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How to connect strategic planning with competitive intelligence?

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Baskar Sundaram

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The extent and use of Competitive Intelligence should be evaluated based on current needs within your organization/industry. Competitive Intelligence staff should be able to identify market issues and changes and provide guidance on what type of Competitive Intelligence activities are important at that time.

Start with a Plan

It is important that all Competitive Intelligence activities have a detailed plan/requirements in order to ensure they are being executed properly. Competitive Intelligence staff should be able to provide management with a realistic timeline of when these activities can be completed, as well as information on what type of information needs to exist prior to starting the Competitive Intelligence activity. This is why it is important for organizations to have a process in place for Competitive Intelligence activities. These plans can vary from organization to organization, but typically will contain some common elements.

Align with Business Strategy

This is one way that Competitive Intelligence staff can provide value to an organization by being able to align Competitive Intelligence work with business strategy. Competitive Intelligence personnel should never view themselves as separate from the business, as CI activities need to support the business strategy.

Competitive intelligence can have a significant impact on businesses, but this will only occur if management understands how it affects the bottom line. A common concern for Competitive Intelligence personnel is that CI activities will decrease and they will be left without a job. Competitive Intelligence is here to stay and most businesses understand the importance of Competitive Intelligence.

Supporting Plan

Competitive Intelligence is not meant to replace internal staff who perform Competitive Analysis, but rather help support them so they can maximize their time spent on activities that provide value to the organization. Competitive intelligence staff should be able to explain Competitive Intelligence’s impact on the organization when they are in meetings with management so they can provide additional value.

Obtain Actionable Data

The primary goal of Competitive Intelligence is to obtain information about competitors so an organization can remain competitive in their market. This means the search for Competitive Intelligence should target competitor knowledge gaps and obtain actionable data that will be used by the organization.

These are just a few of the various benefits of actively engaging in activities related to competitive intelligence.  

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