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It’s fair to say that SharePoint plays an important role in the day-to-day operations of many organizations. SharePoint is primarily used as a web-based document management and storage platform that enables organizations to securely store documents in the cloud. However, the platform can be configured for many different use cases. One use case is to act as a hub for Market and Competitive Intelligence (M/CI)

SharePoint has been around for close to 20 years now, and integrates well with a suite of other Microsoft products. It’s a popular platform already used by many organizations. But while SharePoint has some great use cases, acting as a M/CI hub for the organization is not one of them.

Many organizations experience challenges with managing their document repositories in SharePoint, and in enabling collaboration between different business units in different locations. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of having a SharePoint-like platform, and propose a better approach to knowledge management that will enhance the effectiveness of your competitive intelligence efforts. 

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The Complete Guide to Market and Competitive Intelligence

A comprehensive guide to competitive intelligence that actually works!

The Importance of a Centralized Document Repository 

Many organizations rely on SharePoint to act as a centralized document repository for the entire organization. There’s no question that this is important: it ensures everyone has access to information, that leaders across different business units can collaborate, and that high-quality information is utilized in decision-making. 

Building and maintaining a repository of organizational wisdom and knowledge is a critical corporate investment. The types of documents that reside here vary widely: from sales decks and marketing collateral, to human resources checklists and forms. In instances like this, SharePoint provides the perfect solution. 

Using SharePoint for Competitive Intelligence

Many organizations turn to SharePoint when first setting up a platform for their M/CI efforts. 

There are several reasons for this, including:

  1. It’s easy for teams to communicate, share data, and track projects
  2. Often, the organization already has access to SharePoint through their existing Microsoft Business or Enterprise subscription (No budget required)
  3. The team is familiar with the platform and
  4. At first, it seems relatively straightforward to configure SharePoint to work for CI activities 

Related: How to Build a DIY Competitive Intelligence Solution with SharePoint

Using SharePoint as a solution when the M/CI team is first getting started is all well and good, but it’s unlikely to be a sustainable long-term M/CI solution for most organizations.

Using SharePoint as a solution when the M/CI team is first getting started is all well and good, but it’s unlikely to be a sustainable long-term M/CI solution for most organizations. As CI efforts grow, it’s possible that by continuing to use SharePoint organizations will run into some of these common problems:

  • Navigation: M/CI document libraries become increasingly complex.
  • Search: finding individual documents is difficult and time-consuming.
  • Time Commitment: intelligence analysts spend too much time manually managing data and files.
  • Accessibility: data silos begin to emerge, with business units not freely sharing documents. This can happen intentionally or unintentionally. 
  • Interdependability: an ever-growing network of tools is required to compile effective M/CI insights.

All of these issues conspire to dramatically reduce the efficiency of any M/CI effort, and lead right to the frustrating exclamation that is the title of this article, “Where the &*#% did I save that in SharePoint?

When CI professionals spend too much time on low-value tasks like organizing and retrieving documents in SharePoint, the organization loses out. That time could be better spent working on analysis that produces high-quality insights for the organization.

M/CI teams exist to help organizations spot opportunities, make bold decisions with increased confidence and clarity, and to ward off threats from competitors. SharePoint can help organizations take the first step towards establishing a comprehensive M/CI strategy, but as the organization scales, it’s nearly always beneficial to embrace custom-built solutions

A Better Approach to Knowledge Management: M/CI Software

The biggest drawback of using SharePoint for M/CI activities is the over-reliance on manual processes. Embracing software that is custom-built for M/CI helps organizations to automate the vast majority of this work and leverage technology to transform the efficiency of their CI function. 

The benefits that organizations can leverage by utilizing M/CI software include:

  • More time for analysis: by automating labor-intensive tasks, M/CI professionals will have more time to spend on analysis that surfaces game-changing insights for their organization.
  • Increased data relevancy: M/CI dashboards update in real-time, meaning that intelligence teams and decision-makers will always be looking at an up-to-date view of the market. Automated data collection, tagging, and organizing powered by sophisticated Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms means that key data points are never missed. 
  • Fluid collaboration: many M/CI tools have built-in collaboration solutions, including dashboards, periodic email reports, and shared workspaces where individuals from across the organization can seamlessly work together.
  • Easy document retrieval: with powerful search tools and taxonomy systems, M/CI teams will never again have to ask themselves where they saved a document in SharePoint; instead having access to every piece of intelligence on demand.

The key point to remember is that M/CI platforms are built specifically for competitive intelligence, unlike SharePoint, which can be configured to serve many purposes. Many of the features that help M/CI teams be more effective come out-of-the-box, and over time, M/CI teams can customize their platform to better meet the needs of their business.   

The key point to remember is that M/CI platforms are built specifically for competitive intelligence, unlike SharePoint, which can be configured to serve many purposes.

Knowledge360Ⓡ - The Complete M/CI Hub

If you’re thinking about making the step up from SharePoint to a complete M/CI platform, look no further than Knowledge360. Knowledge360 acts as an intelligence hub for your organization, providing one central platform for your entire team to collect data, discover insights, and collaborate on projects. 

By automating routine data collection and organization tasks that previously took up the majority of analysts time, your team will have as much as 45% more time to spend on analyzing data to pull out strategic intelligence that could be game-changing for your organization. 

To learn more about Knowledge360, schedule a demo

Knowledge360 Demo