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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.

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

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:

  • 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.

Data Sources vs. Competitive Analysis Tools

One very important distinction within the massive toolspace around competitive intelligence or competitor analysis tools are between the tools meant to simply provide data and the tools meant to help you harness that data.

We very often find that people doing research on which competitive intelligence tools they want to use confuse the two. In many cases, we will admit, this is because marketers love to “overstate” what their tool is capable of or used for. 

In other cases, this happens because some of the tools that would be categorized as “data sources” have some pretty awesome features for drawing insights from the data they provide. The key distinction to note here is that they still rely only on a single data source.

In this confusion, people often lump all tools into a general “competitive intelligence” category and walk away. But understanding the fundamental differences between a tool meant to provide you raw data and tool built to help you automatically recognize, tag, pull, and alert you to important data from a wide variety of sources, synthesize that data to make it easier for you to analyze, and allow you to communicate that data internally is incredibly important.

Based on the descriptions alone, you can see how widely different the use cases would be for either tool. Both types of tools are incredibly important and useful for executing competitive intelligence, but choosing the right tool really comes down to which of the two outcomes you truly need.

PitchBook vs. Knowledge360: Who it is for.

Before jumping into a feature by feature comparisons, it is important to understand the audiences these tools were built to serve. 

Looking at how each software company has chosen to categorize their own tools and how they describe themselves is a great starting point. All information captured below is up to date as of this writing.

On G2, Knowledge360 is categorized in both the Market Intelligence and Competitive Intelligence Tools categories.

On G2, PitchBook is categorized as Financial Research Software.

Per their website, Pitchbook seeks to help users “research and analyze companies, deals, funds, investors and service providers across the entire private investment lifecycle.” Essentially what this comes down to is that Pitchbook is an incredible source of information about the financial information and M&A activity of competitors.

Alternatively, Knowledge360 is a tool that compiles information from multiple data sources to give you a holistic view of your competitors to fuel analysis. This includes information on financials, news, social media, competitor websites, and more. Some specific data sources that can be mined for information include: 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, and users can choose to pull in customized RSS feeds and Google Alerts.

So the right fit really comes down to what you need. If you are laser focused on financial information, then Pitchbook may be the right fit. If you are more generally looking to support a larger competitive intelligence team or initiative with data outside of financial information then Knowledge360 may be the better fit.

PitchBook 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 PitchBook are both strongly differentiated in the area of Ease of Use.

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

  • PitchBook: 8.6/10 Rating
  • Knowledge360: 8.3/10 Rating

Knowledge360-vs-PitchBook-ease-of-use

Source: G2

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

  • PitchBook: 8.5/10 Rating
  • Knowledge360: 9.8/10 Rating

Knowledge360-vs-PitchBook-quality-of-support_v4

Source: G2

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

PitchBook User Experience Quotes: 

“It allows me to quickly access information about startups that would otherwise take much longer to accumulate...” - Small-Business user on G2

“The best thing about pitchbook is the support team built into the platform via the chat feature as well as a designated account manager.” - Small-Business user on G2

“Easy UI/UX and dashboard features with relevant information.” - Enterprise user on G2

“It is easy to search a company and find out any information you would need.” - Mid-Market user on G2

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

PitchBook 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

There isn’t much information about automated tagging functionality on PitchBook’s website, but given the differences we discussed earlier between data sources and competitive intelligence software, this makes sense.

All the data provided is coming from PitchBook itself, so it doesn’t require much tagging to make it useful. It is already sorted by company name, as that is pretty much the only kind of search users perform.

PitchBook’s website does also mention the use of machine learning to turn data into insights, indicating some of the same benefits of automated tagging.

Knowledge360 employs similar technologies including:

In addition, reviews for Knowledge360 often specifically call out the benefits garnered from AI usage:

“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

As mentioned above, the amount of different data sources is the key difference between the two tools. PitchBook is itself a source of data, while Knowledge360 is a tool that compiles data across a multitude of sources.

For Knowledge360, 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 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 automated tagging and AI features, however, Knowledge360 is built to serve a different purpose by providing these features across multiple sources of data.

PitchBook 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.

PitchBook

This particular feature is what PitchBook’s website sees as its strongest differentiator. Additionally, reviews on G2 almost all call out the powerful search features as one of the primary benefits.

“Awesome for finding information and quick details. If you have to do in-depth research on companies this is perfect for it. It is easy to search a company and find out any information you would need. Plus the search tools allow you to find several companies with ease.”  - Mid-Market User on G2

This is absolutely a category on which PitchBook stands out.

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: Both tools offer very powerful and easy to use search functionalities fueled by AI and machine learning algorithms.

PitchBook 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.

PitchBook

This particular aspect is one where we readily admit we can’t produce a great comparison for you. PitchBook's website does not go into great detail about the collaboration functions of their tool, and there aren’t many comments about it (either negative or positive) in the reviews on 3rd party review sites.

Their website does, however, note integrations with a few common tools and export capabilities for the data.

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: If collaboration and knowledge management features are important to you in your search for the competitive intelligence software, we would highly recommend getting a demo of both tools and asking specific questions about those features to learn more.

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. In this case, you should be determining if financial and M&A data is what you need, or require the support of a larger scale competitive intelligence solution.

In the case of these two tools specifically, we often find that they aren’t mutually exclusive. Many of our clients in industries with high M&A activity actually choose to use both and pull data from PitchBook into Knowledge360 to fuel their larger competitive intelligence strategy.

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.

PitchBook bottom line: PitchBook is a favorite of venture capital firms, and is a great source of data for organizations in industries where M&A activity is very high.

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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