Competitive Intelligence

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

Varsha Chitale's Blog (40)

6 mantras for choosing the right offshore business research partner

There are a large number of companies offering business research services across offshore destinations like India (which is the most favoured one), Malaysia, Philippines and several others. How can you ensure that you select the right offshore research partner?

Do they have relevant expertise and experience?…


Added by Varsha Chitale on November 17, 2014 at 3:56am — No Comments

Is your offshore research partnership in good hands?

It is people who create effective relationships…or destroy them. And this certainly holds true for research offshoring partnerships. No doubt research offshoring relationships need to have robust institutional and process frameworks at their base. You need a comprehensive contract, service level agreements (SLAs), a defined workflow, processes for…


Added by Varsha Chitale on October 20, 2014 at 7:51am — No Comments

Why do companies offshore business research?

Duh! Isn’t it all about cost?

Perhaps… perhaps not. When one talks about off-shoring, the first thought that pops up is cost arbitrage. Indeed, cost arbitrage between developed countries and most offshore destinations is significant. But this is not the only reason, or in some cases it is not even the most important reason for…


Added by Varsha Chitale on September 24, 2014 at 7:59am — No Comments

7 Business Research Off-shoring Myths

Confused about off-shoring business research? There is so much hype among both, the proponents and opponents of off-shoring that it is hard to distinguish fact from fiction.

Here are a few myths I have encountered in the last more-than-a-decade I have been associated with offshore business research.

1. Off-shoring research is a new phenomenon

I mentioned that I have been connected with business research off-shoring for more than a decade and the practice…


Added by Varsha Chitale on September 16, 2014 at 12:16am — No Comments

Would you like to benchmark your market intelligence activities against your peers?

The world is shrinking, but the business environment of an organization is expanding due to globalization on the one hand and convergence in technologies on the other. How are organizations structuring their market intelligence functions to meet this challenge?

ValueNotes is conducting a short survey to understand the current trends in how organizations manage their market intelligence activities.

We will appreciate your participation in this survey, and request 10-15 minutes…


Added by Varsha Chitale on August 7, 2014 at 1:00am — No Comments

Overcoming indecision – using a rating methodology

Recently my friend was looking to move his office. He finally zeroed in on two places and was simply not able to choose between them. Place A was closer to home, but B was larger and had better ambience. But then A was also cheaper and quieter. But B was a longer commute for the other employees. But…. The pros and cons went on. He was tying himself in knots trying to figure out what he should do.

Finally we decided to apply a little…


Added by Varsha Chitale on July 29, 2014 at 1:36am — No Comments

Do you measure customer loyalty?

Customer is King – the raison d'être of every business. It is therefore imperative for all businesses to listen to their customers.

Customer loyalty in particular is of immense value to any company. High customer loyalty indicates that your company is doing a key part of its job right. It also means that you have to try less…


Added by Varsha Chitale on March 6, 2014 at 2:38am — No Comments

Uncovering opportunities in the healthcare sector in India

There are many opportunities for companies selling products and services to the healthcare sector in India. However, creating a go-to-market strategy for tapping these, is a challenge…

The Indian healthcare market is currently estimated at USD 80 billion and is expected to grow to USD 280 billion by 2020. According to the Investment Commission of India,…


Added by Varsha Chitale on February 5, 2014 at 1:03am — No Comments

New legislation will help construction materials companies develop better business strategies in India

One of the biggest challenges for competitive intelligence (CI) analysts in India is the lack of adequate documentation and statistics. Real estate is among the least documented sectors in India. But a new legislation in the pipeline could change this...

Among the many pending legislations, is the draft Real Estate Regulation and Development Bill, 2013, which is aimed at bringing greater transparency and protection of customers’ interests.

The Bill will require all developers…


Added by Varsha Chitale on February 5, 2014 at 1:01am — No Comments

Competitive intelligence for product development

Continuous product innovation is critical for growth and success, particularly when industry growth is flat and competition is intensifying. But innovation also has risks attached to it – the risk that after investing in its development, customers will not warm up to the new product/service.

Competitive intelligence can help organisations reduce the costs and risks...



Added by Varsha Chitale on October 7, 2013 at 4:52am — No Comments

Why a CI framework is not dispensable

In most companies in India, competitive intelligence is not primarily done by CI professionals. Many functions are interested in competitive intelligence. Sales, marketing, strategy, product development, are the common ones. But finance, HR , procurement and others also need it. They all generally gather competitive information as part of their regular functional roles .

The users of the intelligence (and analysis) are heads of these functions, business heads, and of…


Added by Varsha Chitale on August 10, 2012 at 3:09am — No Comments

Lest you topple…

Topple rate is a measure that a McKinsey consultant devised in 2007. It measures the rate at which companies lose their leadership position or switch ranks. The ranking in this context is done on the basis of return on assets (ROA). For example, if the topple rate is 40%, it means that if you an industry leader, there is a 40% chance that you will lose your position to another firm in a given year. The topple rate is also a measure of the ability of a company to sustain its competitive…


Added by Varsha Chitale on August 1, 2012 at 7:45am — No Comments

Tools for effective strategy formulation

Most companies undertake annual strategy planning exercises (STRAP) to lay down the plan for the coming year. They undertake market/business research and competitive intelligence to support their planning.

Some of this research is backward looking – How much did the market grow last year? What did my competitors do? Some research is forward looking – How much is the market likely to grow next year? What plans have my competitors announced? and so on. Excel spreadsheets then used for…


Added by Varsha Chitale on July 24, 2012 at 6:31am — No Comments

Ethics of mystery shopping

Any businessman will tell you that knowing how your competitors sell their wares and at what prices is simply good business practice. But how do you get this information?

Is it Ok to do mystery shopping? As in all other aspects of business, while (most times) there is clarity on what  is legal and what is not, there is a lot of ambiguity on what is ethical and what is not.

My friend owns a clothes boutique. Is it unethical for her to browse around in other boutiques to…


Added by Varsha Chitale on July 13, 2012 at 6:24am — No Comments

Competitive Intelligence: Are you seeking the right answers?

Competitive Intelligence (CI) plays a critical role in formulating an organisation’s business strategy. It can make the difference between winning and losing. However, CI can only live up to this expectation, if it addresses the right questions. Right answers to wrong questions, will be wrong for the organization. What questions should the organization ask in order to win? The answer to this requires clear logical thinking on the part of both, the decision-makers who will use the…


Added by Varsha Chitale on June 28, 2012 at 12:05am — No Comments

Ethics of using social media for CI

I am baffled by the title of a recent press release from Assocham – “Corporate espionage via social media rampant in India Inc.: Survey”. It is misleading.


Added by Varsha Chitale on June 21, 2012 at 7:10am — No Comments

Observations on competitive intelligence budgets in India…

All businesses every where undertake some kind of CI; they cannot survive without it. Even  mom and pop stores do – although very informally. In India, it is mainly the large companies and multinationals that have formal competitive intelligence activities.

How do they decide how much formal CI they should do? Here are some observations..


Added by Varsha Chitale on June 14, 2012 at 3:30am — No Comments

Why politics deserves greater mindshare of CI in India

Politics affects business in very real ways, and this is becoming increasingly apparent in India. In recent weeks, corporations have been screaming hoarse about the impact of poor governance on business. In India governance is related inextricably to politics...

It is the job of competitive intelligence professionals to scrutinize all aspects of the business environment. If politics is a significant part of the environment, then that needs to feature in the analysis too. While CI has…


Added by Varsha Chitale on May 11, 2012 at 4:39am — No Comments

Back to Basics

Competitive intelligence analysts must frequently remind themselves of their final objective. Time and again, I have seen analysts get so involved in the “activity” they do, that they forget why they do it. They optimise the process, perfect the mechanics, plan the logistics and polish the presentation templates. But they forget to stand back and look at the big picture. When they lose the strategy perspective, they miss the opportunity to make that critical value addition which converts…


Added by Varsha Chitale on April 25, 2012 at 8:35am — No Comments

Selling competitive intelligence internally

CI teams cannot be efficient, effective and successful without a buy-in from their co-workers at all levels – senior, middle and junior. CI teams face a dual challenge in terms of getting an internal buy-in within an organization.

First, they need to show a good ROI to the senior management in order to justify their very existence. Unless senior management perceives their value in helping the company meet its business objectives, they will a) not be consulted b) not be respected c)…


Added by Varsha Chitale on April 18, 2012 at 11:46pm — No Comments

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