Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The boundaries of competitive Intelligence - who needs it? define it?

Most people don't seem to think they need CI. Doesn't matter if they are small or large. Sometimes they are right, but at least as often not. At least that is my experience and why P&G kept me employed doing this for 20+ years. I'd consider that a successful experience for a number of reasons (you can read my profile on Linkedin). It's interesting that when I left there were 10+ other FTE's claiming to own and do competitive intelligence. I didn't know most of them thought they were doing that.

Words are a funny and imprecise thing. Turned out there were a lot of people with their own definitions: market intel, competitive intel, bus intel, technical intel, and probably permutations and combinations beyond that. Probably best to call it external intelligence. In my world practitioners (or claimed ones) included scientists, IT experts, library types, financial analysts, market researchers, marketing folks, PR agencies, etc. Perhaps you have reached success when everyone across your work community is doing it.

In the end I'd say it doesn't matter what you call it or name it. It's about looking at the strategy and tactics across key SBUs and key functions, seeing what assumptions have been made about all the external environments and challenging those to be more robust, more data driven, more insightful and more foresightful - in ways that lead to action and keep 'em coming back for more.

Once the strategy is nailed (in someone's mind, on a piece of paper) and deployed to that organization (for profit, not for profit), and you start "doing it", I invariably find that there are ever shifting holes, blind spots (u don't know what u don't know), and assumption changes.

I call those key intelligence topics (KITS) and you have to work hard with key leaders to select only a few of those to work on...the 80 for the 20. There are always fire drills that take you away from the top 80% of work represented by the 20% of most important issues.

Isn't it funny how specific organizations are assigned to knowing the consumer (market research, product management generally) and also to understand the customer (bus development, sales). But everyone owns the competition. That can and should work well if harnessed appropriately. But, there needs to be a collection point, a node, an external intel integrator who proactively collects internal and external SME knowledge about that external environment and configures it to move the decision process in a strategic direction.

I'd be happy to audit your environment and show you where the gaps are and how to start to fill them both with what you know already and aren't integrating or by finding the missing pieces form the internal environment...and, then transitioning this back to you/yours so you are stronger going forward. You can easily do this.

Stan R. Dyck

No comments:

Post a Comment