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Critical Areas of Interest for Competitive Intelligence Strategists™

Competitive Intelligence (CI) is one of the most critical methodologies we need to fully understand our markets. Traditionally, CI has been conducted by collecting, analyzing, and sharing single pieces of intelligence from a single point in time. With the recent rise of new technologies, competitive intelligence data is readily available across numerous sources of information in real-time. Not only is there more data in every industry, but there is more disruption occurring in every industry. We live in an environment of continuous disruption, which significantly impacts the competitive intelligence information we are collecting about our market. 

The common sources of competitive research need to be enhanced with additional intelligence sources to amplify our existing market knowledge. That’s why there is a new collection of data points that competitive intelligence practitioners need to monitor. Not only are we focused on additional data points, but the role of Competitive Intelligence practitioners is extending into a new type of role: Intelligence Strategists™. An Intelligence Strategist™ actually has insight into the technology ramifications, global, societal, and economic impacts, and effects of supply chain products and services — effects on multiple facets of the industrial process that can ultimately determine the success of the organization. Someone who is an Intelligence Strategist™ needs to be far more knowledgeable in how all of these elements interconnect to impact business growth.

A combination of these insights will provide you with intelligence about your competitors, your market landscape, and with knowledge that extends beyond the traditional collection of competitive intelligence research. The key to developing successful business growth strategies is being able to integrate relevant competitive data points as into an overarching strategy early as possible. As a result, you get data-based execution plans similar to real-world dynamics. 

Let’s take a look at five insight types that are critical areas of interest for Intelligence Strategists™. 

Investment Roadmaps

Businesses are investing in new areas of technology, skill sets, emerging markets, and more. By conducting competitive product analysis to understand usage characteristics, gaps in performance, and expectations, your business will be better positioned to pivot to more applicable areas throughout disruptive circumstances. 

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Additionally, understanding resource requirements and skill sets that are being sourced by your competition will also help determine technology investment direction and consumer sentiment areas. Identifying increased investment in these specific areas of business will allow you to gain insight into potential growth areas for revenue attainment.

Many times, there is organizational behavior that provides signals in company direction, i.e., leaving breadcrumbs on where their product or services offering may be going. Tracking and modeling these inputs can also provide strategic advantage resulting in anticipatory behavior by your organization.

Portfolio Pivoting

How does your portfolio contrast or overlap with your competitors? By integrating this model of thinking around continuous disruptions into your existing competitive intelligence strategy, you’ll be able to know when exactly you need to pivot to keep your business on track and maintain your spot as a market leader. 

If you have a grasp on potential shifts that will impact your industry and, more specifically, your company, you will be able to pivot at the right time. For example, many companies have had to pivot due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies have had to augment their core offerings to better fit the outcomes of the disruption. By gathering market research as well as keeping a pulse on how the events of COVID-19 were unfolding, companies were able to pivot their portfolio offerings to stay afloat during turbulent times. 

Technology Target Areas

Workload analysis and macro trends development will help you better understand where investments are being made, not only for your direct competitors, but for your industry as a whole. Charting an understanding of how these technology and industry applications are being applied as part of the digital transformation can provide you with highlights of where potential areas of wide-spread adoption can occur. Targeting your efforts in developing a business value proposition in these areas, and subsequently tailoring a go-to-market plan around this, can further prepare your organization to get ahead of the demand curve, and realize growth and revenue.

Competitive Positioning

Where do you stack up against your competition? To fully understand your position in your market, you need to monitor yourself alongside your competitors. When thinking about your competitive positioning, take a look at your overall competitive comparison, your competitors' investment areas, partnerships, and identify key industry trends. 

Balance Sheet / Financials 

As a competitive intelligence professional, you might not be looking into your competitors’ financials as often as you should be. You should be looking at financial positioning as well as identifying which competitors might be “treading water” vs. “swimming forward.” Additionally, you should be looking at mergers & acquisitions, investors, and stocks. 

These insights will put you in a unique position to make informative decisions for growth-related outcomes. By conducting this level of research and leveraging competitive, marketing, financial intelligence, etc., you’re becoming an intelligence strategist™ and practicing disruption based intelligence (dxI). To learn more about disruption based intelligence and the role of the Intelligence Strategist™, download a copy of my latest paper, Competitive Intelligence Modeling for Industry Disruption-Based Business Growth: The Rise of the Intelligence Strategist

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Paul Santilli
Paul Santilli is the Worldwide OEM Industry Intelligence & Strategy at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Chairman of the Board of the Directors, Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP).