Competitive Technology Intelligence Maturity Level
Assessment: conceptual framework and application
Rhodia Poliamida e Especialidades
Av. dos Estados, 5852, 9290-520, Santo André, Brazil
University of Sao Paulo, Department of Business Administration at FEA/USP
Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, 908, 05508-900, Sao Paulo, Brazil
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
be effective if the company adopts coherent product and services strategies, plays in
markets consistent with its skills, opportunities and threats of the external
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%).
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.
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)
COMPETITIVE • Proactive
SELECTED FOR THE STUDY
• Technology forecast
technologies assessment LEVEL OF RELEVANCE FOR THE
• Incremental technologies COMPANY
• Competitors Technology Perception of relative value to the company of the
monitoring six competitive intelligence practices selected for
the study (total = 100%)
• Tecnological events
• Patent monitoring
DIMENSIONS, Raimond e Julien (2001) and
Savioz et al, (2003).
• Purpose and strategic orientation
• Technology intelligence process
• Strategy Alignment (Canova et al,
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
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.
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.
Raymond and Julien (2001) / Savioz et al (2003)
Purpose and Strategic Competitive Technological Intelligence process Strategic Key
Orientation (practices) Aligment Components
i= 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
level 0 = primitive
level 1 = situational
level 2 - active
level 3 = pró-active
Fig 2: Competitive technology Intelligence maturity level assessment model
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.
Key Component Key Issue
Definition of objectives and goals of the activity 12%
Definition of roles and responsabilities of the activity 6%
Purpose and Strategic
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.)
associated to the activity
Codification and tracking of internal events (ex: internal workshops, discussion groups,
meetings, etc.) associated to the activity
Dissemination of knowledge assets (documents) associated to internal and external
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
knowledge assets (documents) associated to the activity
Feedback about the relevance and quality of the knowledge asset (documents) to the
Structured and systematic overview of the practices associated to the activity (including
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)
will lead to a maturity level score (in %) for each activity assessed, as expressed
MLact . j =
, 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.
MLorg = ∑ MLact . j .RI j
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.
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.
Breakthrough technologies 73%
Incremental technologies 9%
Competitors technology 72%
Technological events 76%
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.
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.
maturity level of the activity (%)
80% Beta F B C
B A - Pat ent monit oring
E B - Technological event s monit oring
C - Compet itors technology monitoring
20% D - Incremental t echnologies assessment
E - Breakt hrough t echnologies assessment
F F - Tchnology forecast
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.
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.
Purpose and Strategic Orientation
Maturity Level (%)
Patent monitoring Technological events Competitors Incremental Breakthrough Technology forecast
monitoring technology monitoring technologies technologies
Fig 5: Maturity level of CTI activities by key-component (Rhodia)
Maturity Level (%) 80%
Purpose and Strategic Orientation
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
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.
average maturity level (%)
Purpose and Strategic Competitive Strategic Alignment
Orientation Technological Intelligence
Fig 7: Average maturity level by key-component (Rhodia and Beta)
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
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
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
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
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.
ANNEX I: Maturity level assessement grid
Maturity Level Assessment Grid
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.
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
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
No formal (mandatoriness) but
Codification and tracking of No formal (mandatoriness) or formal (mandatoriness) mechanism of codification
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
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
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.
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
No formal (mandatoriness) Formal (mandatoriness) Formal (mandatoriness)
No formal (mandatoriness) or
although informal mechanism ensuring activity mechanism ensuring activity
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
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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