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Welcome to our Competitive Intelligence Software Comparison series! We are regularly asked by prospects and clients to help them compare different competitive intelligence software tools. So we decided to dedicate a series of articles to this very subject.

As they work through the decision-making process, we often see that the decision is less about comparing tools against each other, but really working to understand what they need from the tool itself.

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We have found that we end up becoming more of “CI Software Therapists” than salespeople during this process. Hence, this series!

You might be asking yourself: “Is it really possible to get an unbiased comparison of competitive intelligence tools from a company that makes one of those tools?”

Let me be perfectly honest with you, we have no interest in spinning our wheels trying to convince someone to use our specific competitive intelligence software tool for whom it would not be the right fit. That would be a waste of our time and a waste of yours.

So, ultimately what we end up doing during this process for prospects is working to understand what their requirements are from the tool they need, and helping them determine which tool might fit the bill (be it ours or someone else’s).

In this endeavor, we seek to be as honest as possible, as lying or portraying our tool to have features that it does not actually have only results in customer churn down the line (something none of us wants to see).

Comparing Apples to Oranges

When choosing a competitive intelligence software tool, keep in mind that you will almost never be comparing apples to apples. You should instead look at it as comparing apples to oranges.

Different tools are meant to do different things, and each has its place depending upon your organization’s needs or goals. I don’t seek to pit these software tools against each other, but instead, help you recognize which tool has what you need for your specific use case.

In fruit, apples aren’t inherently better or worse than oranges. Sometimes you are just looking for the vitamin C boost of an orange or the crunch of an apple. They serve different purposes. So do CI tools.

Comparison Factors

If you’ve read our high-level comparison article in this series, you already know about the four major comparison factors that we tend to get questions about from prospects and customers.

In our experience, there are often four very important factors that present themselves when making the decision on a competitive intelligence software product.

Don’t get me wrong, there are far more than just four factors to consider when making your choice, but for the purposes of this comparison, I will focus on the four factors that usually rise to the top in terms of importance.

Summarized briefly here, they are:

  • Pricing: The first question every prospect asks during the sales process is related to cost.
  • User Experience: Organizations are typically looking for a tool that is intuitive and easy to use.
  • Data Collection, Tagging, and Organization: Usually having software that uses automated tagging via Natural Language Processing vs. traditional manual taxonomies is very important.
  • Search Features and Functionality: Most are looking for search functions aided by AI and machine learning algorithms to help them discover new information that they may not have thought to explicitly search for, and how the AI might learn information about their needs over time.
  • Collaboration Features and Functionality: Perhaps one of the most important factors organizations consider is how well the competitive intelligence software in question supports collaboration across the organization and provides Knowledge Management capabilities.

In order to help, we will frame the comparison of the two tools below using these four primary categories.

Crayon vs. Knowledge360: Pricing

Crayon starts at $15,000 per year according to their recent entry into the HubSpot marketplace.

Knowledge360 has pricing that starts as low as $475 per user per month. You can learn more about all of Knowledge360's pricing options here.

Crayon vs. Knowledge360: User Experience

Most organizations care deeply about the experience for individual users as it often affects adoption rates and the ultimate power of the tool internally.

Organizations are typically looking for a tool that is intuitive and easy to use. They are also looking for specific features that help users work more efficiently and effectively in their role and facilitate decision making.

Looking at reviews of user experience on external review sites show that Knowledge360 and Crayon are both strongly differentiated in the area of Ease of Use.

G2 Ease of Use Comparison Ratings (as of this writing):

  • Crayon: 8.9/10 Rating
  • Knowledge360: 8.9/10 Rating

Crayon_Software_vs_Knowledge360_G2

G2 Quality of Support Comparison Ratings (as of this writing):

  • Crayon: 9.8/10 Rating
  • Knowledge360: 9.7/10 Rating

Crayon_Software_vs_Knowledge360_G2 (1)

Capterra Ease of Use Comparison Ratings (as of this writing):

  • Crayon: 4/5 Rating
  • Knowledge360: 5/5 Rating

Crayon_Intel_vs_Knowledge360_2020_Feature_and_Pricing_Comparison

In looking through reviews posted on both G2 and Capterra, we pulled some of the statements related specifically to user experience for both vendors.

Knowledge360 User Experience Quotes:

“Easy to set-up with built-in widgets and templates.” - Competitive Intelligence & Marketing Operations in Medical Devices with 1001-5000 employees on Capterra

“Once the system is set up, much of the work is automated.” - Information Technology and Services user with 201-500 employees on Capterra

“K360 is supported by an excellent customer service team.” - User in Market Research on G2

“Easy to navigate and customize.” - User in Computer Software on G2

“GUI interface / easy design makes it easy to build.” - Administrator in Electrical/Electronic Manufacturing on G2

Crayon User Experience Quotes: 

“Very clean UX and could easily understand how to operate the software without additional instructions.” - Small-Business user on G2

“Crayon is easy to navigate” - User in Computer Software on G2

“Crayon is so EASY!!” - Head of Marketing & Communications at Mid-Market company on G2

“Their staff is quick to respond and a pleasure to work with!” - Market Research Manager at Mid-Market company on G2

“The customer success offering at Crayon is great too.” - A mid-Market user on G2

The Bottom Line: Based on quotes and ratings, both Knowledge360 and Crayon offer a simple, intuitive user experience backed by a helpful and available support team.

Crayon vs. Knowledge360: Data Collection, Tagging, and Organization

Organizations also typically want to know, in deep detail, how the software can collect, organize, tag, and manage data. 

Each organization has its own idea of what is important and how they’d like to use these features, but for the most part access to relevant data sources and having software that uses automated tagging via Natural Language Processing vs. traditional manual taxonomies are both very important.

Automated Tagging

Per Crayon’s website, listed technical capabilities include:

  • Automated Data Categorization
  • Machine Learning
  • AI capabilities including allowing for “interaction with intelligence data trains the technology to surface the intelligence most important to you and your business.”

Knowledge360 employs similar technologies including:

Reviews for both tools call out the time savings that come from the automated and AI-enabled features of the platform:

“I also really like that Crayon saves tons of my time by automating research.” - A mid-Market user on G2

“The ease with which I can find, tag, and store relevant information is irreplaceable.” - Administrator in Insurance at an Enterprise organization on G2

Data Sources

Per Crayon’s website, the data sources they offer are:

  • News & events
  • Competitor website content
  • Support threads & reviews
  • Competitor social media

Cipher has partnered with premium data providers to allow users to discover, organize, and analyze competitive information from multiple sources in one place and reduce the overall spend on data and tools by up to half.  

Knowledge360 comes out-of-the box with 80% - 85% of the data CI/MI professionals need

to do their job effectively. It is also easy to add additional industry-specific data feeds through a simple RSS feed manager process.

Knowledge360® comes pre-populated with premium, timely, and accurate data covering over four million public and private organizations already integrated.  Knowledge360® offers pre-loaded data aggregated from sources including:

  • FACTSET
  • Crunchbase
  • SEC Filings (EDGAR Database)
  • Job Boards (Indeed)
  • Company Reviews (Glassdoor)
  • Livestock ticker feeds
  • Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS)
  • National Institutes of Health (clinicaltrails.gov)
  • US Patent and Trademark Office
  • Aggregated News from over 600,000 global sources
  • Customized RSS feeds and Google Alerts

The Bottom Line: Both tools have differentiated automated tagging and AI features, however, Knowledge360 offers critical 3rd party data sources out of the box while Crayon does not.

Crayon vs. Knowledge360: Search Features and Functionality

Another important feature most organizations want to understand in-depth is how searches are conducted within the tool.

They are often looking for search functions aided by AI and machine learning algorithms to help them discover new information that they may not have thought to explicitly search for, and how the AI might learn information about their needs over time.

Crayon

This is one aspect on which we will readily admit that we can’t provide great comparison information. Crayon’s website doesn’t speak specifically about their search function or technology.

What we can note is that there are certain features of the search that people note in their reviews, including the ability to save searches. Additionally, none of the reviews specifically mentions anything negative about the search capabilities in the tool.

“It's great that I can create battle cards with embedded searches that keep content up to date.” - Solutions Consultant at a Mid-Market organization on G2

“Tagging and search are great! very powerful, easy to use.” - Administrator in Computer & Network Security at an Enterprise organization on G2

“Crayon's Insights through saved searches is very helpful.” - Administrator in Computer Software Mid-Market on G2

Knowledge360®

Knowledge360® is a powerful search tool in itself. Innovative semantic search technologies, combined with our unique entity-based architecture, allows users to find exactly what they are looking for quickly as well as to discover hidden relationships within their data.  

Knowledge360®‘s advanced search features engage a semantic search function using Cipher’s own proprietary algorithms to identify and search against metadata on both internal and external data and information.  The advanced features also enable the user to perform advanced Boolean searches as well as drill down on trends through layers of filters pre-loaded into the system, further expediting their information sorting and refinement process.

Knowledge360® supports the collection and indexing of both internal and external structured and unstructured data from sources including, but not limited to, the web, subscription databases, external reports, and internal information sources, including the latest customer and competitor reports and analysis, allowing for advanced searching, filtering and quick retrieval of information whilst providing a central archive for commercial material.

The Bottom Line: We can’t give a great comparison here, but based on review comments, and the lack of negative feedback about Crayon’s search capabilities, we can surmise that both tools are most likely comparable in this regard. 

If this particular aspect is one of the most important in your comparison, we urge you to get live demonstrations of both tools and ask for specific information about search capabilities to determine which will meet your needs.

Crayon vs. Knowledge360: Collaboration Features and Functionality

Perhaps one of the most important factors organizations consider is how well the competitive intelligence software in question supports collaboration across the organization.

This includes how the tool can help physically disparate and large teams communicate and share information, the ability to layer analysis on top of data, and methods for visualizing and sharing that analysis with key stakeholders.

This factor also often includes looking at the Knowledge Management capabilities of a competitive intelligence software, as most tools focus solely on the CI function and do not include any knowledge management functionality.

Crayon

Crayon’s website does not go into great detail about the collaboration functions of their tool, stating that users are able to “discuss new developments with coworkers, save and share insights across the team by email, Slack, or PDF.” Given their focus on sales users, Crayon also has strong CRM integrations.

Additionally, some user reviews do call out that they wish certain integrations were available to make collaboration easier:

“I'd love more integrations into collaboration tools.” - Executive Sponsor in Computer & Network Security at a Small-Business on G2.

However, many reviewers do note that some of the sales-specific features like battle cards are great for sales-specific collaboration efforts.

“Collaboration with the sales team unlocks a new way to do competitive intelligence” - Product Marketing at a Mid-Market organization on G2

Knowledge360®

The knowledge management and collaboration capabilities within Knowledge360® allow users to better interact between regions and functions, providing increased information-sharing capabilities, maximizing the overall value for the business.  

Collaboration capabilities are pre-built into the system and include functionalities such as commenting on reports and data and emailing information (such as meeting notes, documents, news, etc.) directly to and from the system.  

Customer reviews often call out specific collaboration capabilities as one of the primary benefits of the software.

“It is very easy to structure topic dashboards and company views so anyone on your team can view. It makes it really collaborative!” - Executive Sponsor in Management Consulting at a Mid-Market organization on G2

“We have adopted as an internal Web publishing platform to allow departments to communicate and share their information with the entire company.” - Director International Marketing Research & Intelligence at an Enterprise organization on G2

Additionally, Knowledge360® allows the user to create custom user roles to control the specific level of access for each user or group of users. Those holding an Administrator Role are able to build, edit, and assign user roles, ensuring the protection of sensitive data by creating access restrictions at the user level.

Out of the box, Knowledge360 can connect with many of the tools you already use, including the following:

  • Slack
  • Yammer
  • Quip
  • Sharepoint
  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Salesforce
  • Tableau

The Bottom Line: Collaboration tools and Knowledge Management features are built right into Knowledge360, and there are quite a few more integrations to external tools available. Crayon relies on a few integrations for collaboration but does rate well for sales-specific collaboration tools.

Choosing the Right Tool for You

As we’ve said before, choosing the right tool for you is based on selecting the tool built for your specific needs.

Knowledge360 bottom line: Knowledge360 is a tool best suited for organizations with a dedicated competitive intelligence team in industries where strong regulations or high levels of competition are present, and collaboration across departments and disparate teams is very important.

Crayon bottom line: Crayon is a good fit for organizations with a strong focus on the sales aspect of their competitive intelligence platform, and a specific desire to track competitor websites, that live within the mid-market size range.

To help you take the next step in selecting a competitive intelligence software tool, we have a couple of resources you may find helpful. First you can peruse our Buyer's Guide to learn more about the different components of competitive intelligence software.

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Or, if you are knee deep in vendor comparisons, you can use our Competitive Intelligence Software Vendor Evaluation Tool to help you compare different vendors against one another.

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