Competitive Intelligence

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


Women in CI

A global forum for women in CI to discuss particular issues they face in providing insights to intelligence users.

Members: 68
Latest Activity: Jan 28, 2013

Discussion Forum

Women Edge - Extraction of Information

Started by Vivek Raghuvanshi May 22, 2009. 0 Replies

Women's Leadership Books

Started by Melanie Wing. Last reply by Heather Disher Apr 1, 2009. 5 Replies

Technology help

Started by Babette Bensoussan. Last reply by Ellen Naylor Feb 25, 2009. 3 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by Krysta Davies Foss on July 16, 2009 at 9:55am
Intelligence is a tricky word for a lot of reasons, but I don't think there is a better one for what we do. For the non-CI person, it seems to either imply "espionage" or a kind of lofty "we're smarter than you" concept that I've seen lots of people smirk at... At the same time though, anything else is too soft. How much clout would a "Central Insights Agency" have? Our mandate should be just as much to collect intelligence about the industries and markets we work in as it is for the CIA to watch the countries and political climates they work in. Maybe it's because I come from the political side of things...
Comment by Eliana Benjumeda on July 15, 2009 at 3:51pm
Hi there,

Very interesting topic Babette and Monika. I also have the feeling that something is moving. I am not sure if it is coming from the own evolution of the profession, as Arik is pushing us, or from the market requesting new profiles. Or even from the trends asking for the new terms in business. You know that fashion also gets here.

On the other side, I can give you my experience from a country that is starting to discover CI, which may be or not related with what is happening in the rest of the world. I have noticed that there is some fear to use the word "intelligence". In some projects, companies and institutions have had to erase that word from the title, changing it by others like knowledge, innovation, and so on, because "intelligence" is widely misunderstood. For many people, it brings connotations with militar issues and obscure activities with whom these entities do not will to be related. We still have a lot of work to do regarding intelligence culture. Hopefully our new CI association (ASEPIC) will help in this task.

Furthermore I should say that the concept "insight" has a very difficult translation into Spanish, and it could be almost impossible to use a single word to express that meaning. If anyone knows it, please let me know. I believe that if there were an easy translation for "insight" it would be prefered to "intelligence". Not for me, though.
Comment by Melanie on July 14, 2009 at 2:41pm
My pet peeve at the moment about "intelligence" with respect to job descriptions and job searching is how often it is used with the adjective "business" to mean data mining or data warehousing. That seems to pop up a lot when you search on competitive intelligence. A lot of the jobs on SCIP's website, for example, are not CI but this type of BI.
Comment by Babette Bensoussan on July 13, 2009 at 10:08pm
I have been tracking "competitive intelligence" job descriptions on the net now for a good five years and I have seen the word intelligence become more diffused into numerous job description. There are less "pure" CI jobs out there now. In fact it is no longer surprising to see roles like CFOs, Product Analysts. Account Executives, Business Development Managers, Operations Managers, etc. all requiring some skill or experience to deliver some form of either competitive intelligence or market intelligence. Some jobs ask for insights others for intelligence, with the skills being infused into the role. So titles may not be the issue.

The question I ask is what does it mean in the job? What is it that management is seeking when they put it in that role? I suspect not much!

The sad thing is that I suspect HR has no idea what they are talking about or hiring on! Like someone asking for common sense. The problem is that common sense is not that common - neither is insight or intelligence.
Comment by Ellen Naylor on July 13, 2009 at 9:45pm
I agree. I would hate to see the word intelligence disappear. It also has a positive meaning, intelligence all by itself. And now we have Intelligence 2.0. Arik Johnson gave a great talk about Intelligence 2.0 at the CI divison's breakfast meeting in DC last month. I blogged about it since it was provocative, and his focus appeared to be to get us all thinking outside of our typical CI tools and techniques like Porter's 5 forces to break out of the box and introduce more innovation into intelligence. (the blog)...maybe we'll get Arik to weigh in on this!

Cheers, Ellen
Comment by Seena Sharp on July 13, 2009 at 4:39pm

In my upcoming book on CI, I have a list of more than 20 titles used by CI people, as compiled by Jens Thieme (to indicate the enormous variation in titles.)

Titles or the concepts they embody are fluid, with some working better for a few years, then seemingly outdated or not appropriate (or whatever ;) in other years.

At this time, there is no MUCH better word so I don't see any advantage in considering a word other than intelligence. There will always be confusion as to what it exactly means and the negative association that some of us encounter.
Comment by Bonnie Hohhof on July 13, 2009 at 9:30am
A little off topic, but I've seen "competitive intelligence" increasingly become part of the job description of positing postings for product manager, marketing manager, industry analyst, etc., so if anything "intelligence" is diffusing itself throughout the organization through those job descriptions. The problem with substituting insights for intelligence is that you're still in the place of defining what it means.
Comment by Melanie Wing on July 13, 2009 at 7:45am
Hi Monika,

I agree, I think "insights" is gaining some traction, but here at Whirlpool, we are trying to distinguish between "insights" as consumer research and intelligence as CI. My title today is Director, Environmental and Competitive Intelligence. My previous title was Director, Category Insights, Cooking. In my previous job, I had responsibility for CI and MR, in my current job it is just CI. In my job at Chase, my title was Senior Group Manager, Competitive Intelligence. I have had Intelligence in my job title in almost every position I have held.

The challenge is that as insights gains traction, the distinction gets blurred and the skill set ends up diluted. I have been struggling with helping our leadership to understand that CI is a distinct discipline with unique skills required. There is a philosophical difference between CI as everyone's job and CI as a distinct competency.

Don't know if that helps. Interesting question.

Best Regards,

Comment by Monika Giese on July 13, 2009 at 5:01am
Hi all,
have a topic I could use some help from you ladies!
Planning a project around the 'Changing face of CI'. as a starting point, I have looked at some job titles, past, current and future?
Working hypothesis: the word 'intelligence' is dissapearing entirely, currently replaced by 'insights' (front runner). Personally, I do not think it will help CI to become an acknowledged discipline, but as change is the name of the game...

My questions:
Would you please share with me some of the CI job titles you hold/held ?
Does the word 'intelligence' help or is it rather an obstacle?

Thanks in advance, and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject matter!

Comment by Babette Bensoussan on July 13, 2009 at 12:38am
Hi Ladies

It has been a while since we have had a conversation here and I know we are all running multiple lives. However within these multiple lives, I was wondering how we could help each other within this little group.

Are there any suggestions?

Are there any burning topics for discussion?

They don't necessarily have to just be focused on CI but could also relate to women in business.

Would love to hear your thoughts.


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