Develop your competitive intelligence skills

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This is an introduction to competitive intelligence, which includes definition, 5 flavors of competitive intelligence, some analytical tools like SWOT, STEEP, BCG, The Radar Screen, Win Loss Analysis …

This is an introduction to competitive intelligence, which includes definition, 5 flavors of competitive intelligence, some analytical tools like SWOT, STEEP, BCG, The Radar Screen, Win Loss Analysis and cooperative intelligence. Also includes some competitive intelligence books for those beginning in the field.

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  • I don’t mind if you use any of this material as long as your attribute it to me @The Business Intelligence Source.
  • As library professionals, you are the experts in research, also in how to conduct an informational interview. A great springboard to conduct CI. Proprietary to Ellen Naylor, Belinda Nelson, and SSI
  • It is not spying and can be done totally legally, although it isn’t always. It’s good to know what your company’s ethical guidelines are around CI, especially around collection. One company who wanted to hire me wouldn’t allow me to call the competitor directly. I decided not to pursue this opportunity: that is like putting handcuffs on my research, and I couldn’t guarantee that I could get all their answers with out talking to their competitors, while they would not be my only calls. You never know until you get into a project, exactly how it will go, especially when you start talking to people.
  • Notice competitor isn’t most of this chart.
  • 1. And 2 and what you already do as librarians when you take on a research project. What might be different is 3, since you will want to share you findings somehow with those in your company who need to know and not with those who you don’t want to know. 4. You already are masters at collection, but perhaps not primary collection, that is talking to people to get what you are looking for. However, not everyone in CI talks to people. But someone needs to be good at this. 5. Analysis & production – Very impt to process what we learn & explain what we think is important and/or not important in a way that our audience will understand. I think asking about communication is just as important as “why do you want to learn this and what will you use it for and who else cares about this?” 6. Dissemination of what you produce. Think who else, other than who asked for it, can use what you have dug up and analyzed and re-purpose it. Often marketing and sales are interested in the same stuff, but you need to communicate it to them differently.
  • Rungs of stairs. Always start at PubINT, then to Social/blogs, etc, From both you find great people to talk to. Up and down these stairs. Sometimes a person you thought would be a pivotal and reliable source, isn’t so you’re back to the drawing board. Or after you talk to a source, that article you thought was irrelevant, become relevant and you find more sources there to interview.
  • Internal sources great, also Use 3 rd parties to get connected to external sources We have so many sources today to keep our networks up to date electronically that many of us have huge networks. One of my favs is LI for external. For the inner circle, I like to stay in touch via phone calls, if they’re remote and emails/Twitter/LI or our CI Ning. Locally, meetings and phone calls. I also use SKYPE both locally and globally, since I live 40 miles from Denver, so don’t feel like making that drive too often.
  • Here are 5 flavors of CI.
  • They might also ask you to identify the acquisition merger candidates as well as select which one(s) are the best fit. Sometimes no one is. Tell the cementious story depending on time. Sometimes the answer is NO. Exec personality profiling, pretty easy for larger companies. Nice when they are into social media. Sometimes I call chambers of commerce. LI sure can help, but sometimes can be a big time sink.
  • SWOT and Win/loss will go into more later in the presentation.
  • Mention Brad’s book: Keeping Abreast of Science and Technology: Technical Intelligence for Business by Bradford Ashton & Richard Klavans, Also SCIP’s book on CTI.
  • What assets, resources & information should be protected? (e.g., new technologies, patents, new products/services) How can you safeguard what might be penetrated? Part of your competitive intelligence program? What Happens When the Competition Learns Might recruit key people with proprietary info. In “it’s not the BIG that eat the SMALL…it’s the FAST that eat the SLOW…all fast-to-market companies (AOL, Hotmail, H&M, Schwab, Telepizza etc.), have demonstrated their collective ability to keep their mouths shut, while creating and perfecting new products in total secrecy. Operating in Stealth increasing difficult Companies often tout their news to the Press Wall Street and the Equity community’s insatiable thirst People are collecting against you to reduce their time to market Instant communication: the web, email, file attachments, social networks, blogs, txt msg
  • Collaborative effort, mutual benefit of all companies involved Active participation of line personnel who perform the function being benchmarked Why? Significant improvement , Competitiveness
  • Actually cooperative intelligence is 1 person at a time. Don’t lump all of sales together, etc. HUMOR is a good thing and your positive attitude, which might be a challenge is something to come back to in the midst of a stressful environment. ?How to you ground yourself in the midst of chaos? Do you have certain times of the day when you calm down? Help them solve their problems so over time they grow How do you show respect for your internal customers of your service? Clear communication sure helps.
  • Know your audience . Deliver in a way they can understand clearly. Whether an email, phone call, presentation, memo. Speak Straight : Be direct, clear and honest in your communication. When you have something difficult to share…acknowledge your discomfort, awkwardness…often opens up the other person to listen and accept your message…e.g., in CI we have to go to someone who thinks they have a novel idea and after our research we find out that 5 other companies already are there. Deal with it delicately, but don’t cloak the finding. The quality of your answers …: What do you need to know about your clients business problems to come up with a good approach and solution. We’re often in such a hurry (STRESS) or aiming to PLEASE, that we don’t stand back and ask those necessary questions that will save everyone so much time and aggravation….CI is so misunderstood that this is really KEY. People don’t know what we really do, and that we might have ethics. Give them a stake in the outcome …if they’re not involved in the process, they are hardly likely to approve the product. Eg. In CI when Product Mgmt asks for CI support, engage them to tell you all about the product in detail with their vision about where it’s going. ETC. Even more important when starting a CI process..responsibility sharing right from the beginning…I need your help too, once you find out their expertise Ask for Expectations: We judge situations not only by WHAT happens, but by how it compares to what we had EXPECTED to happened. Create mutually understood expectations in every situation. (timeframes, deliverable, length, how) Take responsibility: Don’t be a victim. Ask for what you need, rather than waiting to be given what we need. Describe how you want to be treated rather than complaining you’re not being respected. Follow-up: Don’t keep people guessing as to your progress on projects. People count on us for results, not effort. If you’re a CI supervisor, this is really important to make sure your people are delivering or your consultants…
  • 12
  • For Your company…this can be used tactically also with a sales ream
  • This COMPANY was the clear market leader in belt cleaners in particular, although also in air cannons and vibrators where it doesn’t compete with competitor F. COMPANY offers a more robust transfer point product line than competitor F. COMPANY has strong brand ID with great advertising, strong performing products and identified orange as the color for its products. The company is responsive to customers, especially technical and sales support. In this tough economy, we realize that many of COMPANY’s products are not essential to operating a plant. It makes the plant safer and cleaner, but in hard times, this is less important than staying in business. In past years, COMPANY gave distributors exclusivity and had no direct sales force. Then COMPANY hired its own sales force, and introduced the certain program and distributors no longer had exclusivity. This made the distributor network more of a ‘free for all’ and there were fewer distributors for the COMPANY’s products. Now the COMPANY is developing a hybrid channel for distribution keeping its direct sales force in certain territories and going back to its previous distributors to re-establish relationships in areas where there is no direct COMPANY sales person. While the distributors said YES, some are leery due to the bad taste left by the previous distribution program. Whereas others a key longterm disctributor never missed a beat.
  • While the COMPANY created this space, there is a consensus among Direct Sales & Distributors that competitors are catching up. The COMPANY has a chance to leapfrog again with some of the new technologies it’s developing, but needs to get good training programs in place with urgency so the channel can sell! Competitor F is penetrating the COMPANY’s stronger industries such as mines and power plants, especially in this weak economy where everyone is more price sensitive. On the other hand, a distributor in WY and a direct sales person in TX are displacing competitor F, since the COMPANY’s products are better; however, competitor F was there first. Others in the COMPANY’s Direct Sales have reported similar displacement where competitor F got to the customer first. Another competitor with a cash rich parent company, has a penetration strategy to be in distributing across N. America and plans to buy conveyor companies, manufacturing companies and belting companies—and has deep pockets, Fortune 500 scale. A competitor’s position could be bolstered almost overnight. However, they could also approach the COMPANY as an alliance partner or acquisition target. Patents need to be tracked closely and royalties collected from competitors who develop products using the COMPANY’s patented technology. This is a big business at IBM: could be a steady source of cash flow at the COMPANY depending on findings.
  • First step in an acquisition preso. Share of market. We distributed NEC and Intecom, both small players at the time and were losing share since NEC was make in Japan, at a time when this was not popular in the US, especially with the federal government, our biggest client at Bell Atlantic. Intecom was the most expensive system, also not popular with the price sensitive government clients. So it was the big 3. AT&T was not for sale, but Nortel and Rolm (now Siemens) were. This one visual covered a lot of territory and let us set the stage for our acquisition recommendation.
  • Macro analysis.
  • This is my favorite tactical analytical tool. It’s so insightful if conducted quarterly, and over time an incredible mining opportunity. It can be added to or whatever other software that Sales is already using. Proprietary to Ellen Naylor, Belinda Nelson, and SSI
  • Interview in person or over phone Proprietary to Ellen Naylor, Belinda Nelson, and SSI
  • Strategic? $ Value Political Proprietary to Ellen Naylor, Belinda Nelson, and SSI
  • From this we might conclude that features are not such an important decision-making criteria presently, and that our superior positioning and delivery are more important than customer service. That could also be that higher level decision makers are less aware of customer service since they don’t deal with the product. As you observe these trends, you can tweak the questions to probe more deeply to find out what features they have that we don’t or perhaps AND why they are willing to pay more when our features and customer service are weaker.
  • We also had recommendations that were competitor specific, and others that were more longterm to implement. But these were the quick ones to implement
  • Note focusing on people is so important in almost all the steps in this process. 4. Some ideas you have might be great, but not a good fit for your culture. 5. Where is CI already happening: strategic planning, sales, marketing, product development, R&D, finance. Build off of this. 6. Internal and external networks. Librarians are great at this since people often come to you for help. 7. Take a lead on communication, think cooperative intelligence 8. Build off of what you already have. For example, for win/loss does your company already use 9. But don’t survey them. It’s better to do this informally, and gives you chance to listen to what might be on the way. 10. Easy to go off track. Just as with any research project. Once people find out you do CI well, you will be in demand. Also others will ask you to do their work that isn’t CI, since they are either lazy or don’t understand what CI is and isn’t.
  • Craig and Babette have published 2 other books together, more involved and pricey on ci tools and techniques. I have both and use them as reference material. Also give me an idea of tools to use as I try to express findings from research projects in a more provocative or persuasive way.
  • I will post this presentation on Slideshare later this afternoon, if this is OK with METRO. ???


  • 1. Developing Your Competitive Intelligence Skills Copyright ©2013 Ellen Naylor, The Business Intelligence Source Ellen Naylor @ellennaylor +1 303.838.4545 (USA) Get a free list of over 160 competitive intelligence books
  • 2. It’s an Extension for Info Pros CI is NOT a Stretch April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 3. The systematic process of gathering, analyzing and disseminating information about your competitors’ activities, products/services and the external market environment to help your company achieve its goals. . Competitive Intelligence April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 4. Competitive Intelligence: Be Broad Factors that impact a company’s ability to Compete Suppliers, customers, distributors, competitors, potential competitors Macro factors Economic, socio-cultural, political, regulatory, legal and technology Turn external information into Intelligence Affects strategic and tactical decision-making April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 5. The Intelligence Process 2. Planning & Direction 3. Information Process & Storage 4. Collection 5. Analysis & Production 6. Dissemination 1. Intelligence Users & Decisionmakers Other Users Which competitors, industry trends, opportunities, challenges do you target? April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 6. Collection Continuum Public Intelligence Social Intelligence Human Intelligence April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 7. The Information Spiral Target Company Ex-Employees Suppliers Government Associations Distributors Trade Unions Customers Ex-customers April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 8. The Importance of Human Networks • Best source of CI • Build trust one person at a time • Eliminate silos and blind spots • Extends a CI group’s reach & social capital • Not expert in every function of your business • Professional challenge: people participation • Links to sales & marketing essential April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 9. Human Networks • CI networks are not like a pair of socks – One size does not fit all • Networks take time to develop – Require person-to-person contact • Network maintenance – Current, growing and secure • Most successful CI programs develop and use decentralized, relationship-based networking April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 10. Your Focus for Competitive Intelligence Strategic Tactical Technical Counterintelligence Benchmarking April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 11. Strategic Competitive Intelligence - Analysis of major competitors, customers, suppliers, distributors - Acquisition/merger/divestiture activities - Opportunity analysis - Product planning - Scenario planning - Executive personality profiling April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 12. Tactical Competitive Intelligence What CI will improve the marketing of your products? - Changing market environment - New technology or competitors - Pricing - Distribution - Strength & Weakness analysis Win-Loss Analysis, Surveys, Trade Show Analysis April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 13. Competitive Technical Intelligence New Production Introduction Time Line S i g n a l I n t e n s I t y Discussions Gray Literature Scientific Papers R&D Alliances Joint Ventures Patents Process Development Product Announcement Product Sales Source: Competitive Intelligence Review, Vol. 7, No. 3, ©1996 John Wiley & Sons “Technology Intelligence & Technology Scouting,” Merrill Brenner Good Book: Keeping Abreast of Science & Technology: Technical Intelligence for Business by Bradford Ashton and Richard Klavans
  • 14. Counterintelligence Measures to prevent a competitor from gaining data or knowledge that could give them competitive advantage over your company. April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 15. Benchmarking Collaborative, mutual benefit Set high performance targets Accelerate company culture change by looking externally Bring accountability to your company Strategic Competitive Best-in-class April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 16. Cooperative Intelligence 1 person at a time Giving Problem Solver Clear Communication! Show Appreciation Positive Attitude Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously Respect Your Customers "Give the world the best you have and the best will come back to you." ~Madeline Bridge~ April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 17. Clear Communication • Communicate to be understood • Speak Straight • The quality of your answers is directly related to the quality of your questions • Give them a stake in the outcome by making sure they participate in the process • Set and ask for expectations • Take responsibility • Follow-up on Everything April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 18. Thorough collection and brilliant analysis are worthless without communication • Newsletters • Monthly summaries • Intranet site • White papers • Ad-hoc reports • Comprehensive studies • Special presentations • CI Road Shows Continuous Information Largely self-initiated Standing client requirements Special Projects Client or self-initiated Source: Kodak
  • 19. Role of SWOT Analysis In Crafting a Better Strategy  Develop a clear understanding of a company’s - Resource Strengths - Resource Weaknesses - Best Opportunities - External Threats  Drawing conclusions about how best to deploy resources in light of the company’s internal and external situation  Thinking strategically about how to strengthen the company’s resource base for the future Bensoussan and Fleisher, SCIP 2002
  • 20. SWOT Approach 1. Threats 2. Weaknesses Your Company 3. Opportunities 4. Strengths Bensoussan and Fleisher, SCIP 2002
  • 21. SWOT Analysis: What to Look For Potential Resource Strengths Potential Resource Weaknesses Potential Company Opportunities Potential External Threats • Powerful strategy • Strong financial condition • Strong brand name image/reputation • Widely recognized market leader • Proprietary technology • Cost advantages • Strong advertising • Product innovation skills • Good customer service • Better product quality •Alliances or JVs • No clear strategic direction • Obsolete facilities • Weak balance sheet; excess debt • Higher overall costs than rivals • Missing some key skills/competencies • Subpar profits . . . • Internal operating problems . . . • Falling behind in R&D • Too narrow product line • Weak marketing skills • Serving additional customer groups • Expanding to new geographic areas • Expanding product line • Transferring skills to new products • Vertical integration • Openings to take MS from rivals • Acquisition of rivals • Alliances or JVs to expand coverage • Openings to exploit new technologies • Openings to extend brand name/image • Entry of potent new competitors • Loss of sales to substitutes • Slowing market growth • Adverse shifts in exchange rates & trade policies • Costly new regulations • Vulnerability to business cycle • Growing leverage of customers or suppliers • Shift in buyer needs for product • Demographic changes Bensoussan and Fleisher, SCIP 2002
  • 22. SWOT Strengths • Market leader in most products • Strong Brand ID • Strong technical support, including engineering & customer service • High responsiveness • High quality products & guarantees • Professionalism • Sales force, an asset • Field technicians, an asset Weaknesses • Many products not essential to operations • High price • Distribution is confusing: could be cleaner • Ill will with some distributors April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 23. SWOT Opportunities • Improve & innovate: Listen! – Sales, Distributors, Dealers, Customers, Engineering… • Specific business XXX – More applications – Other industries • Potential Alliances • R&D Center – Test new products – Develop products that are essential to customer’s operations – Test competitor’s products Threats • Competitors “catching up” -- Especially Competitors A+B • Competitor C penetrating • Competitor D alliance in business XXX • Competitor C Engineering Systems’ claims • Patent infringement • M & A of competitors April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 24. BCG Matrix ShareLong-TermHistorical MarketGrowthRate Long-term Historical Growth of Sales F A B D C E Holding Share Losing Share Gaining Share Source: Adapted from “The Use of the Growth Share Matrix in Strategic Planning,” A Hax & N S Majluf, 1983 Interfaces, 13(1), p. 52. April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 25. Telco: Presentation-BCG Relative Market Share AT&TNTIRolm NEC Intecom April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 26. Sociological - Social trends, issues, demographics, consumer demand patterns Technological - Impact of new technologies and applications, development in network, IT & communications technologies Economic - Effect of macroeconomic issues e.g. employment trends, interest & exchange rates, trade & tariff issues Environmental - E.g. greenhouse gases & global warming, waste reduction & pollution control initiatives, pollution control regulations Political - Regulatory & legislative requirements, political ideology, change of government, government policy STEEP Analysis Identify issues, trends and factors from external business environment which might impact your market, strategies or how you conduct business. ©The MindShifts Group Pty. Ltd
  • 27. The Radar Screen: Network Services AT&T Verizon CenturyTel BellSouth Verizon Comdisco Wang NEC-ENS Intel Sprint/Paranet NetSolve NCR Lucent Carriers Professional Services RBOCs Equipment HP Source: Adrian Slywotzky Value Migration. 1996 HBS Press Competitors by Core Service April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 28. Win Loss Analysis  Highest Value Research for Expended Effort  Most Accurate Measurement of Positioning  Huge Data/Insight Mining Opportunity  Company Thinks They’re Already Doing It  Benefits Overlooked Due to Politics April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 29. Win Loss Analysis How It’s Ideally Done Systematic, Planned Effort Structured Interview Ideally Conducted by 3rd Party (internal or external) April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 30. Win Loss Analysis • Blind Versus Open • Frequency? • Which Accounts? Why? • Tracking • Analysis • Sales Versus Marketing April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 31. Simple Win Loss Analysis: Results Versus Competitor A #1 Reason Lost Percentage Positioning 15 Technology 30 Pricing 10 Delivery 10 Customer Service 20 Reliability 20 April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 32. Win Rate is 60% vs Competitor “A” Last Year Us Competitor A Pricing We average 10% higher Features 3.5 4.5 Delivery 5 4 Positioning 4.5 4 Product Depth 4 4 Customer Service 4 4.5 5 is highest rating Win Loss Analysis: Trends Over Time April 2013 ©The Business Intelligence Source
  • 33. 33 Example of Quick Win Loss Recommendations • Improve quality of References – Companies with Brand ID/cachet – Contacts within companies who really know and are excited by the COMPANY’s product – References by industry to match the customer’s • Mention client’s industry: show how your solution will solve their business problems with sensitivity around their industry in your proposal • Tech Support needs to be more uniformly responsive and up sell appropriately • Some in Sales need to find that fine balance between professionalism and not being too pushy for the close or too questioning about “how we are doing compared to the competition”
  • 34. Steps to Form a CI Process 1. Identify primary users 2. Focus on critical users’ needs 3. Fashion products to meet users’ needs 4. Be mindful of the company culture 5. Identify & build on infrastructure that supports CI 6. Organize & expand your people network constantly 7. Promote communication 8. Don’t implement automation before people 9. Checkpoint performance always 10. Stay focused
  • 35. Competitive Intelligence Presence
  • 36. Competitive Intelligence Books • Competitive Intelligence: How to Gather, Analyze, and Use Information to Move Your Business to the Top by Larry Kahaner • Competitive Intelligence Advantage by Seena Sharp • Starting a Competitive Intelligence Function by SCIP edited by Bonnie Hohhof and Ken Sawka • Analysis without Paralysis: 12 Tools to Make Better Strategic Decisions by Craig Fleisher and Babette Bensoussan • Win/Loss Reviews: A New Knowledge Model for Competitive Intelligence by Rick Marcet • More books:
  • 37. Thank You! Ellen Naylor @ellennaylor +1 303.838.4545 (USA) Get a free list of over 160 competitive intelligence books