Most companies make an investment in competitive intelligence because they are surprised. The entrances of new technology or business models can easily catch leadership teams off guard. To mitigate the risk of future surprises, either internal or external competitive intelligence is deployed. Even inexperienced teams understand that this activity begins with data.
Here’s how it usually works:
They review data sets: news, PR-focused solutions, online databases, curated feeds, etc. It will quickly become apparent that they need more data, at which point they’ll collect public financial data or private company data, social monitoring, regulatory data, digital footprint/online traffic data, etc. They spend a tremendous amount of money on data and then realize they don’t have enough time to review the data. The team grows.
Many organizations will end up spending a ton of money on data, and people to make sense of the data before they even realize they need a better, more strategic solution.
Without a solution for categorizing, organizing and raising important data points, it’s virtually impossible to find the signal present amidst the noise of copious data streams. But that signal is the actual point and the only reality that will prevent unwelcome surprises.
This pattern is sadly prevalent and reflects the traditional way that many companies attempt market and competitive intelligence initiatives.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can build a sustainable CI practice, if you do it right.
Take for instance, Cipher’s approach. In three steps, we at Cipher help build a market and competitive intelligence initiative that will actually stand the test of time, and provide real value:
- Assessment: Cipher’s experienced team evaluates the client’s competitive insights capability against our proprietary maturity model and designs recommendations.
- Implementation: Cipher’s consulting team develops a baseline understanding of the client’s competitive and market environment while our industry-leading Customer Success Team works collaboratively with the client team to implement, customize, and configure Cipher’s All-in-One competitive intel solution Knowledge360®.
- Cipher-as-a-Service: Cipher’s experienced team of strategists, analysts, and technologists help clients extract maximum value from their CI investment by collaboratively partnering to deeply understand the client’s business, and leveraging their expertise in Knowledge360’s data and tools to deliver timely, relevant, actionable insights that drive value.
A more thoughtful and measured approach, like the one described above, will help you avoid the dreaded “CI cycle of death.” You’ll be able to extrapolate the right data and hone in on the aforementioned signal that genuinely informs the best strategic steps.
By combining the right market and competitive intelligence tools with the people responsible for data analysis, you can build a winning combination.