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  1. 1. Competitive Technology Intelligence Maturity Level Assessment: conceptual framework and application THOMAS CANOVA Rhodia Poliamida e Especialidades Av. dos Estados, 5852, 9290-520, Santo André, Brazil thomas.canova@br.rhodia.com EDUARDO VASCONCELLOS University of Sao Paulo, Department of Business Administration at FEA/USP Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, 908, 05508-900, Sao Paulo, Brazil epgdvasc@gmail.com LUIS FERNANDO A. GUEDES University of Sao Paulo, Department of Business Administration at FEA/USP Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, 908, 05508-900, Sao Paulo, Brazil lguedes@usp.br ABSTRACT The Competitive Intelligence (CI) and its technological component (CTI) have been considered one of the most valuable processes for the companies due to the high competitiveness level of marketplaces and due to the increasingly importance of gathering useful information for fast and successful technological innovations. For the companies, Competitive Technology Intelligence remains a lever for developing competitive advantages based on innovation, purely cost-driven strategies or even both combined. This paper reviews literature references covering of Competitive Technology Intelligence (CTI) concepts, including main tools and practices currently adopted. A methodology is designed to evaluate the maturity level of CTI activities in organizations. Each activity is assessed based on key components of purpose & strategic orientation, quality of the process itself and strategy alignment, in order to perform a balance analysis of resources applied to CTI activities. The coherence of resources allocation is also assessed by comparing estimated maturity levels against the actual perception of the importance of each CTI activity to the organization. With the purpose of testing the maturity level framework, the multiple case study methodology was applied to Latin America subsidiaries of Rhodia and of a major company of the automotive sector. Results showed the effectiveness of the
  2. 2. framework, presenting main aspects of CTI, as well as maturity levels of these activities within these corporations. Although some potential improvements are identified, the set of tools suggested in this work seems flexible and pragmatic enough to evaluate CTI activities, as well as for setting goals for the organization by establishing quantitative metrics for the CTI process. However, due to the limitations of the case study methodology the framework should be tested in other companies of different sectors in further studies. KEYWORDS: Competitive Technology Intelligence, maturity assessment, knowledge management, strategy 1. INTRODUCTION In recent decades, society has experienced a transformation in which new forms of perception and interpretation have been arisen. Some scholars associate the period of gradual changes in the world in which we currently are as a transition period that marks the transformation of Industrial Society to Knowledge Society. In the heart of this transformation, the factors of production (land, capital goods and labor) interact with knowledge, in order to establish a new structure of economic relationship, in which the knowledge that has been produced and renewed becomes the cornerstone of this new economic logic (TERRA, 2005). As posed by Drucker (1998), knowledge will be an increasingly important competitive factor, but notwithstanding it becomes obsolete over time. In this context, Knowledge Management and Competitive Intelligence practices and tools do provide systematic methodologies for collection, analysis and dissemination of knowledge. The potential sources of knowledge may be internal or external to the organizational environment and they may facilitate significant quality improvements in the process of making strategic decisions. Besides the potential to contribute to a better alignment between decisions and corporate strategy, Competitive Intelligence and Knowledge Management processes aim also to continuously improve firm’s competitiveness by, among others activities, monitoring the external environment and facilitating the application of prior knowledge, both with potentially large impacts on organization performance. The importance of knowledge as a management resource has been steadily rising in last decade, as well as new information services that help the company to deal with the needs imposed by competitiveness and customer growing aspirations. Competitive Intelligence aims to offer high added value information in a context where the information value is defined by the level of support that it is capable to provide on the decision-making process of an organization, both in its strategic and tactical nature. New technologies may dramatically change the competitive environment in several ways (new platforms, designs, price levels, etc.), and the identification of early signals of major change in the technological environment is a critical success factor for any technology oriented organization (ZWECK, 2002). In fact, competitive firms that operate in an industrial environment of constant technological change, that have technology-intensive products and process and that invest a significant amount of
  3. 3. resources in R&D, must diligently manage the conception and use of a Competitive Intelligence Technology system. This, when properly implemented, can lead to savings from 10 to 100 times the investment (ASHTON, 1997). Although much emphasis has been given to Competitive Intelligence Technology conceptualization, few structured systems have been proposed focusing on assess Competitive Intelligence Technology maturity level. To define a set of metrics that can evaluate the maturity of these systems is essential because the measurement is at the heart of any effective management process. This work has the following objectives: • Propose a grade to assess an organization Competitive Intelligence Technology maturity, based on a synthesis of literature (JAIN, 1984; RAIMOND and JULIEN, 2001 and SAVIOZ et al, 2003); • From the application of the proposed grid, to measure the degree of maturity of six activities of technological intelligence of two large organizations; • By combining maturity assessment and the reported relative importance of Competitive Intelligence Technology activities, to identify possible opportunities for improvement in the allocation of resources in these organizations. 2. THEORETHICAL BACKGROUND 2.1 Knowledge Management and Competitive Intelligence There is a contemporary tendency to attribute as much value to a product or service as more integrated knowledge it has. Thus, value becomes increasingly intangible, and takes into consideration aspects such as brand, technology perception, public image and embedded knowledge. In fact, most of the opportunities as well as much of the value added generated within organizations, come from assets that are not physical (SANTOSUS and SURMACZ, 1998). This is the main reason why to acquire relevant information, pursuit the capability to process it and generate knowledge from it represent an important step towards a sustainable strategy. Neither all data nor all information are useful knowledge assets for an organization. Information can be considered as it becomes useful for decision-making (McGONAGLE and VELLA, 2002). Knowledge management process stems from the need to manage these assets so that they can contribute in a structured way for the organization to increase the quality of their decisions. SVEIBY (1998) defines knowledge management as the "art of creating value from the intangible assets of the organization". The basic objective of knowledge management process is to make possible for organizations to perpetuate their intellectual capital. In a competitive business environment, an organization must be able to manage its knowledge assets in order to rapidly face the challenges in the short term and be consistent to elaborate and implement a robust strategy envisioning medium and long term (AGARWAL, 2006).
  4. 4. Intelligence involves analyzed and contextualized information in a form suitable to assist decision-making (WORMSBECKER, 2002). If knowledge requires structured information analysis, intelligence means the effective use of this knowledge in a specific context for decision making. Evans (2008), states that intelligence is the key that will enable decision-making, once it is obtained through the consolidation of several sources of knowledge. It is estimated that 80% of all the information that an organization needs about its direct competitors is already in its possession, even though indirect (JOHNSON, 2002). This estimative demonstrates the importance of knowledge management as a process by which an organization identifies analyzes and correctly uses its knowledge assets, including those from the competitive intelligence process. According to the definition proposed by Agarwal (2006), Competitive Intelligence is the process by which a company transforms raw data into valuable information, and then turns this asset into strategy. According to Fletcher et al (1993), the Competitive Intelligence process consists of four steps: (i) Determination of information needs; (ii) Capture and data evaluation; (iii) Data processing; and (iv) Dissemination aiming decision-making. Jakobiak (1998) states for stages of Competitive Intelligence and the structure of the system consist of three families or networks of actors: observers, experts and decision makers. Fuld (2006), after conducting a survey on 141 organizations in five major industrial groups, obtained data on the proficiency of the use of Competitive Intelligence techniques. In this study, Fuld states that no more than 5% of organizations are highly proficient in the techniques of Competitive Intelligence, and most of this group is in the pharmaceutical industry, has considerable resources available and make use of Competitive Intelligence for more than four years. A key point in the Competitive Intelligence process is the well conducted prior identification of organizational needs when it comes to competitiveness. This initial review process is essential for the establishment of an effective cycle of Intelligence, since the definition of the key issues is a way of restricting the amount of data acquiring to those deemed relevant. Even in organizations that have structured systems of knowledge management can be seen ineffective Competitive Intelligence systems, as the identification of company needs is not clear. There are several ways to measure the contribution of Competitive Intelligence for business performance. McGonagle and Vella (2002) suggest that Competitive Intelligence should be measured by one of four criteria: (i) mission definition; (ii) value delivered to the business; (iii) build of intelligence assets; and (iv) codification of contributions. 2.2 Competitive Technology Intelligence According to Ashton and Stacey (1995) intelligence technology is a method designed to detect, analyze and use information about technical events, and trends, and also is intended to organize key aspects of the company's competitiveness in order to purpose a better use of technology. To Vanconcellos and Diniz (2000) a technology intelligence system is a subset of a competitive intelligence system. This last can only
  5. 5. be effective if the company adopts coherent product and services strategies, plays in markets consistent with its skills, opportunities and threats of the external environment. Jain (1984) showed that the practices of Technology Intelligence are developed in four distinct phases. In the first phase, called "primitive", no specific effort is devoted to the process. In a second step, the organization becomes aware of the need to track technology information, although no formal tracking system exists - the stage is called "situational". The "reactive" phase marks the emergence of unstructured and unplanned Technology Intelligence practices, and finally, the "proactive" phase is marked by the development of rigorous and intensive practice. It is natural, for example, that a crisis require a more reactive than pro-active attitude (Godet, 2000), regardless the phase in which the organization is situated. Raymond and Julien (2001) argue that Technology Intelligence initiatives should be considered in four dimensions: (i) the objectives of the tracking activity; (ii) the type of information that is required; (iii) information sources; and (iv) routines that will be used to manage these activities. In this model, organizations may have different strategic aims which leads to activities focused in performance improvement, competitiveness shift or acquisition of a desirable strategic advantage.In addition to these Technology Intelligence dimensions, Savioz et al (2003) also identify five influence factors: organizational attributes; technological attributes, attributes of the owner / president / director, environment and information networks. According to Ashton and Stacey (1995), there are basically two types of information sources: personal sources (informal) and impersonal sources (formal). Smaller organizations tend to rely mostly on personal sources (SPECHT, 1987), while larger organizations tend to balance better the use of personal and impersonal sources. Piccina and Goodrich (1992) evaluated the procedures for technology information acquisition through a survey answered by 24 medium and large organizations (multinational corporations and national research institutes) of Sao Paulo (Brazil). The study observed the origin of new products original idea, and showed that on research institutes, the first impulse for new developments came mainly from external sources (50%), a percentage that decreases on multinational companies (40%) and domestic firms (31%). 3. METHODOLOGY According to Eisenhardt (1989), the multiple case method followed in this research, has high potential to contribute to knowledge generation. This methodology is particularly adequate when there is a need for a deep analysis of inter-related variables related to a particular situation (TULL,1976 and YIN, 1994). The selection of a qualitative – exploratory approach is appropriate when there is the possibility of obtaining information related to the purpose of the study that can be transformed in research variables or to generate hypothesis to be tested in further studies (GOODE e HATT, 1979). This paper is part of a broader study developed by Canova and Brito (2008) as a requirement of an MBA degree in Brazil.
  6. 6. The model adopted as a basis for this work is showed in figure 1. The six competitive intelligence activities were selected based on the literature and their relevance to the organizations taking part of this study: technology forecast, breakthrough technologies evaluation, incremental technologies evaluation, competitor’s technology monitoring, technological events monitoring and patent monitoring. For each company respondents evaluated the maturity levels (Jain, 1984), the level of relevance of each competitive intelligence practice for company results and the level of adequacy of the technology intelligence dimensions proposed by Raymond e Julien (2001) e Savioz et al 2003. MATURITY LEVELS (Jain, 1984) • Primitive • Situational • Reactive COMPETITIVE • Proactive INTELLIGENCE PRACTICES SELECTED FOR THE STUDY • Technology forecast • Breakthrough technologies assessment LEVEL OF RELEVANCE FOR THE • Incremental technologies COMPANY assessment • Competitors Technology Perception of relative value to the company of the monitoring six competitive intelligence practices selected for the study (total = 100%) • Tecnological events monitoring • Patent monitoring TECHNOLOGY INTELLIGENCE DIMENSIONS, Raimond e Julien (2001) and Savioz et al, (2003). • Purpose and strategic orientation • Technology intelligence process • Strategy Alignment (Canova et al, 2008) Fig 1: Research Model Two large global companies with subsidiaries in Brazil were selected for this study: a chemical company (Rhodia) and a carmaker company named Beta to protect the firm’s identity. Rhodia has more than 20.000 employees worldwide with a strong fingerprint in specialty chemicals, polymers (polyamides, in particular) as well as in inorganic chemicals and organic solvents, serving a wide range of markets. Rhodia is an innovative company with a long background in competitive intelligence to which Latin America represents a key region due to high growth rates being experienced during the last years. Beta is an automaker company with more than 200.000 employees worldwide. Its Brazilian subsidiary becomes increasingly important because local market has been growing at an average annual rate of 10% since 2004.
  7. 7. Data was collected from internal documents and interviews (average duration of two hours) with managers of R&D and Product Engineering areas involved with Technology Intelligence activities in both organizations. This paper presents an instrument to evaluate the level of maturity of the technology intelligence system based on the four phases of competitive technology intelligence (primitive, situational, reactive and proactive) proposed by Jain (1984) and integrated with the dimensions suggested by Raymond and Julien (2001). The instrument also included the components of technology intelligence proposed by Savioz et al (2003), involving formalization of the technology intelligence. Based on these concepts, two key components were generated: purpose/strategic orientation and competitive technology intelligence practices. Purpose and strategic orientation measure the competence of the company in defining objectives and goals for the competitive technology intelligence process. On the other hand, the quality of the process (and of its subsequent practices) is measured through the evaluation of its phases: planning, implementation, dissemination of results, process improvements, etc., giving origin to the second key component (competitive technology intelligence practices). To cover the full spectrum of the competitive technology process, our framework also includes strategic alignment as a third key component. This dimension represents the extent to which information of the competitive technology intelligence process provides information to the strategic planning process of the company. Figure 2 shows the structure of the model suggested in this study to evaluate the maturity level of a competitive technology intelligence system, including references that contributed to the framework structure. Canova et Raymond and Julien (2001) / Savioz et al (2003) al (2008) Purpose and Strategic Competitive Technological Intelligence process Strategic Key Orientation (practices) Aligment Components Key i= 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Issues level 0 = primitive level 1 = situational Jain (1984) Maturity Levels level 2 - active level 3 = pró-active Fig 2: Competitive technology Intelligence maturity level assessment model
  8. 8. Each one of the 3 key components is considered of equal importance for the success of the CTI process, which implies in fairly identical weights in the model (34% to purpose and strategic orientation, 33% to technology intelligence practices and 33% to strategic alignment). Each key component is further split into so called key issues, with weights ranging from 3% to 22% according to the importance associated to each of them. The list of key components and key issues, including their relative weights in the model is presented in table 1. The weights in Table 1 were established in a previous work (CANOVA and BRITO, 2008) based on author’s experience on R&D management and Competitive Technology Intelligence practicing within their organizations. It should be emphasized that this procedure has to be improved in further studies to increase the effectiveness of the methodology. Table 1. Key components, key issues and relative weights in the model. Relative weigth Key Component Key Issue key Kew component issue Definition of objectives and goals of the activity 12% Definition of roles and responsabilities of the activity 6% Purpose and Strategic 34% Orientation Human Resources allocation for the activity 6% Critical Analysis of the practices involved in the activity 10% Systematic review of events (internal and external) associated to this activity 4% Codification and tracking of external events (ex: fairs, congresses, speeches, etc.) 3% associated to the activity Codification and tracking of internal events (ex: internal workshops, discussion groups, 3% meetings, etc.) associated to the activity Dissemination of knowledge assets (documents) associated to internal and external Competitive events 4% Technological 33% Intelligence Process Security policy for acessing knowledge assets (documents) associated to this activity 4% Crosschecking or validation (by experts) of the quality of the information gathered in the 6% knowledge assets (documents) associated to the activity Feedback about the relevance and quality of the knowledge asset (documents) to the 3% authors Structured and systematic overview of the practices associated to the activity (including 6% indicators review) Incorporation of the activity results in the organization strategic planning 22% Strategic Aligment 33% Frequency of results overview compared to strategic planning calendar 11% With the purpose of reducing subjectivity during the assessment of a given Competitive Technology Intelligence system, a maturity grid for the 14 key issues was designed on the basis of the qualitative maturity scale proposed by Jain (1984). Each maturity level is transformed into a score as follows: primitive = 0, situational = 1, reactive = 2 and proactive = 3. Finally, the ratio between the sum of all points obtained in the 14 key issues and the maximum score achievable (14 x 3 = 42 points)
  9. 9. will lead to a maturity level score (in %) for each activity assessed, as expressed below. 14 ∑ Pi i =1 MLact . j = 42 , where MLact.j indicates the average maturity level of the technology intelligence activity j and i indicates the key issue assessed (from 1 to 14). In addition, the overall maturity level of the technology intelligence process of the organization (MLorg) may be also calculated by multiplying the average maturity level of each activity (MLact.) by the relative importance of this activity in % (RIj) and finally calculating the sum of all terms as expressed below. n MLorg = ∑ MLact . j .RI j j =1 The complete instrument including all key components and key issues, associated weights, as well as the maturity level assessment grid may be found in annex 1. As a last step, respondents were asked to allocate hypothetical available resources amongst the six activities evaluated in fractions (totalizing 100% for the sum of all six activities scores), according to the criteria of relative importance of each activity to the results of the organization (as perceived by the respondents). This evaluation was done independently of the maturity level assessment, allowing a useful comparison of both set of data for technical purposes later on this study. 4. RESULTS Results of the maturity level assessment of Competitive Technology Intelligence activities, obtained by coupling the application of the framework presented in annex 1 and equations previously presented are showed in figure 3. Figure 3 shows significant differences in terms of maturity level for each CTI activity when assessing Rhodia and Beta organization. For instance, technology forecast activity was assessed as highly mature within Beta organization while relatively incipient within Rhodia. On the opposite way, results clearly suggest patent monitoring activity as a quite developed activity within Rhodia while within Beta organization this activity seems only slightly developed (low maturity level). The overall maturity level of CTI activities at the organization level indicates 53% for Rhodia and 69% for Beta organization. Other interesting differences are revealed when evaluating technologies assessment. Beta organization shows some emphasis on breakthrough (or emerging) technologies assessment resulting in a rather high maturity level assessed (73%) although incremental technologies assessment are relegated to minor plan. On the other hand, the same activities show a more balanced maturity level within Rhodia with scores of 25% and 38%, respectively.
  10. 10. 81% Technology forecast 13% Breakthrough technologies 73% assessment 25% Incremental technologies 9% assessment 38% Competitors technology 72% monitoring 74% Technological events 76% monitoring 34% 18% Beta Patent monitoring 68% Rhodia 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Fig 3: Maturity level of CTI activities for Rhodia and Beta organization. Although it remains as an attempt for structuring information from different sources and through different levels of the organization, applying the suggested set of tools to organizations data with a further analysis of the results does not allow an assessment of whether these scores represent or not the reality of these organizations in terms of maturity level. Nevertheless, the coherence observed between data obtained during the interviews and results assessed by using this framework suggest the model is powerful when assessing maturity levels. Similarly, the simple use of this framework brings no useful insight neither about the effective value of CTI activities to the organization, nor about the importance of these processes to the competitiveness of these organizations. In a highly competitive context in which bad allocation of human or financial resources immediately becomes a competitive drawback (overcost), a proper management of these resources is primordial to the success of company’s technological strategy. Thus, making choices strengthening CTI activities that add more value to the company in prior to less important activities is vital to enhance the performance of the organization. Indeed, organizations strongly based on new products development usually dedicate more attention on monitoring patents as a way to anticipate trends as well as new alternatives for molecules or technologies. In addition, organizations focused on developing systems and processes often establish their technological strategy on solid evaluations of existing or emerging technologies suitable to modify or even destabilize in some extent their competitive battlefield. The major question mark to be addressed and solved by CTI activities managers is to understand at what extent those processes might be important for achieving the organization objectives and goals. Starting from this point, a rank of CTI activities might be defined to properly guide managers to allocate their resources.
  11. 11. In order to investigate deeper this subject, results obtained by applying the maturity level assessment framework were compared to intuitive answers (given by respondents) on the relative importance of each one of the six CTI activities evaluated along this study. Figure 4 graphically shows the relationship between the maturity level assessed for each activity and the relative importance of it for the organization, according to the perception of the respondents (average score). Although the natural scale for the relative importance of each activity ranges from 0% to 100%, the graph of Figure 4 has a maximum value of 40% in the abscissa due to the fact no activity was perceived as having a score beyond 35%. For practical reasons, adopting 40% as the maximum of this scale leads to a better visualization of the relationships found. 100% Rhodia maturity level of the activity (%) 80% Beta F B C C E A 60% 40% D B A - Pat ent monit oring E B - Technological event s monit oring C - Compet itors technology monitoring 20% D - Incremental t echnologies assessment A E - Breakt hrough t echnologies assessment F F - Tchnology forecast D 0% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% relative importance (organization perspective) of the activity (%) Fig 4: Maturity level versus relative importance of the activity to the organization (Rhodia and Beta). This analysis compares an expectative of return (perception of relative importance) against a performance indicator (maturity level) and may be understood as a way to reveal eventual improper resource allocation. As an example, if the expectative of return for a given CTI activity is high (high relative importance) and the maturity level (assessed by using the suggested framework) is low; probably more resources should be allocated to that activity in order to be coherent with the expectation perceived. In this case, there can be a discrepancy on resource allocation with probably less important (or perceived as) CTI activities being privileged by more resources than their perceived relative importance would justify. In this case, the organization might reconsider the choices already made; evaluating if there is any further opportunity to optimize its resource allocation. In this sense, data presented in figure 4 demonstrates a significant degree of correlation between both set of data. This apparent coherence supports the thesis in which the differences found among maturity levels assessed for the CTI activities (fig.
  12. 12. 3) are fundamentally linked to competitive battlefield particularities of these organizations, including for instance market characteristics and growth strategies, and not representing a priori an inability to properly prioritize resources. Based on the data obtained from applying the maturity level assessment framework, we may also have an insight on the overall CTI process by evaluating each key component (purpose and strategic orientation, CTI practices and strategic alignment) with their scores separately. The average results emerging from this analysis take into consideration the relative weights of each key issue / key component (table 1) and are showed in fig. 5 and fig. 6. The analysis, stratified by key-component, reveals all three key-components well balanced in terms of maturity level within Beta organization, suggesting an equilibrated CTI process. Although the same analysis within Rhodia perimeter indicates a majority of well balanced CTI activities, some unbalance for specific activities in found. This is the case of patent monitoring, an activity earlier assessed as highly important for the company, presenting some unbalance suggesting that there is a probable opportunity for improving strategic alignment. Nevertheless, it seems relevant to remark that this CTI activity has already a significantly high score as far as the maturity level is concerned, suggesting improvements on this specific key-component would represent an alternative towards the excellence rather than a way to develop and foster this activity. 120% Purpose and Strategic Orientation CTI practices Strategic Alignment 100% Maturity Level (%) 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Patent monitoring Technological events Competitors Incremental Breakthrough Technology forecast monitoring technology monitoring technologies technologies assessment assessment Fig 5: Maturity level of CTI activities by key-component (Rhodia)
  13. 13. 100% Maturity Level (%) 80% 60% 40% 20% Purpose and Strategic Orientation CTI practices Strategic Alignment 0% Patent monitoring Technological events Competitors Incremental Breakthrough Technology forecast monitoring technological technologies technologies monitoring assessment assessment Fig 6: Maturity level of CTI activities by key-component (Beta) As an additional example, an eventual strong positive deviation of CTI process key component when compared to the other two key components may suggest a gap between the real need of the organization and the excellence level already in place, arising once again the question of proper resource allocation for optimizing company’s performance. This seems not to be the case for any of the organizations evaluated in this work. In summary, although the maturity level shall significantly varies from one activity to another within the scope of a given organization, the maturity level assessment by key component (fig. 7) as well as the analysis of the differences among each key component scores bring relevant elements to assess if CTI system in place is balanced or not as well as about whether this system move forward smoothly or by steps. Values expressed in fig. 7 reveal that independently of the averages observed, both CTI systems do not show important asymmetries, indicating a relative equilibrium among the key components and suggesting continuous improvement of CTI activities takes place in an equilibrated and homogeneous manner.
  14. 14. 100% Rhodia Beta 77% 80% average maturity level (%) 71% 64% 60% 60% 53% 42% 40% 20% 0% Purpose and Strategic Competitive Strategic Alignment Orientation Technological Intelligence Process Fig 7: Average maturity level by key-component (Rhodia and Beta) 5. CONCLUSION The Competitive Technology Intelligence process of two major technology-based multinational organizations with a strong presence in Brazil was assessed and six main CTI activities were identified. The maturity level of CTI activities was assessed through applying a conceptual framework developed by the authors based on the synthesis of the main concepts presented in literature as well on original contributions. The comparison of the relative importance of each CTI activity, as perceived by the organization, with the maturity level assessed suggests no major gaps on resource allocation in these organizations. This coherence supports the thesis in which the differences revealed among maturity levels assessed for CTI activities are fundamentally associated to competitive battlefield particularities as market characteristics and growth strategies, not representing a priori improper choices of resource allocation. Regarding the relative maturity level of the 3 key-components of CTI process (purpose and orientation, CTI process itself and strategic alignment), both organizations seem to develop their CTI systems in a well structured environment leading to coherent allocation of resources and probably expressing that CTI culture is in the core of these organizations. The application of this conceptual framework led to an overall assessment of Competitive Technology Intelligence maturity level in both organizations, differentiating mature activities from more incipient ones. The model also contributed to determine the balance among 3 suggested key-components of CTI as an insight on how resources are internally allocated for achieving organization goals. In terms of portfolio of CTI activities, resource allocation quality had being also assessed by
  15. 15. comparing maturity level scores with the perception of relative importance of each activity, keeping the ultimate focus on organization results. Despite of finding important differences in terms of maturity level from one activity to another, the later comparison revealed an important level of coherence between those two set of data, suggesting proper prioritization of resources at the present time The set of tools presented in this article, including the conceptual framework and the consequent data analysis, was useful to identify existing gaps and opportunities for improving their related processes, suggesting new approaches for leveraging Competitive Technology Intelligence within those organizations. This study was performed in two major technology-driven organizations (Rhodia and Beta), acting in two different market segments (chemical and automotive). The rather small sample size does not permit direct extrapolation of the methodology to other technology-based organizations acting in other sectors, without a previous and careful evaluation. Other important remark lies on the empirical attribution of relative weights for the 14 key-issues identified, particularly done on the basis of author’s academic and managerial experience. It seems important to state that CTI key-issues relative weights were not used as interpolative parameters to adjust the model, remaining unchanged since they were set in the beginning of the study by the authors. Even if the coherence between perceived relative importance of each activity and maturity level assessment using these weights bring confidence to the model, special attention to this question must be an important following step of this study. We understand that beyond the remarks previously mentioned, the conceptual framework presented in this article combines well established CTI concepts found in the technical literature with insights on strategic alignment and methodology, providing at last a set of tools suitable to quantitatively assess the maturity level of any CTI activity in a given organization. We also understand the suggested framework might be useful not only for assessing the current situation of CTI activities but particularly to define quantitative goals for the organization and their managers, as well as to track the progress of the system in time, essential points to ensure continuous improvement and enhanced competitiveness for the organization.
  16. 16. ANNEX I: Maturity level assessement grid Relative Maturity Level Assessment Grid weigth Key Key Issue Component Key Key component issue Level 0 (primitive) Level 1 (situational) Level 2 (reactive) Level 3 (proactive) Some indication of results Strong indication of results No objectives or targets expected in the short term Clear definition of objectives in Definition of objectives and goals expected in the short and long 12% clearly defined for the activity with few or no information term although with no explicit the short and long term with of the activity Purpose and Strategic Orientation in the short or long term. about long term objectives explicit targets definition of targets. and targets No clear definition of roles and No clear definition of roles and Clear definition of roles in the No clear definition of roles and responsabilities in the activity, responsabilities in the activity, Definition of roles and activity, with a formal 6% responsabilities in the activity although with a basic although with a formal structure in place and full responsabilities of the activity with no support of leadership structure with no formal structure and support of support of leadership support of leadership leadership 34% Teams are defined by There is a basic organization There is a basic organization There is full developed demand, as a function of an (team, resources and (team, resources and structure (team, resources Human Resources allocation for 6% emerging short term need responsabilities), but usually responsabilities) rigorously and responsabilities) with no the activity whith HR depending on modified based on new kept unchanged (few and modifications along the availability (low priority) external priorities seldon exceptions) process (top priority) Critical analysis of the Critical analysis of the Critical analysis of the Critical Analysis of the practices No critical analysis of the practices done under demand practices sometimes done (no practices is done ona a 10% practices of the organization (no formally established regular basis (formally involved in the activity systematic review) frequency) established frequency) Ocasional review of external Often review of external events Structured review of external Systematic review of events No systematic review of events related to the activity related to the activity, events related to the activity, (internal and external) associated 4% external events related to the performed under demand (with performed under demand (with with a formally established to the activity activity no formally established no formally established frequency frequency) frequency) formal (mandatoriness) No formal (mandatoriness) but Codification and tracking of No formal (mandatoriness) or formal (mandatoriness) mechanism of codification informal (recomendation) external events (ex: fairs, informal (recomendation) mechanism of codification but with a predefined format or 3% mechanism suitable to ensure mechanism through which without a predefined format or environment suitable to congresses, speeches, etc.) organization recomends document codification environment ensure document tracking and associated to the activity document codification protection of the Competitive Technological Intelligence practices Codification and tracking of formal (mandatoriness) No formal (mandatoriness) but No formal (mandatoriness) or formal (mandatoriness) mechanism of codification internal events (ex: internal informal (recomendation) informal (recomendation) mechanism of codification but with a predefined format or workshops, discussion groups, 3% mechanism suitable to ensure mechanism through which without a predefined format or environment suitable to meetings, etc.) associated to the organization recomends document codification environment ensure document tracking and document codification activity protection No dissemination procedure There is a formal established for the knowledge There is a formal dissemination policy and Dissemination of knowledge No dissemination procedure assets, although managers dissemination policy, although managers can only modify it assets (documents) associated to 4% established for the knowledge define for each case how managers have the right to with a formal agreement internal and external events assets knowledge asset would be modify it whenever they need coming from the organization disseminated board 33% Knowledge assets available Knowledge assets available Same as level 2 + classified Security policy for acessing for all employees, although Knowledge assets available only to certain groups information needing validation knowledge assets (documents) 4% for all employees access to these assets must according to predefined from board of direction to be associated to the activity be validated by a k nowledge protection policy (levels). acessed. asset manager Crosschecking or validation (by Knowledge assets are Knowledge assets are Knowledge assets are Knowledge assets are published with no (formal or published without any formal published with a formal data published with a formal data peers or experts) of the quality of informal) data crosschecking / data crosschecking / quality crosschecking or a formal crosschecking and a formal the information gathered in the 6% quality validation (by peers or validation (by peers or quality validation (by peers or quality validation (by peers or knowledge assets (documents) experts) in prior to their experts) in prior to their experts) in prior to their experts) in prior to their associated to the activity disponibilization. disponibilization. disponibilization. disponibilization. There is a formal feedbacks to Feedback about the relevance and There is no structured There can be informal There is a structured feedback document authors under quality of the knowledge asset 3% feedback system to document feedbacks to document express demand of the system implying in mandatory (documents) to the authors authors authors return to document authors organization (not structured) Structured and systematic There is a systematic There is a systematic There is a systematic overview of the practices No systematic overview of overview of practices with a overview of practices with a overview of practices with a 6% practices frequency superior to once frequency superior to once a frequency superior to twice a associated to the activity (including every 2 years year year indicators review) No formal (mandatoriness) Formal (mandatoriness) Formal (mandatoriness) No formal (mandatoriness) or although informal mechanism ensuring activity mechanism ensuring activity Strategic Aligment Incorporation of the activity results informal (recomendation) (recomendation) mechanism results take part of the Strat. results take part of the Strat. in the organization Strategic 22% mechanism suitable to ensure suitable to ensure that activity Planning without any Planning with information Planning that activity results lateke part results lateke part of the information cascading to cascading to operational of the Strat. Planning Strat. Planning operational levels levels 33% There is a systematic There is a systematic There is a systematic Frequency of results overview overview of results of the overview of results of the overview of results of the No systematic overview of compared to strategic planning 11% results of the practices practices with a frequency practices with a frequency of practices with a frequency calendar inferior than the one fo the the same order pf the Strat. superior than the one fo the Strat. Planning. Planning Strat. Planning.
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