2 Minute Read
  • A patent application, the purchasing of a domain name or a change in hiring practices can indicate a shift in a company’s strategy
  • These types of indicators are easily overlooked as key sources of intelligence

With new developments being reported almost daily in the healthcare space the question becomes: How can intelligence professionals identify competitor initiatives before they are announced?

In a previous blog post I discussed the importance of recognizing indicators. Some of the most insightful ones can be domain purchases, patent applications and job postings, yet many times they are overlooked as sources of intelligence.

Purchasing a domain name is a way for a company to embark on a new initiative without necessarily connecting it to the parent company. In some instances, this is done to give the new company a different identify from the parent or the opportunity to “test and learn” in a new market. It also can be a way to avoid detection by competitors until the company is prepared to announce the initiative.

Let’s look at an example:

Apple recently announced they are beginning a similar effort to Amazon’s plan to partner with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to create a new not-for-profit healthcare company. Apple will launch a network of medical clinics for its employees and their families called AC Wellness with the goal of lowering healthcare costs. This marks a growing trend of companies seeking to shake up the healthcare industry and provide more cost-effective alternatives for their employees.

The question becomes, how could have Apple’s competitors uncovered this move before it was announced? And furthermore, how could companies in the healthcare industry have predicted these new players entering the market? How could they have better understood the scope?

  • A monitoring of domain names would have uncovered that the name acwellness.com was bought sometime in the second half of last year, presumably by Apple
  • Job advertisements on recruitment sites describe AC Wellness as a “subsidiary of Apple,” operating in the Santa Clara area
  • The company has yet to submit any patent applications but monitoring for these will indicate any new technologies under development that healthcare companies should be wary of

Indicators such as domain names, jobs postings, and patents are easy to miss. Using a software solution like Knowledge360® where key sources such as news, patents, job postings, regulatory documents and financials are being continuously updated can alert a CI team to important competitor developments before they occur.


Using Knowledge360, a researcher or analyst can find all the information they  need on any given topic and build out dashboards for ongoing monitoring in 20  minutes or less. Find out how.

Insights from Dawn Faint, Director of Life Sciences at Cipher - Dawn helps companies in the Life Sciences space map their competitive environment, develop intelligence strategies which identify risks, and position them for future growth. Prior to joining Cipher, Dawn worked for many years in the Healthcare space in leadership roles at Cigna, Schering-Plough, Pharmacia (now Pfizer) and Johnson & Johnson companies Ortho Biotech and Ortho-McNeil, and in the Management Consulting space for Right Management.