What is it competitive intelligence?
Competitive Intelligence is the process of gathering, analysing, interpreting and communicating strategically valuable information about a company’s sector of activity and competitors, and reporting it to the managerial staff in order for them to make decisions in time.
Competitive Intelligence is not market analysis, but a research where facts and evidences valuable for the competitiveness of the organization are identified, and subsequent measures are determined, all on the basis of strategic trends currently shaping the company’s surroundings or expected to do so in the future.
It is regulated by the Spanish standard UNE 166006:2011 “R&D Management: System of Technological Surveillance and Competitive Intelligence”, mainly focused on deploying these kind of systems in companies, research centres and innovation support organisms in order to improve their strengths and commercial potential.
The Competitive Intelligence process is cyclic and continuous. The first step is to identify those sources of information that are strategic for the organization, then automate them by integrating them into a surveillance platform to gather like this all the valuable and useful information in an agile way. Once gathered, all the information has to be analysed and the resulting conclusions broadcasted to the company managers so they can be taken into account when the time to make strategic decisions comes. Although gathered information is public, how it is used internally is itself confidential and should be protected.
Competitive Intelligence is a strategic decision-support tool that allows companies to learn about their business environment through surveillance, and about their internal environment through knowledge management.
It is based on knowing how to identify what information is needed, and where and how it should be sought, to subsequently select the appropriate information, subject it to a specific treatment and analysis and thus be able to apply the results.
A quality Competitive Intelligence System must be market oriented, to identify which of the numerous forces present in the environment are the most important, and to allow a deep understanding of the goals, objectives and plans pursued by the organization.
A correct treatment of the information through Competitive Intelligence can yield great benefits in the medium and long terms by enabling managers to make the right decision at any given moment.
Implementation example: trend analysis
Following market trends and being aware of the constant changes that occur in the business environment can represent a competitive advantage for many SMEs. In addition, it can make the difference between success and failure for some businesses.
From Inova, we would like to offer you some of the most important global trends that have been detected for SMEs during this year, which we consider meaningful for Spanish SMEs.
No longer just for big companies, Big Data is having an impact in the SME’s sector. SMEs will be able to enjoy the availability of huge amounts of data coming through different channels and providing insights about customer behaviour.
Cloud services are on the rise, enabling SMEs to perform an agile management of their business information, resources, and strategies. Cloud-based tools automate and simplify many business processes, allowing companies to redesign their work flows, improve cost-effectiveness, and achieve a more productive time management.
SMEs are rapidly adapting to mobile payments. Mobile payment systems are relatively affordable and allow customers to shop wherever they are. This payment method not only prevents clients from losing their wallets, but also supplements online shopping and creates a much more flexible environment for clients.
In coming years, reaching out to greater online audiences will be another key trend. This means that businesses will have to invest heavily in customising the messages they send to their customers. Setting up personalised sections where users can find tailored information is a good way of getting a positive reaction from potential clients.
Banks are very reluctant to deal with small companies or simply too slow delivering their services. As a result, there is a growing sector of alternative financing services, better suited for SMEs and entrepreneurs.
Cybersecurity has become a controversial issue given the rise of online business. SMEs must prioritise data security, intellectual property protection and security measures for their platforms. Being aware of security issues and having a trained staff is crucial when protecting sensitive information.