3 Minute Read

Your enterprise can collect a tremendous amount of useful information about your markets, customers, and competition simply by assembling what your employees learn during their work day.

#1 - You hear, "Where did you get that information?" 

Sales reps are in the field talking to customers and prospects and learning what they are being told and sold by your competitors. Team members attend industry trade shows and gather heaps of potentially useful data. And, of course, some employees’ primary role is gathering this information.

Your folks routinely gather useful information about market trends and your competitive landscape simply by performing their routine job duties and living their lives. Some of this information will not be available on news sites or from any other external information source.

When employees ask about a source of information, it is often a sign of low data visibility within the organization.

Ideally your coworkers want to and will share this information with the rest of the company, giving you a competitive edge.  

But is their sharing truly with the “rest of the company,” or is it “just with their own small team”? Too often the answer is “just with their own small team.”

#2 - You search your email for CI

Many times, strategically useful information is siloed in a small corner (or Inbox) of the company, totally invisible to the rest of the enterprise.

This has less to do with bad intentions or interdepartmental rivalry and more to do with the lack of a system for easy sharing of information across your enterprise. This issue is common amongst new CI practices as they mature.

Maybe the sales team that covers a single vertical is diligently putting everything it learns about your top competitors into SharePoint. 

Maybe the rest of the sales team has access to this information. 

Maybe it doesn’t.

Perhaps the marketing team is diligently putting everything it learns about key industry trends into Dropbox. 

Dropbox is overflowing with useful information that the sales team could perhaps use, but it can’t because it doesn’t even know the information exists (and it might not have access to it even if it did know it existed.)

#3 - You have multiple cloud storage accounts

Maybe the CI team itself stores and tracks information in a shared Google Drive. It may use this information in the reports it pulls together for the executive team, but the information is not available to the sales team member who is trying to land a difficult account.

Your team members are all working toward the same company goals, but the useful information they gather is often siloed and inaccessible to other team members. So, actionable information isn’t found by those who can use it, and various departments end up duplicating each others’ efforts.

Knowledge management is a part of the solution

One way that world class CI teams solve these challenges is by using a knowledge management tool that gathers internally developed information into a single location that is accessible to those who could use it. 

No siloes.

Knowledge management increases information sharing within your company and reduces wasted opportunities, missed insights, and duplicated efforts.

But even having a great knowledge management tool isn’t enough, on its own, for your company to make the best possible decisions.

Why?

Because using the knowledge your own team has been able to gather is necessary, but not sufficient.

Read More: BI, CI, and KM - What's the Difference?

You also need to be looking at the information available through external sources and third-party providers, including news articles, press releases, SEC filings, job ads, stock prices, and more -- in short, all publicly available information about your industry and competitors.

Your competitive strategy requires both internal and external data sources

It is impossible to make great business decisions without taking this externally available information into account, and the right CI software tool will automate and organize the information gathered, making it easy for your team to access while also allowing them more time to analyze and draw insights from it.

Ideally, your CI team will be looking at both external information and the information your own employees have been able to gather.

But having two repositories of information, a knowledge management solution and a competitive intelligence solution, is not an ideal situation.

It still requires your team to toggle back and forth between two systems and try to put it all together. This not only isn’t easy - it’s inefficient, and your company likely won’t get the full benefit from the information in either system. 

It is almost certain that insights will be missed and information omitted from your analysis and reporting.

Build one source of CI data

Building a single information source for CI requires a purpose-built tool, one that seamlessly integrates both the information you get from external sources and the knowledge your people gather into a single place. Having a “single source of truth” where all your external competitive intelligence data and all your internally gathered information is seamlessly consolidated makes it easy for your team to access and analyze.

That’s what we’ve done with our Knowledge360® product. It is a SaaS based competitive intelligence tool with an integrated knowledge management component. It's not the only CI tool that will support your competitive strategy -- our 2020 Buyers Guide reviews several -- but it IS the only CI software tool that combines CI and knowledge management in one single platform.

Reach out to learn more about how Knowledge360® can help your company and CI team maximize externally gathered information and internally developed knowledge.

Book a K360 Demo