You are invited to our inaugural Summit of our CI Fellows 20/20 Summit Series, which is on Sept 15-16. These virtual summits are designed for experienced competitive intelligence practitioners and users to drive into timely issues, practice challenges, and complex questions. It’s also a chance to connect with thought leaders, our colleagues in the field around the world, and people who solve problems.
For our first Summit theme, we’re focusing on “The Future of CI: From 2020 to What’s Next?” We’ll tackle the complex challenges we’ve been facing across sectors, geography, and functions, and look ahead to how we prepare our practices for future conditions, changes, and challenges. This event is also a celebration of CI. As we look at where we are and where we’re headed, we honor 30 years of our first Competitive Intelligence Fellows. We’ll take a look at what we’ve learned from the past 30 years of CI practices, evolution, and innovations.
Source: Craig Fleisher.
SCIP: Which CI methods/techniques provide the most ROI for medium size organizations?
BEN: Tracking industry/competitor growth, partnerships, pricing, product developments, or technological advancements over time are all worthwhile and can be done without much cost, if any, using basic online tracking tools. Use that intelligence to populate competitive customer journey maps, simple benchmarking tables, comparative growth charts, and competitive product walkthroughs/teardowns. A few selected strategic frameworks such as the VRIO framework are very helpful in structuring how competitors stack up across areas of competitive advantage.
In medium-sized organizations, the biggest cost when doing CI is the time it takes to do these things, however. Most organizations aren’t particularly interested in investing time in CI, usually because they already think they understand who they compete with and on what basis. So far in my career, I’ve never found an organization that understood these things as accurately as they initially thought. Worse, each manager in the organization thinks about competition in conflicting ways and there is a battle of competitive perspectives. Real competitor understanding takes time. By investing even a little bit of time in assessing and analyzing the core resources and capabilities of your competitors, you can produce insights that will drive better and more impactful decisions. Drive effectiveness and not just efficiency.
SCIP: What are some low-to-no cost digital solutions to address information overload in CI? It’s important to use tools to reduce the time spent gathering information, but stakeholders aren’t always ready to open the checkbook.
BEN: I’d first say that it does depend on what type of intelligence is relevant to your organization, team, or project focus. I often find—both for myself and the organizations that I work with—that information overload occurs when we don’t know what we are looking for or aren’t sure where to get started. Are we looking for a general overview of the industry? Consumer insights? Financial data? News on M&A activity? Updates on where competitors are expanding? Competitive partnership deals signed? Data is only useful as far as you can analyze it and act on it. Start by carefully narrowing your focus and building a view of what is actionable for your organization. Do you really need to track everything there is to know about twenty different competitors or are there two or three players that your organization needs to care about as strategic priorities?
Once you have your key questions or areas of inquiry roughly categorized use Google Alerts, webpage/content change trackers (such as Visualping or Wachete), Moat (for digital advertising), industry reports/PR, job listings, and competitor’s own online materials to track what is going on and begin to build a framework for understanding the competitor and its place in the industry. If you have the right questions, even basic tools can be very powerful and predictive. As you start to see which competitors are growing faster, pose hypotheses or ask new questions about what is happening and use these to narrow how you use your tools to collect data that are even more relevant. If competitors act differently than you expected, ask new questions.
Even in complex industries or multi-industry corporations there are usually a few competitors that matter more than almost all the others. Do deep research on those players, and then use industry, technology, process, or consumer-specific questions to categorize the areas of interest across the rest of the competitive landscape. Assess each major player by their key resources and capabilities, zooming in with targeted research for more detail on how those resources and capabilities are being leveraged throughout the value chain. I often find that a key technology or process being used by a competitor is what is truly threatening, and I’ll start tracking the specific uses of those elements over other noisier developments.
SCIP: What specific areas in digital transformation/innovation can CI professionals assist in and through what type of deliverables?
BEN: Most companies are compulsive replicators and not true innovators, even when they think they are innovating like crazy. Why? Because true innovation is risky and most (but not all) organizations are reasonably averse to serious risk. Sometimes copying competitors can be a great strategy (Uber is a good example) but often it may just seem like innovation or digital transformation without a plausible route to financial returns or market growth. Many companies will leap in to avoid being left behind. Sadly, many executives expect analysis and strategy to leap after them.
CI professionals can help guide companies through this process by understanding competitive forces and the different market landscapes better than anyone else. Get down into the details where most others don’t have the time or energy to examine. Look carefully at the value you are creating for the customer and analyze where you can enhance that value through digitization or through greater access to new customers. See where newer methods of intelligence gathering such as location data, credit card aggregation, or geospatial data can be used to understand the competitive landscape with greater fidelity. Understand the rates of change and growth in your industry (and adjacent industries) and present those findings in various ways. Use creative charts, memos, maps, industry reports, product walkthroughs/teardowns, and images to tell your story. By providing a deeper level of data, analysis, and understanding that is missing from a generic approach to strategy, CI professionals can come to the table with insights that drive growth and create value.
SCIP: What tools do you recommend for gathering information about competitor messaging and activity from online sources?
BEN: I like to look at company websites and content marketing, executive/leader press interviews, and marketing communications. Most of that can be done with Google Alerts, Moat (for advertising), and social media tools like LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Study your competitors’ marketing communications and look clearly at what they are trying to tell prospective customers. Do those claims stack up against market data? What do they think is distinctive or differentiated about their brand, product, or service? Do their marketing claims fit with what the CEO is saying about the company and the competition?
SCIP: What are a few effective tactics for field sales reps to use to gather competitive information from their prospects?
BEN: To begin with, figure out what competitive information collected from prospects would be useful in delivering results. Formulate open-ended questions around that inquiry area. If you think (or know) that awareness is the biggest company/product challenge you face, ask “how did you first hear about us?” or “where did you first learn about our product?” Listen to their full response. They will often freely mention competitors that they think are relevant. If product changes are more actionable, ask “which feature is most important to you?” or “are there features you wish we had that other products offer?” Responses will vary from prospect to prospect and scaling these efforts can be challenging, but most customers are very willing to give up this information if asked correctly and if you give them the chance to share how they feel without burdening them with quantitative structure.
If you are pressed for time/resources, only ask these questions when talking to a selection of strategic accounts. I’m constantly surprised by how few sales reps actually ask me these kinds of questions! Instead of making the prospect feel as though the rep is mining for information, asking them usually makes the prospect feel that the rep is more involved in the sales process and actually cares about the outcome of the sale.
Source: SCIP – BEN WUNDERMAN – RINGCENTRAL
Ben is a marketing, strategy, and competitive intelligence director with extensive experience driving rapid growth for innovative companies. An expert in using competitive intelligence and empirically-driven marketing strategy to drive rapid growth and sustainable competitive advantage, Ben has worked collaboratively across business strategy, marketing, sales, product marketing, brand development, communications, product developments, partnerships, and regulatory affairs in autonomous vehicle technology, ridehailing, delivery logistics, and unified communications. He is currently Director of Competitive Intelligence for RingCentral.
David Paul Gregg invented the CD, which is amazing and changed history. But you’ve probably never heard of him because CDs aren’t difficult to make, and lost relevance over time.
Most things work this way. As soon as a smart product or business idea becomes popular, the urge to copy it and commoditize it is the strongest force economics can unleash. Jeff Bezos summed this up when he said “Your margin is my opportunity.”
The key to business and investing success isn’t finding an advantage. It’s having a sustainable advantage. Something that others either can’t or aren’t willing to copy once your idea is exposed and patents expire.
Finding something others can’t do is nearly impossible. Intelligence is not a sustainable source of competitive advantage because the world is full of smart people, and a lot of what used to count as intelligence is now automated.
That leaves doing something others aren’t willing to do as the top source of sustainable competitive advantage.
Here are five big ones.
The ability to learn faster than your competition
Someone with a 110 IQ but the ability to recognize when the world changes will always beat the person with a 140 IQ and rigid beliefs. The world is filled with smart people who get nowhere because their intelligence was acquired 20 or 30 years ago in a vastly different world than we live in today. And since intelligence has a lot of sunk costs – college is expensive and hard, for example – people tend to cling to what they learn, even while the world around them constantly changes. So the ability to realize when you’re wrong and when things changed can be more effective than an ability to solve problems that are no longer relevant. This seems obvious until you watch, say, Kodak or Sears trying to solve 1980’s problems in the 2000s.
Marc Andreessen promotes the idea of “strong beliefs, weakly held,” which I love. Few things are more powerful than strongly believing in an idea (focus) but being willing to let go of it when it’s proven wrong or outdated (humility).
The ability to empathize with customers more than your competition
Forty-seven percent of mutual fund mangers do not personally own any of their own fund, according to Morningstar. That’s shocking. But I suspect something similar happens across most businesses.
What percentage of McDonald’s executives frequent their own restaurant as a legitimate customer interested in the chain’s food, rather than a fact-finding mission? Few, I imagine. How many times has the CEO of Delta Airlines been bumped from a flight, or had his bags lost by the airline? Never, I assume.
The inability to understand how your customers experience your product almost guarantees an eventual drift between the problems a business tries to solve and the problems customers need solved. Here again, a person with a lower IQ who can empathize with customers will almost always beat someone with a higher IQ who can’t put themselves in customers’ shoes. This was apparent in the recent election, when understanding the electorate’s mood far exceeded the power of traditional campaign strategies.
It’s also why the best writers are voracious readers. They know exactly what readers want and don’t want because they themselves are customers of content.
The ability to communicate more effectively than your competition
Business success doesn’t necessarily go to those with the best product. It goes to whoever is the most persuasive. George Soros may be one of the brightest minds in finance, but he would fail miserably as a financial advisor. Not one person in ten who reads his books understands what the hell he’s talking about.
Most business edges are found at the intersection of trust and simplicity. Both rely on the ability to tell customers what and why you’re doing something before losing their attention.
This is one of the crazy things that gets harder to do the smarter you are. There’s a bias called “the curse of knowledge,” which is the inability to realize that other people with less experience than you have don’t see the world through the same lens you do. I saw this firsthand when a financial advisor told an utter novice grandmother that a higher bond allocation (which she wanted) didn’t make sense “because of the slope of the yield curve.” She had no idea what this meant, and told me experiences like this eroded trust since she couldn’t distinguish her confusion from his obfuscation.
The willingness to fail more than your competition
Having no appetite for being wrong means you’ll only attempt things with high odds of working. And those things tend to be only slight variations on what you’re already doing, which themselves are things that, in a changing world, may soon be obsolete.
Here’s Bezos again: “If you double the number of experiments you do per year, you’re going to double your inventiveness.”
The key is creating a culture that allows you to fail often without ruin. This means not docking employees for trying things that don’t work, and not betting so much on a single idea that its failure could cripple the company.
Amazon and Google, I’m convinced, are successful because they’re better and more willing to fail than any other company. Accepting lots of small failures is the only way they’re able to eventually find a few things that take off.
The willingness to wait longer than your competition
Rewards sit on a spectrum: Small, unpredictable ones in the short run, big, higher-odd ones if you wait longer.
It’s amazing how much of a competitive advantage can be found by simply having the disposition to wait longer than your competitors.
Waiting longer gives you time to learn from, and correct, early mistakes. It reduces randomness and pushes you closer to measurable outcomes. It lets you focus on the parts of a problem that matter, rather than the chaos and nonsense that comes in the short run from people’s unpredictable emotions.
If you can wait five years when your competitors are only willing to wait two, you have an advantage that is both powerful and uncorrelated to intelligence or skill.
Which is about as close to a free lunch as it gets in business.
This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.
“É o valor e não o volume, a força motriz da inteligência. A Inteligência Competitiva – IC é a informação tão bem analisada que já pode servir de base para decisões fundamentais. Levar a informação a tal estágio é o que constitui o valor.”
Leonard Fuld – Prefácio – O Milênio da Inteligência Competitiva de Jerry P. Miller, Bookman, 2002.
In this article: COVID-19 isn’t the first major disruptive event our world has seen, nor will it be our last. In times like these, historical intelligence and traditional and organizational structures are of little use. To thrive, companies must adapt their cultures and strategies to not just survive regular disruption, but to profit from it.
While COVID-19 is having a dramatic effect on society, it isn’t the first major disruptive event our world has seen, nor will it be our last. Society’s response to prior disruptions has resulted in better managed supply chains, critical infrastructure redundancies, and faster, more responsive and robust care facilities.
There are many different scenarios that might have significant impacts on consumer and business sentiment, behavior, and demand. Depending on severity of a second wave of virus affecting the population in the next 6-12 months, there might either be sustained reductions in major investments and capital expenditures or a huge pent-up demand “spending spree” causing a spike in consumer products, business infrastructure, and investment spending.
There will likely be a hybrid of these two scenarios depending on industry. Whatever the direction, there will be challenges several orders of magnitude bigger than what we are used to dealing with.
When this passes what position will your organization be in to respond to (and anticipate) the global demands of your customers amongst such uncertainty? Moreover, how will you differentiate from the competition?
While predictive data analytics can help anticipate shifting customer behavior, is this enough to address these disruptive events and to maximize return while minimizing the pain of the economic fallout? This requires organizations to have an operating model that accommodates an extreme level of uncertainty while delivering a fast-response competitive strategy.
SETTING THE PLAYING FIELD
All of our historical intelligence generated to date is almost completely useless. In a relatively “steady state” setting, historical insights can provide some value on how organizations behave, industries evolve, and reflect some general rules governing resource utilization, competitiveness and growth.
In current conditions, virtually all business and competitive historical analyses are not applicable.
On September 10th, 2011, organizations thought they had a handle on exactly how things could potentially play out, how to position themselves to best address market pressures and industry fluctuations and how to maximize investment return.
Then September 11th happened and everything that was generated up to that time was completely useless.We are essentially in the same scenario today. Much of the competitive and market intelligence, customer insights, market dynamics, global economic scenarios, and all related intelligence & insights from only a few weeks ago are no longer applicable to a vast majority of anticipated scenarios.
Additionally, the speed of disruption is accelerated by business uncertainty, consumer fear, and difficulty discerning fact from fiction. From this, a common truth rises to the top.
MANAGING THROUGH CONTINUOUS DISRUPTION
Both 9/11 and the COVID-19 pandemic are far-reaching “upheavals” that have a huge effect on global dynamics. But aren’t the business and market disruption dynamics that are experienced on nearly a daily basis really “mini” upheavals of their own?
The 4th Industrial Revolution has created disruption sufficient to render historical analytics obsolete in relatively short order. Unfortunately, businesses underinvest in trying to understand and predict fallout from normal business disruptions.
And that is exactly my point – in order to have a competitive advantage, strategy executives need to treat almost every day as a potentially highly-disruptive scenario to map and plan in order to be in front of a business disruption.
Otherwise, businesses lag behind, waiting to see how things will evolve before taking action.While many companies have disaster plans readily available, there are extreme cost pressures that inhibit adequately preparing for lower probability disruptions, or ones with a frequency that is hard to determine.
Moreover, companies often focus on the familiar threats because they have systems in place to monitor known risks. This adds very little value to long-term planning when faced with unfamiliar threats, and, worse, it can lead to organizations having to make quick and sometimes, inappropriate decisions under duress.
There are several approaches to managing this. Some companies stress crisis management as a separate but related process that gets organizations quickly out of a crisis state while working to sustain normal business operations.
Alternatively (and sometimes concurrently), companies can take steps to establish a temporary stop-gap to the new normal. These activities move into play usually after some aspect of the crisis has been resolved. This methodology outlines a sequential series of activities and behavioral impacts to do “damage control” during the disruptive event, while putting in a robust plan to embrace the “New Normal” after the event. Building this bridge to the “New Normal” is key to disruption preparedness, and requires a seamless integration between intelligence and strategy, regularly informed by data analytics and modeling performed on a continuous basis.
ALL UNCERTAINTY ISN’T CREATED EQUALHowever, there is a level of what McKinsey1 calls “residual uncertainty”: information that is still unknown, and that is dependent on the outcome of circumstances outside of the organization’s control, i.e., government policy, performance of new technology, or anticipation of an immunization and protective measures to address a viral pandemic. To address this, this uncertainty falls into 4 categories:
A Level 1 scenario suggests that the uncertainty is small enough that a general forecast based on analytics and known parameters can be reasonably assessed with minimal risk. This is usually done through the traditional tools in a Data Scientist’s toolbox, market research or competitive analysis.
In a Level 2 scenario, the environment is a bit more complex and uncertainty is higher. This is where probability factors are incorporated to help assist the likelihood of which scenario might play out given various outcomes.
In a Level 3 environment, little is known about the outcome; possibly a few key endpoints or milestones. But now, discrete trends or patterns emerge from the traditional analyses. Strategists use Scenario Planning and Discrete Predictive Analytics to help segment potential roadmaps and develop a suitable narrative around supporting a resultant strategy.
Level 4 is a worse-case situation, where it is impossible to identify potential outcomes, let alone scenarios. Additionally, there could be subsequent variables still yet to be encountered which could amplify the degree of uncertainty even more. Here, the number of tools is few. However, there are some effective techniques that can help reduce uncertainty. By studying how analogous markets developed in other level 4 situations, by determining key attributes of winners and losers and identifying the strategies they employed, strategists can leverage actions, develop patterns, and draw key conclusions on near-duplicate experiences.
BUILDING AN ORGANIZATION THAT CAN WEATHER UNCERTAINTY
So how does one continuously prepare for these highly disruptive environments with varying levels of uncertainty and moreover employ an Intelligence System that can better anticipate global shocks? McKinsey suggests that; “At the heart of the traditional approach to strategy lies the assumption that executives, by applying a set of powerful analytic tools, can predict the future of any business accurately enough to choose a clear strategic direction for it.”
These different levels of uncertainty and the corresponding course of actions are only one piece of the puzzle. Many of these tools and actions require an appropriate organizational structure, culture and mindset instilled through all levels of the company that aligns to this proactive strategy.
Otherwise, the result is a siloed approach, where only certain functions within the company understand the level of urgency and are aligned to the direction. In these cases, we see infighting, fiefdom building, and multiple “edicts” on organizational direction. Ultimately this leads to the demise of many companies that cannot (or will not) align to a single course of action.Effective organizations must look at this issue through two lenses:
- Anticipating and understanding ramifications of disruption
- Developing and sustaining an infrastructure to respond to this new landscape
While there are many complexities to this, what follows are a few fundamentals that must be internalized, disseminated, and acted upon to ensure an effective overall company strategy:
DISRUPTIONS ARE THE NEW NORM
Since the 4th Industrial Revolution has taken a foothold in business economics, disruption take hold very quickly, are highly impactful, and are essentially continuous. Adapting to and embracing these disruptions goes against human nature – many resist change and uncertainty, and resort to fear, uncertainty and doubt.
This can be amplified by sensationalism, exaggeration, and a lack of clarity between fact and fiction.Companies should employ several mechanisms – such as “trend spotting” to quickly assess rapid shifts in business direction, technology usage, or supply chain sourcing – in order to identify early fluctuations that may impact not only a business model, but the industry sector as a whole.
SCENARIO PLANNING & PREDICTIVE ANALYSES NEED TO HAPPEN CONTINUOUSLY
Scenario Planning2 can provide a variety of perspectives for executive leadership that were not previously considered.
Additionally, it can highlight areas ripe for change and disruption. This focus can aid in a preemptive push for change by the firm that could redefine the firm’s industry position.Scenario Planning needs to be generated and played out on multiple time horizons, segmented by business function.
Another study by McKinsey3 suggests employing “plan-ahead” teams that can develop strategic crisis-action plans that guide organizations though stages of the disruption.
Plan-ahead teams should be charged with collecting forward-looking intelligence, developing scenarios, and identifying the options and actions needed to act tactically and strategically. Unlike a typical strategy team, they will plan across multiple time horizons on a continuous basis to ensure operational readiness and maximum flexibility.
Finally, scenario planning reminds executives of the relationships between all industries. Industries are interconnected, much like a spider web.
As James Bezjian writes, “When there is movement in one area of the web, the entire web shakes. If a portion of the web collapses or breaks, the entire web is compromised and must be discarded.”However, performing such planning exercises in a manual, batch format is time consuming and inefficient given the urgency surrounding disruption.
The lack of scale, speed and application have slowed traditional business intelligence from driving real business value.
Thankfully we have achieved important technology milestones where applying predictive analytics (mostly likely, through Augmented or Artificial Intelligence applications) can be a game-changer. The ability to run millions of regression models with different combinations to identify key influencers and develop hypothetical scenarios to predict their impacts is instrumental in driving strategy models best suited for continuous disruption.
DATA ACQUISITION, ANALYTICS, & STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT NEED TO BE FLUID
Data generation and consumption needs to be performed as frequently as possible. In the current pandemic, there is new content every day around infection rates, vaccination studies, and the impact of quarantining on “the curve”. All of this dynamic information has to be synthesized continuously to effectively understand predictive outcomes and subsequent potential roadmaps.Business scenarios can change just as quickly. Major disruptions can come from the unseen forces of earthquakes, floods and viral pandemics, but also by the kid in the basement of their grandmother’s house who has found a different and more enticing way to digitize another form of social interaction on the internet. These changes can literally occur overnight and have an immediate, global impact on entire industries.
Ascertaining actionable insights from the exabytes of data that are generated every day is a daunting proposition. In order to garner any value, it’s imperative to utilize AI tools and knowledge management systems to manage this vast source of data. These tools can not only perform complex analytics on the data itself, but can regularly monitor the data over time, thus benefiting the Data Scientist with great insight into potential trends and roadmaps that can be predictive, and ultimately, prescriptive in nature.
Source: Paul Santilli is a 24 year veteran of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and currently leads the HPE Worldwide (WW) Industry Intelligence & Strategy Organization for the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Solutions Business. He is a recognized thought leader in Data Analytics Modeling around Industry Intelligence, Insights and Strategy.
Paul also serves as Chairman of the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) Board of Directors Executive Committee and is active in several advisory roles to industry conferences and forums. Paul presents worldwide on Intelligence, Innovation, and Strategy in keynote and executive audiences, and has published numerous papers in industry and academic journals related to Intelligence Modeling, Innovation, Disruption, and Strategy.
Prior to HPE, Paul contributed 10 years at Apple Computer in various leadership roles around Quality, Operations and Product Development. Paul has a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s degree in Engineering and Business from Stanford University.
Do you have a comprehensive view of your ecosystem? Meaning, do you know your market, customers, competitors, suppliers, trends and more? One way you can have this 360-degree view is with competitive intelligence (CI). And according to the Crayon 2020 State of Competitive Intelligence Report, a whopping 94% of businesses are investing in CI.
The good news is you don’t have to be a large enterprise to use CI. This is because digital technology is allowing businesses of all sizes to use CI. And as more small businesses establish themselves as eCommerce retailers or add it to their existing brick and mortar outlet, CI is becoming increasingly more important.
Ellie Mirman, CMO at Crayon, explains how the changing competitive landscape demands CI solutions. In the emailed release for the report, Mirman says it is much easier for competitors to go to market and innovate, which is also changing the CI landscape.
Adding, “Automation, data proliferation, measurement tools, and so much more have transformed the way businesses can capture and analyze their competitors’ movements and take action to get ahead. Our goal with this study is to share best practices and trends in competitive intelligence to enable CI professionals to continue to grow in their roles and have a greater impact on their organizations.”
Competitive Intelligence Statistics
The availability of all this technology is making businesses more competitive. In fact, 90% of the respondents in the survey say their industry is now more competitive.
The State of Competitive Intelligence survey was carried out between November 11, 2019 through December 15, 2019. More than 1,000 people took part in the survey during that time. The respondents are full-time CI professionals (29%), part-time role as CI (46%), stakeholders consuming CI deliverables (16%), and consultants who work at CI agencies (9%).
The good news is more organizations are realizing the benefits of CI. While only a little more than half (57%) have CI teams of two or more, it is 20% more than just two years ago (37%). This is an important metric because businesses are recognizing the level of competition in their industry.
Almost half or 48% say their industry has become much more competitive in the past three years. While large enterprises face the most competition, according to the report, everyone is facing it. Businesses of all sizes say they have seen an increase in the number of competitors go up from 25 to 29 year over year.
When it comes to collecting the data from competitors, research is the most time-consuming task of CI for 36% of the respondents. However, the report says this number is down because of CI automation tools in the market. But the time they save is now being used to analyzing more data and communicating the information to their clients.
As to the top source of CI data, 98% of the respondents say the competitor’s website is the go-to source. Word of mouth by customers and employees and social media accounts are also resources.
Competitive Intelligence in the Information Age
The primary goal of CI is to leverage market and competitor information to gain a competitive advantage. This is accomplished by capturing, analyzing, and driving activities related to a company’s competitive landscape.
Some of the data include your competition’s strategies, businesses, movements, customers they serve, and the marketplace in which they operate. With the advent of the internet, eCommerce and digital marketing it’s much easier to see what your competition is doing.
Even though this information is readily available, Crayon says, “Simply monitoring and reacting to competitors won’t cut it.” You and the experts you hire have to use the insights you gain from the information along with other tools to drive growth for your company and capitalize on any disruption in the market.
According to Crayon, the report is a resource for helping the competitive and marketing intelligence community. In the release, Cam Mackey, Executive Director of SCIP (Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals) explains the importance of the report.
Mackey says, “By providing a benchmark against current practices and insight into best practices, this report is an important resource to help improve the value that we bring to our organizations every day.”
Source: Michael Guta is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends focusing on business systems, gadgets and other small business news. He has a background in information and communications technology coordination. Published: Jan 14, 2020 Last Updated: Jan 21, 2020 by Michael Guta In Small Business News.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF, AND A COUPLE INTERESTING PROJECTS YOU’VE WORKED ON.
I live in Charleston, SC. I moved here just a short while ago. It is a dream come true for me. I am a serious baker and have taken professional coursework and have done some professional baking for local restaurants. I’m an animal lover and have experience breeding and showing dogs, and breeding pet birds. I love to camp and have a large 5th wheel camper that I’ve used to tour the eastern seaboard. I’m also an amateur historian and huge travel buff. I’m especially interested in European history.
Professionally, I worked in the Property & Casualty Insurance industry for about 20 years. I came up through the industry in Marketing, Corporate Communications and Business Strategy. About 16 years ago, I entered the Competitive Intelligence industry. I was in a client-facing role, where I created client relationships, built research plans, and provided analysis and consulting to primarily the Fortune 500 group. I’ve been a part of SCIP since that time.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE GREATEST JOYS (AND CHALLENGES) IN YOUR WORK?
As a member of SCIP, I’ve served on the board for about 3 years. I’ve only missed a few annual conferences and have conducted sessions at several events. I’ve also authored for SCIP publications. In addition to SCIP, I’ve served on two other boards: 1) The Society of Insurance Research (SIR) and, 2) The Communications Board for the Insurance Information Institute. In 2009, I created the first Life/Health track for the SIR and co-chaired the annual conference that year.
I turned 60 this year and find what I love most about my work is the interaction with the hundreds of people I have the chance to speak with each year. They are across a large number of industries, job functions and geographies. On any given day I might be speaking with people in the U.S., Canada, France, Japan, etc.
Working in my line of work is incredibly challenging. You have to learn very early on in your career how to move from one industry to another and from one type of research study to another from hour to hour, and day-to-day. You also have to quickly become enough of an industry expert, for each of your client industries, to be fully effective. If you are a student of business, and enjoy helping others to succeed, it is a great job.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU’VE DONE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE (OR A PRIOR ONE) THAT YOU’RE PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?
I once had the opportunity to be part of a small corporate team that raised $1M for Cancer research. After completion, we were flown into California where the Cancer Research facility (City of Hope) is located. They work to find cures for Cancers for which there is little hope. We met children who were not long for this world, and doctors who are trying desperately to find a cure for their rare form of Cancer. We visited a beauty salon and spoke with women who were going through chemo treatments and have lost all their hair. The salon helped them to feel and look prettier in makeup and natural wigs. It was an incredibly humbling and heart wrenching trip. But it felt so good to have the chance to play a part in helping future children and others to win their Cancer battles. It was one of the highlights of my life.
CAREER ADVICE & LIFEHACKS
WHAT’S BEEN THE BEST PIECE OF CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
It came from my Mother. She taught us we could do anything we wanted. So, I did. I never knew I couldn’t. Even when everyone around me said I couldn’t. I didn’t pay attention. She drilled so much confidence in me that I was impenetrable. The second-best piece came from my Father. He said, “Put a price on your head, and that is what people will pay.” What he meant was know your true value and never accept less in payment for your work.
WHAT PRODUCTIVITY TIPS OR LIFEHACKS DO YOU OFTEN USE?
Productivity-wise, electronically log everything that you can, because you will forget. Prioritize everything to avoid working on the tasks you only enjoy. Use something like Outlook’s Task feature. I keep on task, and manage priorities, very effectively this way. Lifehack – Finding happiness takes work. It’s already hard enough, so push all toxic people and toxic workplaces out of your life. It’s not you, it’s them.
HOW HAS SCIP HELPED YOUR CAREER?
Do you have an hour? The association has exposed me to so many superb professionals. Many that are the best at what they do within their industries, both across SCIP’s leadership and our membership. From attendance at the annual conference through to utilizing the resources online, I am always growing and learning. By volunteering to speak, author and serve on the board, my abilities in these skillsets have much improved, which in turn has helped me to grow significantly as a professional. There is so much to learn, and when you own your own Research and Strategy Consultancy, the sooner you can learn more about what there is to understand across industries, job functions, and corporate objectives, the more effective you will be on behalf of your clients. There is no better way for me accomplish this than through SCIP.
Another enormous benefit are the networking opportunities it creates. What a lot of people have not really come to know is that when you are a member of SCIP, you can participate in almost any way you would like. Just raise your hand. We are always looking for authors, presenters, coursework developers and any other type of contribution you would like to make that would benefit our membership. Never wait to be called on. Step up. We need you!
An example for me is that through our work on the Board, I’ve been helping with lots of changes that are taking place at SCIP. What the experience has taught me is some of what is involved in moving such a large ship into another lane. I’ve not had to do anything like this before and it has been such an interesting experience. It is also so rewarding to be a part of a team that will leave a positive mark on the Association for a long time to come.
WHERE ARE INTELLIGENCE AND INSIGHTS PROFESSIONALS GOING WRONG WHEN IT COMES TO INFLUENCING THE C-SUITE? WHAT ARE THEY DOING WELL?
In my view, research within an organization must be prioritized based on the organization’s strategic objectives. Within each company there are strategies within strategies that need to be built. As an intelligence and insights professional, you must be looking at the big, 20,000-foot view, as well as from within the trenches. What is the CEO’s vision? What’s the plan? Where do the biggest challenges exist? What are the needs of the various direct reports in order to accomplish their parts of the plan?
As an intelligence and insights professional, you must be looking at the big, 20,000-foot view, as well as from within the trenches.
At Valeo, the people that buy our services only do so when they are either in some type of business related pain, see potential growth opportunities that they want to consider, or due to their intensely competitive environments, must always remain on the cusp of adding new value to their customers. So, I think understanding this about my industry, can help practitioners understand where their “internal customers’” greatest needs may lie.
Keep your eye on the corporate strategy and results. By helping to achieve the CEO’s strategy through the development of an intelligence strategy that delivers the following type of intelligence will make you part of the solution: · Highly targeted · Insightful · Immediately actionable
Develop a deep understanding of that strategy, why it was developed, why do they believe in it? What do they want to accomplish? Where are the biggest challenges? Then when working with all of your internal clients, you are in a stronger position to enter discussions about strategy, versus be purely a “go to” for insights. Doing so should cause them to take notice that you have even more management/leadership potential than they may have realized.
WHAT SHOULD COMPANIES DO TO PREPARE THEMSELVES FOR THE FUTURE (E.G. TECHNOLOGY, MEGATRENDS)?
As I mentioned, many clients reach out to us because they need to keep on top of all of the innovation going on in their industries. Publicly available information doesn’t tell them all of what they need to know.
Many have new competitors regularly entering portions of their market. Often there is a focus on potential acquisitions to bring new technology into the company.
What we hear many of the leading corporate strategists asking for, both domestically and around the world, are insights such as these:
- How does the DaaS market work? We are looking at new sources of revenue and potentially selling our data as a service
- What are my competitors’ strategic plans around use of AI/BI?
- How has their use of technology driven such strong results for them relative to the rest of the industry?
- How do particular technology industries work?
- Can we/should we/and how will we build or buy into these spaces?
- We need to monitor emerging technology competitors in our space, and also prequalify some as potential acquisitions
- Where are my competitors going in terms of Smart Technologies? How will that change my customers’ demands?
- How will this impact our market share, or decline/growth in our customers’ industries?
- How can we positive change our corporate culture to the address the impact of new technologies?
I think we all agree that due to advancements in technology, the world of business is changing in a large way, and fast. Most of our roles are or will be impacted in some way. So, I would recommend you build as much knowledge as you can about what is going on in the world around the subjects of AI and Smart Technologies. And, due to the rapidness of the change, develop an ongoing monitoring system.
Source: SCIP – Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals, link.
A Walt Disney Company anunciou nesta quarta-feira, 8, que seu serviço de streaming, o Disney+, ultrapassou os 50 milhões de assinantes. O número representa mais de 23 milhões a mais do que no final do ano passado, segundo levantamento divulgado em fevereiro.
O aumento de assinaturas está ligado com a chegada do serviço de streaming em diversos países. Atualmente, o Disney+ já estreou na Reino Unido, Índia, Alemanha, Itália, Espanha, Áustria, Suíça e França. Ele é esperado para novembro no Brasil.
“Estamos realmente gratos que o Disney+ esteja ressonando com milhões em todo o mundo e acreditamos que isso é um bom presságio para a nossa expansão contínua na Europa Ocidental, no Japão e em toda a América Latina até o final deste ano”, disse Kevin Mayer, chefe de vendas diretas da Disney, em um comunicado de imprensa.
Segundo Christine McCarthy, diretora financeira da Disney, a empresa espera ainda que mais assinantes internacionais façam parte da base do serviço de streaming a partir de agora, mas reconhece o apelo de lançamentos de séries da Marvel e da Lucasfilm, produtora de filmes como Star Wars, para também atrair o público americano.
Fonte: Redação Link – O Estado de S. Paulo, 10/4/2020.