The theme of the 33rd Annual Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) International Conference & Exhibition was Next Generation Intelligence. The conference was a week filled with educational sessions, workshops, and networking among the top market intelligence (MI) and competitive intelligence (CI) professionals. This year was Crayon’s first year participating in the conference, and we gained a lot of valuable insight into the current state of the industry, hot topics, and where CI is heading.
CI is Highly Valuable for All Organizations, Big and Small
In order for an organization to innovate, they need to have a competitive intelligence strategy. No matter the size of your organization, having a CI initiative is key to differentiating yourself from your competitors. Whether your company is a startup in the early stages, or a large, well-known organization, you should be incorporating competitive intelligence into your overall business strategy.
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Not only is it essential to have a strategy when it comes to gathering the intel, but you should also have a plan for adequately disseminating the information across your organization. Commonly, people use CI to gather intel and create tools for sales enablement. However, the benefits of CI expand far beyond just the sales organization. There are benefits for all teams within an organization, to help teams innovate, grow, and gain a competitive edge. The benefits of CI are endless for all organizations, and it's easy to get started with analyzing your competitive landscape.
More Data is Available for CI Than Ever Before
There are millions upon millions of insights out there to be gathered about different companies. There is more valuable information on the internet than just Google and other news sources. With the rise of forums, online media, and social networking sites, new information is being released nearly every second. Because of this rapid release of information at everyone’s fingertips, there is more information to evaluate to pull out the valuable insights. There are many tools and services on the market now to assist CI professionals in automating what has historically been a very manual process. CI professionals are taking advantage of these services, but adopting and understanding the new technologies isn’t always an easy process, as we discovered through our conversations at SCIP. Breaking the data down by category - content, product, hiring, etc., to get a better analysis of the data is a great way to stay on top of your competition.
You Can Use CI To Solve Your Problems - Just Not All at Once
A frequent theme of our conversations was that people want a tool that can solve all of the problems that they run into with a manual CI process. Using software to help with CI efforts is a highly beneficial way to aggregate data and evaluate your market. However, in order to truly derive value from the insights, you need to break the data down into easily digestible pieces and take time to understand what’s happening outside the four walls of your business. Leveraging a CI tool has the potential to solve the problems that CI professionals are most concerned about, but it’s not an overnight process. Taking the data piece by piece and then drawing conclusions will help you solve your problems in a more efficient way and allow you to do more with your intel.
Technology is Leading the Next Generation
These days, everyone wants automation in everything that they do, so it makes sense that buzzwords that were flying around SCIP this year were Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Since there are so many sources available for gathering intel, and it’s not always easy to separate the signal from the noise. The most logical solution is automating the process of collecting, categorizing, and prioritizing CI data. That not only allows CI professionals to gather more information faster than ever before, but it will enable them to spend more time making their findings actionable. Manual processes of aggregating and analyzing data are a thing of the past, and the future of CI is automated intelligence.
Competitive intelligence is relevant and beneficial for every industry. Each industry differs in what they are looking to gain from CI, and each individual use case differs. One thing that remains the same across the board is that CI professionals are looking for services to make their jobs easier - which is where solutions like Crayon come in. We learned a lot about the CI industry at SCIP this year, but our most significant takeaway from the conference is that the future of CI is fueled by the capabilities of machine learning and artificial intelligence.