5 Ways Competitive Intelligence Teams Can Prove Their Worth
Benjamin Gilad, CI consultant and co-founder of the Academy of Competitive Intelligence, once stated that 90 percent of all Fortune 500 companies currently have formal CI activities in place.
According to a 2012 study by Frost & Sullivan, co-sponsored by the Society of Competitive Intelligence (SCIP),
- 33 percent of CI departments will increase their budgets,
- 23 percent will increase their staff,
- And only 29 percent rate their effectiveness as “Below Average” or “Poor”
Surely this evidence concludes competitive intelligence departments should provide value for business and CEOs alike, right?
Gilad follows his statistic with an ominous insight for competitive intelligence functions:
“Yet, ask top executives to recall one occasion of how CI affected their strategy, and they go blank. Ask them who their intelligence analyst is, and they have no idea. At an age when ‘‘rising global competitive pressure’’ is on every executive’s lips, why has CI failed to leave real impact on companies’ C-suites?”
For CI efforts to shine bright from the top of the food chain, CI teams must prove their efforts positively impact the quality of decision-making among executives and departments leaders. It’s actually not about quantifying tactics or measuring ROI like other service functions may do, CI functions must prove their value is supportive, much like accounting or project management. So instead of waiting for management to ask about analysis and results, CI functions must be proactive and transparent about showing it.
Here are five ways CI teams can show their value day-to-day and in the long term:
1. Communicate Insights Regularly
CI teams may be monitoring, collecting, and analyzing data, but without communicating information that is relevant, actionable, and timely, the function is not justified. A 2012 trend survey confirms that business executives depend on CI services most before important meetings and on an everyday basis.
Briefing management regularly on insights that spark not just interest, but action, will frame the CI function as necessary for optimal company performance this quarter, next season, and for years to come.
2. Have A Dedicated Spokesperson
Communicating insights regularly means having an assigned communicator, or spokesperson, to represent the entire CI function. All departments heads or executives benefit from having a person to ask questions and field suggestions, and make updates on a day-to-day basis. It keeps the CI function transparent about their progress and dispels confusion among analysts and decision-makers. In addition, the spokesperson can articulate the needs and actions required from knowledge gathered, helping top executives be feel the urgency and make proactive moves.
3. Supply Intelligence When Departments Need It
When it’s time for departments to do their annual or quarterly market or industry assessments, CI functions can supply their own primary and secondary intelligence to produce a more complete analysis. For example, if the sales department completes a win-loss assessment quarterly, CI teams can plan to provide their own data from customers, competitors, and the marketplace to combine it with sales intelligence. To conclude, CI departments should serve as tappable intellectual resources for accurate and complete analysis.
4. Provide Access To Knowledge
The best CI teams know that information is explosive and the slightest change can predict a big shakeup in the market. All information is vital, but only some of it is relevant to specific departments and their needs. Having a tech-portal that stores all your secondary intelligence, like clearCi, can make viewing and sharing incoming data easy and transparent among multiple teams and departments. clearCi, for example, has sharable folders where sensitive data can be stored and shared between key players across the enterprise.
5. Support Other Departments
Much like above, CI teams should also go the extra mile to service research requests from departments in the form of a help desk. Cases can be developed from verifying assumptions, completing reports, or developing wargame scenarios to complete strategic planning. Competitive intelligence software can aid in this service and make sure CI teams are organized with multiple cases from company departments and executives. By servicing internal customers, CI departments can showcase their efficiency and productivity by reporting total number of cases closed, and length of time to close cases with their end-results or action items.
There are many ways to implement data management and competitive intelligence software to a company's marketing function. To learn how to gain a competitive advantage using business intelligence and competitor monitoring software in your marketing department, download our helpful competitive guide.
What do you think? How else can competitive intelligence functions prove their value to upper management?