My exciting journey into the challenge of competition and intelligence, by Dr. Avner Barnea

Dr. Avner Barnea
Dr. Avner Barnea (Ph.D.)

I have just finished an exciting journey of a few weeks with one of Israel’s leading CMOs. As a CI consultant and here as a personal tutor, I helped him practically to improve the competitive position of his company. It was initiated when he has reached the conclusion that his management attention to competition is not satisfying as could be seen in quotative figures of his corporation. It was about an Israeli global corporation with a strong presence in more than 60 countries, which faces gradual robustness in the competitive landscape.

For a few weeks, I was shadowing this senior executive in his daily responsibilities, including his meetings, followed by open discussions between the two of us regarding various competition aspects. Our focus was on three dimensions: 1. How to create external awareness. 2. How to develop organizational Intelligence culture of “competition as a pivot.” 3. The way to build proper organizational Intelligence solutions.

Actually, our intensive sessions were about building and implementing cross-functional Intelligence Management through the leadership of the CMO. During our discussions, we were able to agree on a framework of Intelligence Management, which will be aimed to improve decisions backed by highly focused Intelligence deliveries, which up to now was not working properly.

We spend also a long time building the interface between Innovation and Intelligence. From now on Intelligence, no will be existed in the common challenges of the corporation but will be deeply involved in the process of Innovation, which is actually technological breakthroughs. The culture that innovation was sourced by the ideas coming almost exclusively from internal experts was not working and implementing the framework of Open Innovation can get a lot of support from the Intelligence unit and its professionals.

Intelligence will not be focused only on competition but also will be deeply involved in better understanding the customers. So practically, Marketing Research will be engaging closely with the Intelligence and structurally will not behave remotely by itself as was for a long time.

We have spent a long time on discussions about how better to build the interface between Strategic Planning and Intelligence. Basically, SP is heavily involved with gathering and analyzing external intelligence for its specific purposes, but its inputs were stayed remote and were not shared with other stakeholders. We have reached the conclusion that after upgrading the CI unit, it will be working closely with SP, which will serve for the benefit of the organization.

As a result of this exciting journey, and according to the new framework of the Intelligence, the Intelligence has to report directly to the CMO in order to get the proper attention from other executives in the Marketing division and beyond.

Our discussions have been taken around three basics of Intelligence Management: First- Intelligence demand. Second- Intelligence supply and third- Intelligencer governance. Each decision and guidance along the way to upgrade the Intelligence in the corporation was taken through the understanding of all three basics mentioned above.  

And a final word- The CMO and me are now shared commonly that successful implementation of Intelligence Management systematically is the right way to respond to competitive threats and market challenges. The ball is in the hands of the CMO and his team and it is up to his commitment and managerial skills that these directions will be met. I will still be coming over periodically to look at the process and the progress, but to respond is now in the hands of the CMO and the head of the Intelligence.  

Keywords: competition, intelligence in business, competitive intelligence, intelligence management, decision-making.

Source: Dr. Avner Barnea (Ph.D.), is a scholar and a lecturer on Competition, Entrepreneurship and Business Strategy in various MBA academic programs in Israel among them the Netanya Academic College, the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, and the MA program of the Department of Information Science, Bar Ilan University. His new book: “We Never Expected That: A Comparative Study of Failures in National and Business Intelligence” will be published in the US in August 2021.

Published: LinkedIn, 22 de julho de 2021.

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