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Trends in Competitive Intelligence – Adoption of “Analyst as a Service” Offerings

Published: Dec 03, 2018

As Forrester Research says, “You can no longer track everything relevant in your competitive landscape manually – you need smart tools to find the right information amid the noise and develop actionable intelligence.”

So, most firms know they need some kind of automation running to collect data for the intelligence process.  However, even with the most advanced AI software there is still a large need for human analysis.  This is where firms have traditionally made mistakes in the allocation of staff to the intelligence process.  Firms have either ignored the need for analysts to augment and refine information or firms have spent too much money on internal headcount to perform basic low-value tasks.

But this is changing.   Many firms are solving these problems by shifting to Analyst-as-a-Service (AaaS) subscriptions. You’ve probably heard of Software-as-a-Service, what is AaaS?

Analyst-as-a-Service (AaaS) subscriptions provide one or more outsourced research analysts to manage all aspects of the data collection, filtering, tagging and high level briefing process.  These are highly specialized analysts but through the outsourcing model don’t cost a lot of money.

What are the advantages of AaaS that are driving this adoption?


Shifts current staff from low value tasks to higher value activities and saves money

Many clients have reported saving 40 to 80 hours a month or more by offloading all of the basic collection, filtering for relevancy and briefing tasks to an AaaS solution.  With this newly found free time they are able to increase their focus on higher-value activities that have a much bigger impact on company success.

Also, there is less need to hire additional staff to perform low value tasks and if staff leave there is much less risk of the process grinding to a halt.

And if you have a decentralized approach in which multiple departments are doing their own collection AaaS can provide huge cost savings.  Take for example, product team personnel who easily average over $100,000 a year in compensation.  If you are tasking them with the manual cleaning of newsfeeds, going to competitor websites, searching google, and digging for competitor presentations, you are wasting a bunch of money that AaaS can recover.


Provides deeper coverage than just software automation

If you are relying on your software platform to deliver you the deepest most actionable intelligence without analyst research, you are missing out.    Software can’t consistently gather and discern the “gold nuggets” from the chaff in the huge corpus of online big data.  

With an AaaS solution, your assigned analyst is an expert in knowing where to go and how to identify “gold nuggets” such as:

  • Competitor pricing, RFPs and contract awards
  • Relevant patent filings and R&D plans
  • Negative staff, financial, and product reviews
  • Competitor sales decks and training materials
  • Acquisition rumors and private company financials
  • Product roadmaps and solution presentations
  • Key industry research and trending innovation


Ensures information is relevant, categorized and tagged for ad hoc analysis and customized briefings

Most of the world’s information resides in an unstructured format which is difficult for even the smartest software to make sense of.  Hence, software-only approaches often deliver irrelevant and poorly tagged information that hampers adoption.

With an AaaS offering, your assigned analyst will have interviewed you to understand your precise requirements and set up the collection platform customized specifically for your needs.  On a daily basis your analyst will:

  • Filter out any irrelevant, duplicate or unreliable information
  • Ensure companies, topics and tags are accurate
  • Validate that content from large companies is focused on the proper product areas
  • Categorize and transform items into what they mean for easy consumption

Since AaaS provides precise categorization and tagging of all content, it allows internal teams to run fast and powerful ad hoc analysis.  Some examples are:

  • Show me Pricing and Sales presentations from Competitor B related to Product X published in the last 90 days.
  • Show me thought leadership content covering Innovation Topics mentioning Competitor A or C related to our product keywords over the past 3 months.

    In addition, with accurate categorization and tagging, end users can receive automatic email briefings on precisely what they care about.  This personalization drives high user adoption while reducing the burden on internal teams to manually deliver diverse briefings. 

    Examples of personalized briefings include:

  • Product team receives:
    • New product introductions
    • Competitor product roadmaps/plans
    • Negative product reviews
    • Innovation and customer trends
  • Sales team receives:
    • Competitor Pricing
    • Contract Awards / Sales Wins
    • Competitor Sales Presentations
  • Executive team receives
    • Merger / Acquisition Rumors
    • Analyst presentations
    • Financial reports
    • New relationships

 

The AaaS model provides an extremely efficient use of your internal resources and allows you to get back to what you do best while the outsourced team handles the time consuming and difficult intelligence gathering process.

It’s a trend worth exploring.

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