To be successful today, businesses need to curate, distribute and act on competitive intelligence (CI) as quickly as possible. A critical factor for the long-term success of any CI strategy is how -- and how often – these insights are distributed to key stakeholders within your organization. Of course, getting the right information into the right hands at the right time is always easier said than done.
One of the biggest factors that can prevent effective distribution of intelligence is fragmented data and information storage. If there isn’t a centralized location where intelligence is archived for access by stakeholders, more often than not that information gets buried or lost in email chains and desk drawers. This is a challenge that presents a major threat to businesses in the digital age. This problem is only further compounded by tools and resources that don't work well together.
After working with clients for the past 10 years on curating and distributing key insights, we've identified three common practices that successful companies use to distribute key information to the right people at the right time.
- Develop a Center of Excellence (CoE)
This approach puts CI ownership in the hands of analysts and management teams with many years of experience with corporate, and even government, intelligence strategies. As part of this specialized division, these individuals are the go-to resources for all competitive research and knowledge management. All stakeholders must go through them for all CI analysis and reporting needs.
To create an effective CoE that contributes measurable value to your business, there are several qualifying factors that need to be accounted for from day one. First, you need to make sure that you allocate enough funds to pay a full-time team of analysts and subject matter experts. In addition to making investments in the right people, you also need to set them up with the tools and resources they need to be successful. The last thing you want to do after bringing in experts like these is waste their time with basic or manual research tasks that are unnecessary given the technology available today, and also take valuable time away from critical analysis.
- Give Everyone Access to Intelligence
In response to the overwhelming amount of content available online, some organizations have opted to give stakeholders direct access to intelligence through shared research portals and customized email briefings. This approach has become even more popularized by the fact that it is much more agile than traditional processes, giving key stakeholders access to critical insights without having to go through gate keepers or wait on briefings from busy analysts.
To be successful, it is also important that you invest the time and resources up front to get a tech-driven program like this up and running. As with any new, agile process, you need to put the right people in charge and implement the right technology and outsourced partners to carry the weight of intelligence gathering and distribution. One key to getting this approach right is to give users the ability to create dashboards or custom briefings for competitors and key intelligence topics.
Assign Primary Ownership with Limited Access to Stakeholders
Innovations in digital technology have made it nearly impossible for researchers to do their jobs without help from technology. There's no way for one or two people to effectively sift through all relevant online sources without a high risk of missing key intelligence. One way successful companies have solved this problem is to assign ownership of CI to a few key managers and analysts, while extending limited access to stakeholders through custom curated daily briefings. As mentioned with the other two approaches, it is in your best interest to provide these individuals with all of the right technology and tools they need to work smarter, not harder. Even if you have a team of 3-4 or more working full-time on intelligence gathering and distribution, the right tools are critical to success.
Outsourced services and automated technology represent the biggest benefit of this approach for organizations of all sizes -- from SMBs to enterprise. With this kind of hybrid process, you don't need to build out a team of 20 people to run an effective CI operation. By finding the right people, technology stock and outsourced partners you have a recipe for success. Just make sure that the tools you choose offer agile, custom solutions to best serve your needs and change with you and your market.
The key to success here is to be strategic about where you choose to invest in people and where you invest in technology or outsourced partners. For instance, we work with a variety of organizations to customize affordable solutions that work best for their needs. It's important to do your research on different tools and resources so that your analysts or researchers are fully equipped to deliver the right intel to the right people at the right time.
These are just three of the ways that we’ve seen our clients successfully distribute intelligence to key stakeholders within their organization. Working together with them, we’ve been able to save them time and money by delivering custom curated email briefings for different stakeholders’ needs.
To learn more about how CI Radar empowers organizations to successfully distribute competitive intelligence, visit our email briefings page or request a demo today!