In the digital age, information is no longer a scarce commodity—insight still is.
In 2018, human beings produced roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data each and every day. There is more information available to the average person (or business) today than at any other point in history, and that pile of data is set to grow exponentially in the coming years. Most businesses aren’t worried about a lack of information, they’re worried about missing valuable intelligence in a never-ending flood of irrelevant data.
Still, many companies treat competitive intelligence (CI) as a reactionary activity. Businesses employ competitive research to expand on the already known. A major news story like a merger or a CEO’s departure might trigger a round of CI gathering, but they lack an ongoing CI process. On the surface, this strategy might seem reasonable-- major news doesn’t happen every day, so why waste the time? With so much information available, it’s impossible to catch everything anyway. But this approach completely overlooks the value of CI as a predictive tool.
An effective intelligence gathering process does more than provide commentary on current events, it gives businesses a way to forecast when and why those events might occur. By tracking your competitors’ behavior over time, you can begin to spot patterns and trends that signal impending changes. Data that appears useless on the surface can, in the right context, provide meaningful insight into how a company acts, reacts, and strategizes.
Unfortunately, it’s easy for CI tasks to be pushed aside when there are more pressing day-to-day issues at hand. An irregular CI gathering process leads to incomplete data, missed indicators, and a lack of nuance in terms of understanding your competitors. To avoid low-value CI results, make CI a routine priority. CI-related tasks should be performed along with other daily activities by a designated employee or team. Additionally, regular audits of your CI process and its results will ensure that CI stays a top priority, and it will help catch holes or flaws in the system before information gets missed.
Alternatively, companies can outsource CI research to an analyst service. A trained analyst who understands your business goals can provide much of the same level of insight and industry-specific knowledge that an in-house analyst provides, often at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, many analyst services utilize sophisticated tools to collect and sort information, offering a broader, more detailed picture of your industry space.
For more info on an analyst as a service offerings, contact CI Radar today to set up a free demonstration.