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The Future of Competitive Intelligence 

Our research into the future of competitive intelligence using HUUNU® Futures Prediction Market.

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About the Study:

A lot has changed in the Market and Competitive Intelligence (M/CI) world in recent times. The discipline of M/CI has always been iterative and fast-paced, but the events of the past 18 months have thrown this into overdrive.

To understand the changes that are occurring throughout the industry, Cipher set out to conduct research into the future of the competitive intelligence industry. This research was conducted in partnership with the Strategic Intelligence & Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP). SCIP is a global non-profit community of the world’s top M/CI leaders. They work to drive growth in the M/CI industry, focusing on advancing ethical best practices, offering training and education to members, and building a powerful community of industry leaders.

The research was conducted using a HUUNU® Futures Prediction Market, and included insights from prominent M/CI practitioners in a wide range of industries. Building on previous research studies conducted by both Cipher and SCIP, the research paints a new picture of the future of competitive intelligence

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About Cipher

Cipher is a full service competitive intelligence technology and consulting firm. The company offers strategic consulting services, market and competitive intelligence software, and prediction market research services.

Together, Cipher’s software and services enable organizations to discover and plan for potential threats, predict and analyze market developments, and monitor and collaborate on M/CI initiatives.

 

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About scip

SCIP (Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals) is a global non-profit community of leaders who leverage insights, best practices, and unimpeachable ethics to drive growth and reduce risk in strategic choices. We increase members’ impact through advancing ethical best practices, training and certification in critical capabilities, curating innovative ideas, and cultivating a powerful peer community

Table of Contents

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What is Prediction Market Research?

Prediction Markets are an alternative to traditional survey methods, challenging participants to bet virtual currency on how a targeted audience will react to ideas and events, and not just limited to their personal preferences. Prediction markets are typically more accurate than traditional forms of market research, reduce response bias, and provide both quantitative and qualitative feedback.

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An era of disruption is coming: companies are three times more likely to be disrupted by an unknown competitor than a known one. At the same time, executives aren’t appropriately prioritizing M/CI insights and leveraging these in their decision making process.

The advancement of technology is helping organizations solve some of these problems, but there are wider implications across the M/CI spectrum. To be successful in this new era, it’s crucial that organizations understand how to best position their M/CI people, processes, and technology for success.

In this report, we’ll break down each of the key findings in detail and explore the implications for stakeholders throughout the M/CI process.

Report Contributors

This report was made possible by the involvement of Crayon, Fletcher/CSI, Contify, NetBase Quid, Aurora/WDC, Fuld, Sedulo Group, Wide Narrow, and Klue.

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Key Takeaways:
The Future of Competitive Intelligence

The world of CI looks radically different to how it looked just a few years ago. Technology has begun to play a much more prominent role, and the onset of COVID-19 has forced organizations to contemplate how their teams collaborate in virtual and hybrid environments.

In amongst all this, the role of CI has changed significantly. What’s more, our respondents––a panel of 328 CI leaders from top organizations around the world ––see further disruption to the M/CI world coming.

 

Here are the five key takeaways from this research:

disruption-1-1Continued Disruption is Inevitable

M/CI professionals overwhelmingly agree that further disruption is likely in the next three years. However, it’s expected that this disruption won’t come from existing competitors. Rather, it’s more likely that organizations will be disrupted by new, non-traditional competitors.

happy customer-1-1Understanding Customer Experience Holds the Key to Success

As industries become ever more competitive, M/CI professionals firmly believe that an organization’s success will be dictated by their ability to understand customers and create improved experiences that differentiate them from competitors.

report (2)-1M/CI is now a Continuous, Always-On Function

The days of the monthly competitor report are over. An effective M/CI function operates in real-time, providing cutting-edge insights to decision-makers right as they need them. Achieving this requires a renewed commitment to technology and collaboration.

computer icon-1M/CI Practitioners Continue to Embrace Technology

As the M/CI profession has evolved over recent years, technology has come to the fore for many organizations. Our respondents predict that this will continue, and that organizations will rely even more on technology in three years than they do today..

priority icon-1M/CI is not Being Prioritized by the C-Suite

In spite of advancements in M/CI, the biggest barrier to leveraging M/CI insights in the decision making process will be the organization’s attitude towards M/CI insights. This is influenced by changing executive priorities, but it’s up to M/CI practitioners to fight through this and build a team that delivers actionable, high-value insights to key decision makers.

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Companies are Three Times More Likely to be Disrupted by a New Competitor than an Existing Competitor

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During the next three years, there is over a 90% chance that we will continue to see more markets flooded by or disrupted by new competitors shattering existing norms.

Companies are 77% more likely to be disrupted from a new unknown competitor than an existing direct or indirect competitor.

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Disruption has been one of the defining themes of the past ten years or so, and all indications from our group of M/CI professionals indicate that this pattern is set to continue.

The rapid technological advancements of recent years have made it possible for organizations to diversify their business with greater speed and flexibility. Increasing numbers of organizations, particularly large organizations with access to significant capital, are expanding into entirely new industries in which they did not previously compete.

No one organization has exhibited this more clearly than Amazon, with unexpected pushes into industries like media with Amazon Studios, grocery delivery with Amazon Fresh, and pharmaceuticals with the acquisition of PillPack.

Our research respondents are confident that their businesses will be disrupted, not primarily by existing competitors who represent visible threats that can be monitored, but by completely new competitors to enter the market and shatter norms.

Respondent Data

Below is the direct response data to the questions posed in the prediction market.

Markets are regularly being disrupted by new competitors entering and shattering norms (e.g. Amazon Studios entering the media market).

How likely will this trend be to increase over the next 3 years?

 

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What does it mean?

During the next three years, there is over a 90% chance that we will continue to see more markets flooded by or disrupted by new competitors shattering existing norms. So, get ready to keep seeing more of that.

Since we know this is going to happen in some way, shape, or form, focus should shift to the challenging task of deploying technology and human capital resources to monitor unknowns, flag potential disruptors and provide management with as much lead time as possible. This is going to require some creativity.

Respondent Data

Below is the direct response data to the questions posed in the prediction market.

In the next 3 years, the companies most likely to pose a risk to businesses in your industry will be:

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What does it mean?

Our audience predicts that greater risks will come from new unknown competitors, more so than existing direct and indirect ones.

Companies are 71% more likely to experience a risk from a new unknown competitor than an existing direct or indirect competitor.

The combination of humans with hypotheses, new capability to target AI and search, and machines that don’t sleep have an opportunity to transform how threats are discovered and how we can report on emerging competitors.

Key Takeaway:
M/CI Teams Have to Track Both Existing
& New Competitors

Traditionally, M/CI teams have been primarily tasked with tracking existing, known competitors, not anticipating and responding to potential new entrants. But it’s clear this approach won’t cut it anymore. Consider the way the hotel industry has been disrupted by Airbnb, the taxi industry by Uber, or the home entertainment industry by Netflix and other streaming services.

Organizations that fail to pay attention to emerging competitors run the risk of being blindsided by an innovator that solves customer problems with novel technologies or strategies. To remain competitive, it’s imperative for organizations to transform their M/CI function. Equal amounts of time should be dedicated to tracking your existing competitors and identifying and monitoring new competitors.

Of course, M/CI teams will still need to conduct certain operational activities; battlecards, win/loss analysis, and other routine monitoring of long-standing competitors all still have a part to play. But a new dimension to CI is now emerging, one that focuses on new competitors. Mastering this will require new technologies, skill sets, and approaches to M/CI.


“Unknown competitors are always a surprise
and hence initially always are a threat.”
- Respondent Quote

M/CI professionals are anxious about disruption coming from areas they do not expect. An organization’s existing direct and indirect competitors behave in a relatively predictable way. Through monitoring them as part of a routine competitive analysis process, organizations can have a comprehensive understanding of their competitors’ capabilities, relationships, and strategies.

However, unknown competitors have completely unknown behaviors, and may approach problems with new business models and solutions. This makes it very difficult to effectively predict the activities and behaviors of new, unknown competitors, or sometimes, to even see this disruption coming. It’s critical for M/CI teams to spend time effectively analyzing potential new entrants. There are a few ways M/CI teams can achieve this, including:

  • Tracking startup funding
  • Monitoring key leadership hires or wider hiring patterns
  • Building an industry-wide dashboard that tracks key events and news in real time
  • Using AI-based tagging and search to ensure nothing is missed

As we’ll see next, it’s not just an organization’s competitors that M/CI teams have to pay close attention to, it’s also their customers.

Read the Complete Guide to Competitor Analysis Research, Data and Information Sources.

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Improved Customer Experience Will Have
The Greatest Impact on Competition
and Revenue Growth

A 2020 Crayon and SCIP report on the State of the Competitive Intelligence Industry found that 90% of businesses believed that their industries have become more competitive in the past year. As industries become more competitive, it’s critical that M/CI teams work to understand the key factors driving success in their market.

Our respondents felt that improving CX would have, by far, the biggest impact on success over the next three years. They also believed that improving the organization’s understanding of consumers and markets through M/CI insights could be a major driver of success.

Interestingly, M/CI professionals felt that increases in advertising and marketing spend would, on their own, have very little impact on success. This was also the case for the acquisition of new products and services through M&A activity, underscoring the importance of a customer-first approach.

It seems that organizations should place less focus on developing flashy marketing strategies and acquiring bolt-on products, and more on developing substantive core competencies that enable them to deliver better customer experiences.

Furthermore, A Forrester study concluded that 92% of CX leaders see customers spending more money with companies that invest in great CX.

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Customer Experience is 2x more likely to have the greatest impact on competition and revenue growth, when compared to the development of new products and services.



Respondent Data

Below is the direct response data to the questions posed in the prediction market.

A 2020 report released by SCIP and Crayon reported that 90% of businesses surveyed believe their industry has become more competitive over the last year.

Over the next 3 years, which of the following will have the greatest impact on competition and revenue growth?

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What does it mean?

When asked to identify the greatest impact on competition and revenue growth in the next three years, improved customer experience is the clear favorite. It is nearly twice as likely to have the greatest impact on competition and revenue growth, when compared to the development of new products and services. It comes down to people, understanding current and potential clients and giving them their best experience.

Talk to your customers and your competitors’ customers to understand needs being met and those unmet. Your risks lie in the unmet needs of your customers and your opportunities are those of your potential customers and your competition’s.

Pro Tip: Ask your CI team if they are looking at internal data on your customers’ experience. The impact of CX on competition and revenue growth is so great, you will want to look at this for your company and your competitors. To learn more about your competitors CX, look regularly at third-party review sites. And remember, they are doing the same.

Key Takeaway:
Understanding Customers and
Improving Experiences Holds the
Key to Success

An organization’s ability to understand and create value for customers holds the key to success. Organizations should allocate more time towards processes that enable them to better understand their customers and other core constituents. In doing so, organizations can generate elegant solutions to their customer’s needs, and create tangible value that helps retain and attract customers

“Competitive Intelligence teams have to be competitor aware and customer obsessed.”
Clara Smyth, Insights Expert, Slack

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Being successful requires not only a focus on existing competitors and potential new competitors, but a keen focus on customers and end-users. This requires a 360° view of the market, and a thorough analysis of each competitor’s products, services, and business model. All told, this indicates M/CI teams need to adopt a broader scope to explore the role of customer journeys as part of the wider competitive environment.

This information on customers and their experiences is most likely already resident within many organizations. It could exist in people’s inboxes, in meeting notes, or in the heads of the sales team. By embracing a collaborative competitive intelligence platform, organizations can begin to centralize all of this organizational wisdom in one location, and start to reap the benefits. When it comes to the M/CI world, it’s frequently the case that the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.

“As more software use is via subscription, the renewal ‘moment of truth’ is driving more focus on customer adoption, use, and success.
- Respondent Quote
But it’s not just an organization’s own customers that should be focused on; it’s also those of competitors. M/CI teams should examine various elements of the customer journey at key competitors.

While it’s relatively simple to keep track of a competitor’s next big product or service launch, it’s important to look beyond that, and focus on the day-to-day workflows and touchpoints that define the competitor’s customer experience. What tactics do they use in their sales process? How does the onboarding journey look? What is customer support like?

The answers to questions like this yield a wealth of competitive insights that can be transformed into powerful new strategies. This may represent additional work outside the traditional remit of M/CI teams, but the insights uncovered in this process will be invaluable.

A lot of this work pushes outside the core M/CI mandate. So it requires M/CI professionals to level up their internal relationship building and stakeholder management skills. They need to collaborate with their colleagues in customer service, new product development, and beyond.

 

M/CI Teams Predict Spending
Less Time Collecting Data, More Time
Analyzing and Sharing Key Insights

As technology becomes more prevalent across the M/CI world, it should come as little surprise that M/CI professionals believe they will spend less time collecting and organizing information in the next three years.

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Respondent Data

Below is the direct response data to the questions posed in the prediction market.

In a 2021 SCIP and Crayon industry report, M/CI professionals surveyed reported spending roughly equal time collecting & organizing information, analyzing information, and sharing knowledge and insights.

In the next 3 years, how will the allocation of a M/CI professional’s time change?

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What does it mean?

Over the next few years, time will shift away from collecting and organizing information and shift towards analyzing and sharing your knowledge and insights.

There’s too much available information for people to process. Whether it is third-party service providers or new technology to streamline existing processes, both allow more time for developing insights and will be table stakes in three years’ time.

Can teams increase the allocation of time spent on insights and intelligence development if companies prioritize the adoption of more efficient collection processes and technology?

Key Takeaway:
Utilize Tools to Reduce the
Time Needed for Data Collection

This particular takeaway is incredibly important. Properly utilizing tools to reduce your efforts in data collection will truly enable you to do everything else suggested in this report. Tools that free your time, and make your team more efficient will be vital to continuing to compete over the next 3-5 years.

This is a huge positive for the industry. Rapid advancements in M/CI technology, owing to the increasing application of technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), are seeing technological solutions gradually take over the process of data sourcing, collection, and tagging.

This gives M/CI professionals more time to spend on high-value analysis and collaboration tasks. But time savings are far from the only benefit. When it comes to data-intensive tasks like sourcing and tagging, AI technology performs far better than human researchers. This helps organizations surface data points that they previously would not have, leading to the discovery of powerful insights or trends.

“I believe that in 2024 M/CI professionals will spend less time collecting and organizing information thanks to new technologies, but they will need more time analyzing all the information they have, increasingly numerous.
- Respondent Quote

For this change to happen, organizations must embrace technology platforms that support the automated collection of data.

The increasing focus on collaboration activities points to the need to share insights more broadly across the organization. M/CI professionals are often frustrated that their insights are not prioritized by key decision makers, and are acutely aware of the need to spend more time sharing insights and advocating for the role of M/CI within the organization.

This growing focus on collaboration also reflects the emerging role of the M/CI function as a real-time, always-on hub of live market and competitive insights. Sending out a monthly M/CI insight email or report simply doesn’t cut it anymore; communication needs to be collaborative and instantaneous.

To ensure effective collaboration on M/CI projects, it’s now clear that M/CI professionals need the soft skills to build cross-functional relationships, influence executives, and recruit people to their cause. Decision makers across the organization need to be aware of the continuous, real-time snippets of competitive intelligence as they are generated, rather than waiting for a single point of time. It’s the role of the M/CI function to build an appropriate structure and culture that ensures decisions are made in this way.

Technology Will Continue to Play a
Prominent Role in Competitive Intelligence

Recent years have seen the rapid proliferation of technology in the M/CI field. To effectively compete, it’s crucial for organizations to leverage M/CI technology to uncover new insights, stay up to date on market trends, and to collaborate seamlessly across their organizations. Recent innovations in technologies like AI and NLP have seen new technologies rapidly begin to replace more traditional M/CI solutions.

The M/CI professionals we consulted are overwhelmingly bullish that this trend is set to continue in coming years. The majority of respondents indicated high confidence levels in their prediction that organizations would be using new technologies to augment or replace traditional approaches to strategy and business planning within the next three years.

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Respondent Data

Below is the direct response data to the questions posed in the prediction market. 

The global pandemic has accelerated many of the disruptions already underway from forces like digital transformation.

In the next 3 years, will the use of new technology and methodologies begin to augment or replace traditional approaches to strategy and business planning (e.g. annual planning cycles, history-based forecasting models, etc.)?

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What does it mean?

It is a near certainty that this is going to happen, and early adopters are already implementing.

Change is coming: failing to prepare today means you will be behind in 3 years.

In a 2021 report published by SCIP and Klue, 6 out of 10 developing CI functions have little to no CI technology in place. What level of technology will these same companies have in 3 years?

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What does it mean?

Over the next few years, M/CI professionals will shift away from collecting and organizing information and towards analyzing and sharing your knowledge and insights.

There’s too much available information for people to process. Whether it is third-party service providers or new technology to streamline existing processes, both allow more time for developing insights and will be table stakes in three years’ time.

Can teams increase the allocation of time spent on insights and intelligence development if companies prioritize the adoption of more efficient collection processes and technology?

Founded in behavioral science and economics, prediction markets are an anticipatory research method used to predict marketing and business outcomes rather than summarize opinions. Leveraging a validated prediction algorithm, combined with a gamified user interface, this methodology takes advantage of collective judgment or “wisdom of a crowd,” to predict future trends, events, and market preferences.

Key Takeaway:
The Wave of Digital Transformation
Shows No Signs of Slowing

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many of the disruptions already underway from forces like digital transformation. Respondents overwhelmingly believe that the use of new technology and methodologies will continue to augment or replace traditional approaches to strategy and business planning.

“Disruptive technology and big data are increasing the cadence of planning needs and older forecasting models don’t account for enough of the disruption and integration between industries and technology and consumer trends.
- Respondent Quote

This insight represents an ongoing shift in the methodologies organizations use to gather intelligence. With fast-paced innovation and disruption rapidly becoming the norm in many industries, it’s imperative for M/CI teams to adopt a flexible, agile approach to gathering, analyzing, and sharing intelligence across their organization.

To stay ahead of the curve, organizations need to embrace new methodologies and technologies that can enable them to continuously monitor their competitive domains and stay a step ahead of the competition.

Key Takeaway:
Developing M/CI Functions are all in on
Competitive Intelligence Technologies

A SCIP and Klue benchmarking report from earlier in 2021 discovered that 6 out of 10 developing M/CI functions have little to no M/CI technology in place. As discussed, technology is a prerequisite to success in the modern CI era and, in truth, it’s almost impossible to conduct effective M/CI activities at scale without the support of a sophisticated M/CI software platform.

Our research finds that these teams will begin to embrace technology in a very significant way. The quote below highlights a definitive prediction that under-developed CI functions will embrace significantly more technology in coming years.

“There will be new ways to automate collection of data, leaving more time for the human analysis. Also, advanced reporting and visualization tools will improve and be needed to make sense of the avalanche of data out there.
- Respondent Quote

As the level of data available to M/CI teams continues to multiply, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the old way of conducting CI—with a librarian-style approach focused on efficiently managing taxonomies—is over. Organizations that cling to this approach will falter in the long term. For sustained success, all M/CI teams must embrace technology and a willingness to transform how they work.

“There has to be less data collection, more data analysis and dissemination. The way of the future; our time is too valuable to be doing collection and working on being a library.
- Respondent Quote

This growing focus on technology also emphasizes the need for organizations to dedicate more resources towards the software platforms that enable their CI function to work more effectively. As technology becomes increasingly prevalent in the day-to-day M/CI activities of organizations, budgets will need to be rebalanced to enable leaders to invest in effective M/CI solutions.

Despite Advancements, Decision Makers
Continue to Struggle to Make
Decisions Based on CI Insights

A 2021 survey conducted by Cipher and Forrester Research revealed that at least 80% of M/CI decision-makers face significant challenges in the successful execution of their work.

There are several reasons that this continues to be challenging. By far, the biggest challenge M/CI teams face is a lack of prioritization of M/CI insights and knowledge within their organizations.

Respondents felt that a lack of prioritization for M/CI insights and knowledge was three and a half times more likely to be a barrier to M/CI informed decision making than any other issue.

This brings light to a real challenge that M/CI professionals face and need to be aware of in order to plan for an environment in which their insights may not be appropriately prioritized. For M/CI initiatives to be successful, M/CI professionals need to act as advocates for their work. Many executives may need to be convinced of the value of using M/CI insights in their decision process. Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the M/CI team to do so.

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Respondent Data

Below is the direct response data to the questions posed in the prediction market. 

In a 2021 survey performed by Forrester for Cipher, over 80% of M/CI decision-makers agreed that making decisions based on CI findings was at least somewhat challenging.

Over the next 3 years, which of these will be the largest barrier to making M/CI based decisions?

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What does it mean?

Over the next three years, a lack of prioritizing M/CI insights and knowledge is clearly seen as the greatest barrier to making market and intelligence-based decisions.

A lack of prioritizing M/CI is three times more likely than the lack of an executive sponsor to be the greatest barrier to making market decisions. It is four times more likely to be a barrier than not having the financial or human resources needed.

The greatest barrier to M/CI success, the lack of prioritizing M/CI insights and knowledge, is one that teams have a great deal of influence over.

Key Takeaway:
It’s Time to Challenge Long-Held
Assumptions about Barriers to Effective CI

The insights surfaced here also contradict long-held assumptions about the challenges faced by M/CI professionals.

It has long been accepted as fact that a lack of financial resources presented a major barrier to the success of CI teams and initiatives, but this data reveals that to not be the case. The conventional wisdom that CI teams need executive sponsorship from the C-suite is also revealed to be relatively unimportant compared to a lack of prioritization for M/CI insights.

Key Takeaway:
Elevating the Role of M/CI Within the
Organization is Key to Success

To understand how M/CI teams should work to ensure that executives prioritize M/CI, it’s first necessary to understand why executives are failing to prioritize M/CI insights today.

Many times, M/CI insights are not being highly prioritized because they are delayed, incomplete, or fail to offer powerful analysis. This can often be the case when CI teams spend too much time on low-value, manual tasks like data collection and sorting. This detracts significantly from the amount of time that M/CI professionals have to analyze the data and produce high-value, actionable intelligence. Without generating game-changing intelligence insights, it’s difficult for the M/CI team to make the case that their work should be prioritized.

“Executives have such limited time, and the annual financial reporting cycle is compulsory and tends to get priority. Key for M/CI is to have natural connections both with the strategic planning cycle and financial reporting cycle.”
- Respondent Quote

If M/CI teams believe leaders at their organization are not appropriately utilizing their output, it’s ultimately the M/CI team’s responsibility to take an honest, self-critical look at the reasons driving this. It could be some external factor. Often, it’s that M/CI teams are not spending their time in the right places: spending too much time on low-value tasks like data collection and tagging. This leads to a failure to produce high-quality competitive insights that demonstrably move the needle for the organization.

Competing & Changing Executive Priorities
Pose the Greatest Risk to Effective Strategy
and Business Planning

A recent study from SCIP and Fuld exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the M/CI profession found that nearly 60% of management is more interested in M/CI initiatives now than they were before the onset of COVID-19. Despite this fact, our findings indicate that many M/CI insights are never effectively acted on, and many M/CI professionals continue to worry about a lack of prioritization for their work.

We asked M/CI professionals what they believed the greatest risk to effective strategy and business planning would be over the next three years. The factor with the greatest predicted risk, by far, was competing and changing executive priorities. This dovetails with the previous finding that M/CI professionals are concerned about their insights not being prioritized.

Executive-level priorities will continue to change over time. In truth, there’s little that M/CI teams can do to change this. That said, as these priorities evolve, the role of M/CI should remain consistently elevated. M/CI activities can yield a wide variety of insights that can support all kinds of business priorities. No matter the priorities of the leadership team, it’s key that M/CI insights continue to be leveraged to chart the organization’s path forward.

The responsibility for driving this prioritization falls to M/CI leaders and their teams. To ensure M/CI enjoys a prominent role in organizational decision-making, changes to the organization’s people, processes, and technology will be necessary.

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Respondent Data

Below is the direct response data to the questions posed in the prediction market. 

According to a SCIP & Fuld study, nearly 60% of management is more interested in CI output now than before COVID. Yet many of the insights developed by M/CI teams are never acted upon. Based on this reality, over the next 3 years, which of the following will present the greatest risk to effective strategy & business planning?

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What does it mean?

Over the next three years, competing / changing executive priorities will be the greatest risk to effective strategy and business planning. It is two times more likely than an insufficient investment in human analysis and more than three times more likely than resistance to adopting AI-based technology or intelligence platforms.

You cannot control changing executive priorities – that will continue. Teams that invest in human resources and new technology including AI and ML will adapt more quickly when these changes occur.

Why Your Next CEO Should Come From Your M/CI Department

In this new paradigm of M/CI, the profile of the people required has changed significantly. The specific analytical skills required to perform great competitive intelligence can be taught, but many of the skills required to elevate the role of M/CI in decision making are more intangible.

The M/CI function is no longer a lifetime destination where people spend their entire career. Instead, organizations should rotate their leaders of the future through the M/CI function. The time spent in M/CI will sharpen organizational and strategy skills, and these utility players will bring the new perspective and communication skills necessary for the M/CI function to build relationships with the rest of the organization.

Leaders who excel in the M/CI function are tailor-made for the C-suite. Time spent in M/CI exposes the executives of the future to the wider market, the challenges customers face, and the solutions competitors offer. With all this in mind, these leaders are positioned to make well-informed strategic decisions that positively impact the trajectory of the business.

Developing Processes to Support Effective M/CI

It’s clearer than ever that competitive intelligence needs to be a continuous and agile process; not a series of periodic deliverables. Leaders need access to insights as soon as they are available, not at the end of the month or quarter.

This paradigm shift requires a new focus on business processes that support the gathering, analysis, and dissemination, and use/adoption of real-time competitive intelligence. Continuously gathering intelligence demands access to a wide range of data feeds which reflect real-time news and market movements. Insights from this data are generated by sophisticated analysis tools and M/CI analytical skills. Sharing these insights requires a collaborative platform that acts as a central repository for all of an organization’s collective intelligence.

By integrating technology and more agile team structures, organizations can embrace a future where their M/CI function acts as a real-time source of intelligence. More often than not, the primary driver of this change is the technology an organization uses to execute on M/CI priorities.

Embracing Advanced M/CI Technology Platforms

The discipline of market and competitive intelligence is now one that is rooted in technology, and organizations that fail to embrace this will rapidly fall behind competition. Successful M/CI demands the ability to source, manage, extract and share insights from vast quantities of data. Without technology, doing so is effectively impossible.

The M/CI team of the future will outsource low-value, manual tasks to technology platforms. All kinds of M/CI tasks, from organizing datasets to working effectively with vendors, can now be handled more efficiently by technology than by human workers. The rapid advance of technologies like AI and NLP has dramatically accelerated the time to insight, and help ensure that organizations never miss important competitive insights.

Technology plays a critical role in fostering collaboration in organizations. Effective collaboration across organizational silos requires a centralized competitive intelligence platform that acts as the command center for an organization’s intelligence efforts.

Related: Guide to Selecting the Right CI Tools & Software

The Future of Competitive Intelligence Remains Bright

Competitive intelligence remains a pivotal function in organizations across a wide variety of industries. The ability to monitor, predict, and respond to competitor behavior and market trends will always be of high value to organizations.

But the M/CI world is changing, and those who don’t keep up to date will fall by the wayside. Further disruption is coming, and it’s important for M/CI teams to build and maintain a 360° view of the market so as not to be caught off guard by a new competitor.

Customer demands will continue to evolve, and organizations that create memorable customer experiences and focus on substance over style are well placed for the long-term. The remit of competitive intelligence is expanding, and it’s critical that M/CI teams focus not just on competitors, but on customers, suppliers, broader market trends, and more.

M/CI can no longer be a periodic, time-bound activity. The modern M/CI function provides an always-on, continuous flow of highly valuable insights directly to the leaders of the organization. Leaders must embrace technology to enable this.

Ensuring M/CI is prioritized by decision-makers represents a real challenge, but with the right approach, M/CI teams can establish their value to the organization. The key to success lies in appropriate time allocation, support from technology, and a consistency in delivering high-quality insights that drive better decision making.

Ultimately, changes to people, processes, and technologies may be required in many M/CI teams to drive progress. The modern M/CI function demands talented utility players with the ability to build relationships across the organization and implement lasting processes. M/CI technology plays a pivotal role in supporting this.

About the Research:
Methodology and Respondent Data

HUUNU Futures Prediction Market

The utility of prediction market research is well-established. Prediction market research enables organizations to accurately forecast the development and adoption of new trends and technologies. This is invaluable in enabling organizations to make long-term planning and resources allocation decisions, by helping them to understand how their competitive environment will evolve.

Prediction market research addresses the research gap that occurs when organizations use traditional market research tools and methodologies to try to predict the future. While these tools, and the predictive analytics that flow from them, have some utility, they are demonstrably less accurate than prediction market research in accurately forecasting the development of long-term trends.

HUUNU Futures was built by the team at Cipher to address this gap. HUUNU Futures is an innovative prediction market research platform that empowers researchers to conduct sophisticated, accurate market research three to five times faster than existing solutions.

Organizations deploy HUUNU Futures to test their hypotheses for what the future might look like for their market. Once the research has been conducted, organizations gain a rich blend of quantitative and qualitative information that empowers them to make important strategic decisions with a higher degree of certainty. By effectively planning and preparing for future trends, organizations can ensure they stay in tune with customer demands, and remain a step ahead of their competitors.

HUUNU Futures offers notable value in predicting long-term trend developments. It represents the perfect tool to accurately forecast the future of an industry, build a comprehensive understanding of the thoughts of key stakeholders, and inform strategic development plans across a wide variety of use cases.

HUNUU Futures Methodology: How it Works

HUUNU Futures projects typically recruit customized, knowledgeable audiences to participate in each project. For this project, an audience of 328 competitive intelligence professionals from leading organizations around the world was recruited.

The research approach utilizes a gamified user platform where research participants are asked to predict the behavior of others. Participants wager virtual currency to indicate the strength of their convictions for each of their answers. Asking participants to predict the behavior of others, rather than themselves, significantly reduces the impact of rational response bias on the research.

Additionally, participants are asked to justify their wagers by providing a short written explanation. This adds a rich layer of qualitative detail to the research. Often, it’s surprising how honest participants will be when they are asked to defend their wager, rather than to defend their own behavior. This drives higher-quality insights in the research.

The questions posed to research participants are crafted to enable researchers to explore a number of different hypotheses from several angles. Once participants have provided their responses, HUUNU Futures has sophisticated algorithms that translate this vast quantity of raw data into actionable quantitative and qualitative predictions of the future.

In various in-market and secondary validation research, HUUNU Futures has been consistently shown to have an 85%+ accuracy rate on future predictions. It is used by organizations in numerous industries to forecast trends, determine adoption rates, and better inform long-term strategic decision-making.

 

Respondent Information

Below is the breakdown of respondents who participated in this prediction market:

 

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