blown away by this tool. If company doesn't understand dynamics and nuances of a particular industry, it won't be able to deliver technology solutions that most directly meet your needs--especially when any customization is required.
Hi Eric,

Agree with you. Our analysts seem to actually prefer the good old "Google Alerts" over anything else.
Thanks Lesley.

Will check out the ones you mentioned.

Are there any tools which can use data from the balance sheet / P&L / other co. data to work out various ratios / calculations and provide all possible CI related insights from which the user based on his knowledge can choose the most apt and extrapolate further to provide his/her analysis. If there is something like that I can definitely convince our management to go for it.
Hello Nimalan:

There are a number of excellent CI software tools available. They vary quite a bit in features and functionality, depending on the focus of the particular tool.

My firm markets an inexpensive web-based product called AttaainCI that provides you with the ability to quickly research CI about individual companies, people and/or markets of interest and to also track sets of these on an on-going basis grouped according to your various lines of business. Real-time CI about these tracked items can be viewed on demand using online dashboards, or via e-mail alerts that the system can send you with the latest developments. In addition to the news/events-type information that you mentioned, AttaainCI also provides intelligence about many other areas such as company profiles, hiring activities, patents, articles/documents, SEC filings, social media mentions, plus a wealth of web-marketing data such as website traffic trends, on-line advertising spending details, on-line collateral, link relationships, keyword usage, search rankings, and much more... you can see more details at www.attaain.com.

Best Regards,
Daryl Scott
Attaain, Inc.
Fuld has a software report that covers many of the programs that people apply to CI. It's available through their website
here.
Thanks Daryl. Looks interesting. Could definitely help for our competitive scanning projects. Let me run it through a few of my colleagues and let me also look at it in depth and get back to you with my questions.

Thanks Bonnie for the link. Will check them out too.
Hi
There are several providers of software for competititve intelligence that do more than compiling news, such as Comintell (www.comintell.com), Astragy (www.astagy.com), Traction and Digimind.

For more have a look at http://www.bidigital.com/ci/Software/ for a listing of different CI software companies.

They each have different focus areas depending on what you are looking for so you need to define your needs early. Good luck in your search!
Thanks Jesper,

Thats loads of stuff there. Spent the good part of my working day going through them.

Great stuff. Thanks so much
Nimalan,


I am actually quite deep in this arena having just worked for a start-up that is trying to commercialize SW for government intelligence applications -ie, hostile intent detection, outlier detection, pattern and emerging pattern recognition, HUMINT classification, mining OSINT, automatic sentiment classification, etc. The startup may also decide to take the IP into the commercial sphere where it might compete with existing BI toolkits (which really only handle structured data in RDBs and not unstructured data), and CI SW.

So, stepping back to commercial CI SW, I have recently reviewed the well known packages out there relative to what I mention above and my conclusions are the following:

1) The vast majority of SW out there marketed toward CI pros is geared toward simply assimilating data, visualizing the data and enabling a a degree of analyst collaboration. Some of the SW packages have clustering and NLP capability- but none of the offerings have the capabilities of the SW I was working on referenced in paragraph one -ie real analytics, demographic profiling, etc.

2) We are starting to see the emergence of what are being referred to as "Listening platforms"-from Radian 6,Lotame, Crimson Hexagon, etc which for the most part now are geared toward PR/Advertising applications, but they will likely evolve into platforms for primary MR/MI and tactical CI. Basically, they can scan social media for sentiment, tone, they can score it (not particualrly accurately yet-too much still ending up in the neutral bucket-this will change when they hook up with behavioral psychologists and social scientists) to determine what customers and competitors are saying on the web and in social media. I think this will end up being useful for product marketing and future product R/D in the future-ie, what do people like about our product vs those from competitor X, what are certain groups saying about us vs competitor Y, etc without commissioning a primary MR firm. However, in addition to the one flaw I mention above that still needs to be rectified, they also tend to lack a necessary component at present for more broad scale success-demographic profiling- but I think they will get there in time...

Regards,

Monica Nixon
Hi Monica,

This is interesing.. where you take about pattern recognition and related stuff. I would like to see something which will enable me to collate information culled from OSINT and HUMINT sources, look for patterns and kind of provide strategic insights (am not sure if a program can be made to do this). Otherwise I ahve tried out a few of the softwares too and mainly see them as information sharing / collection platforms.

Maybe we shall see the s/w you talk about soon :)

Nimalan
Hi,

It all depends on what you like to acheive, right. If information filtering is what you need then comintel is a great choice, check with you intranet team first though since MS sharepoint more or less can do the same thing. We have chosen the second option (MS) and it works good. Then we added strategy eye to deal with the industy screening, which is much wider. Now, this is the easy part of software, the big bang of the investment really happens when you strat integrating information and data from CI into operations, hence BI. We use Qlikview in much of our strategic planning and for business intelligence (at least controlling and sourcing has made a full implementation) and once you punch in CI figures and mash it up with your own, or vs your own, you win a lot. All of a sudden both strategy, business controll and operations talk the same lingo as CI and you have alignment and creates what CI is all about, agility and smartness.

Take a look at www.qlikview.com

//Marcus

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