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How can you act as the Competitive Intelligence “Center Midfielder” to facilitate an integrated intelligence strategy and prepare your team to take the field?

In soccer, the Center Midfielder is the key player that connects the ball between defense and offense, ensuring it gets to the right people at the right time.  In organizations, the (CI) Center Midfielder is a person who helps drive collaboration and innovation. This person is focused on connecting the dots information from all across your organization and turning out valuable insights.

Most organizations find that there is no shortage of information coming in from every department (BD, Sales, IT, HR, R&D, and so on), but the business suffers when nothing is done with it.  Without a centralized effort to share or analyze this well of information, it oftentimes sits dormant and valuable insights simply go to waste.  Empowering a person or a group to ensure this information makes it in to the right hands is essential.

Cipher hosted a discussion on the role of the CI Center Midfielder at the 21st Annual SCIP European Summit earlier this month in Prague and we have compiled a list of key takeaways and best practices for implementing an integrated intelligence strategy below:

  • Set the tone. It’s essential (yet extremely difficult) to get everyone on the same page. Efforts drop off very easily when there isn’t buy-in from the entire group so it is important to ensure everyone is engaged, ready, and willing to support other teams. Buy-in from management is especially helpful here. People are much more willing to stay engaged if they think management will see their efforts and act on them.
  • Build a multidisciplinary team. Building your internal network to share knowledge can be almost as important as the collection process itself. It helps to have a committed group of individuals that can be the “expert” for specific pieces, so the Center Midfielder can pass responsibilities across the organization and ensure the best person is handling each task. Expert representatives from different departments will help to develop cooperation, engagement, and interest across teams and make your competitive intelligence effort stronger and more efficient.
  • Know your audience. The ultimate goal of competitive intelligence is to inform strategic decision making with actionable insights. Some people find it’s better to focus more on the outcomes versus the actions. As long as the job gets done and gets done well, people can work out their own approach that works for them and moves the business forward.
  • Identify sources of information. This is where it becomes important to seek insights from across the organization. Look at everything from customer insights, to market research, and online resources. A key benefit of the integrated intelligence model is having a designated person who knows who to go to for each source of information and will create a strategy for how to collaborate around the information gathered.
  • Focus on information processing. Be sure you’re making use of the information you already have. Oftentimes, it’s not a lack of information, but a lack of information processing and information sharing that organizations struggle with. Understand who to share key information with and who to go to when a particular need arises to optimize your efforts.
  • Keep it short.  Targeted monthly communications that highlight 3 new priorities or insights are short, sweet, and engaging. These reports can come in whatever form works best for you – whether it’s an email, app, or a post to a collaboration portal – people will come to expect them and this will facilitate discussion across your organization. Understanding the needs of your organization and providing relevant information that people will use benefits everyone and serves to keep employees engaged in the CI process.

For more than 20 years, Cipher has helped organizations build out and refine their competitive intelligence strategy in order to stay competitive, reduce uncertainty in the market, and push the boundaries of innovation. Our team understands the people, processes, and tools necessary to help your organization succeed. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help your team get ahead.