Business Intelligence and competitive Intelligence
Competitive Intelligence is the ethical gathering and analysis of competitor and market information from open sources. This analysis is used by organizations to make better strategic decisions.
Why is CI important?
Competitive Intelligence offers a real strategic advantage for many businesses. Some of the largest corporate organizations have a dedicated CI department, while smaller businesses often practice CI on an ad hoc basis by informally collecting information from a variety of internal and external sources, such as the Internet, trade shows or conferences, networking meetings or even customers. Competitive Intelligence is of importance to any business that wishes to make better-informed decisions.
How is Competitive Intelligence different from Business Intelligence?
These terms are often confused. Competitive Intelligence, while often involving the analysis of some quantitative measures, generally is more focused on qualitative information than quantitative market research data. It is primarily concerned with the scanning and tracking of market and competitive news and information through open secondary sources and primary interviewing.
Business Intelligence, on the other hand, is the focused gathering, storing and analyzing customer data and in-depth analysis of business statistics, most usually a quantitative exercise. Sometimes Competitive Intelligence is employed to help gain insight or hard-to-find figures for Business Intelligence initiatives, but most often they are related disciplines, both of which help senior management to make more informed decisions.
Is Competitive Intelligence related to Knowledge Management?
Competitive Intelligence is considered to be a "sub-set" of Knowledge Management. The volumes of data CI analysts must utilize means they must have good Knowledge Management systems. Consequently, a Competitive Intelligence Software usually is a derivative of a Knowledge Management system that has been tasked to more specifically address the unique needs of a CI analyst.
How is Competitive Intelligence different from Market Research?
Although Market Research and Competitive Intelligence overlap, Market Research has a tendency to focus on gathering and analyzing consumer centric information, usually through the means of large scale surveys and relying on statistical analysis software such as SPSS or Online Analytical Processing (OLAP). The market research assignments handled by a Competitive Intelligence department are generally more defined business to business data sets, and are usually focused around strategic business topics, such as Market Opportunity or Market Entry Assessments. However, many Market Research departments are also responsible for competitive intelligence, so the two disciplines definitely go hand-in-hand.
Is Competitive Intelligence the same as Corporate Espionage?
No, Competitive Intelligence is the ethical gathering of non-proprietary, open source data through the means of secondary and primary collection techniques.
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