Common Mistakes in Competitive Corporate Intelligence
Because open source information is readily available, there is a presumption that what is gathered is complete and therefore sufficient. That is, however, most often not the case. Even beyond the vast sea of data on the Internet, there are many critical sources that are frequently overlooked. For instance, interviews from primary sources – perhaps the most effective information gathering technique – are usually neglected. Financial analysis, which can reveal a wealth of information, is often not considered. Gathering data from sources such as the Internet, on-line news, and business and financial services may peel back one layer of the onion, but without going farther a company has no chance to see and appreciate the whole picture.
As awareness of CI activities spreads through corporate America; it may seem like a good idea to perform some intelligence gathering within the organization. Believing one person can be a fully actualized CI department is self-defeating. The CI function is a process that requires gathering the right information, analyzing what is relevant and presenting it in a way that allows it to be used effectively. It is a rare individual who can analyze patent information, financial reports or read between the lines when scrutinizing new board selections. And typically, an insider who is eliciting information from a competitor is compromised solely based on his job title and employer.
No infrastructure to support the gathered information / Stale information
Once information is gathered and analyzed it needs to get to where the information is needed and in the manner that is useful to the audience. Tactical intelligence often needs to get to the front lines of the sales force. Strategic intelligence must get to the boardroom today, so that decisions can be made while the news is current. If CI is not used in time it quickly grows stale.
Poorly defined objectives
Companies often randomly collect information, bypassing critical steps necessary to obtain actionable intelligence. It is important to define key intelligence topics which provide the structure and criteria for information gathering and analysis. Without good methodology the end result is usually disappointing.
Information gathering mistakes made by other companies are good to analyze in order to build better CI processes. A better process translates into improved current and actionable information. This results in a positive impact on strategic and tactical decision-making.
At Slinde Nelson we want our clients to be successful. Our competitive intelligence services will help you better understand market trends, evaluate your potential customers and give your sales personnel a leg up on the competition.