The following post was written by and repurposed expressly for our community by Paul Santilli. Paul is the Worldwide OEM Industry Intelligence & Strategy at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Chairman of the Board of the Directors, Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP).
Competitive Intelligence (CI) is one of the most critical methodologies we need to understand our markets fully. Traditionally, CI has been conducted by collecting, analyzing, and sharing single intelligence pieces from a single point in time. With the recent rise of new technologies, competitive intelligence data is readily available across numerous information sources in real-time. Not only is there more data in every industry, but there is more disruption occurring in every sector. We live in an environment of continuous disruption, which significantly impacts the competitive intelligence information we are collecting about our market.
This is especially important to recognize from a product marketing perspective because this intelligence output is the foundation by which to build a marketing platform to exploit the best opportunities brought about by this perpetual disruption. The familiar sources of competitive research need to be enhanced with additional intelligence sources to amplify our existing market knowledge. That's why there is a new collection of data points that competitive intelligence practitioners need to monitor. We focus on additional data points, but the role of Competitive Intelligence practitioner is extending into a new type of role, Intelligence Strategists™.
An Intelligence Strategist™ has insight into the technology implications and the global, societal, and economic impacts/ effects of supply chain products and services. Someone who is an Intelligence Strategist™ needs to be far more knowledgeable in how all of these elements interconnect to impact business growth.
Combining these insights will provide you with intelligence about your competitors, your market landscape, and knowledge that extends beyond the traditional collection of competitive intelligence research. The key to developing successful business growth strategies is integrating relevant competitive data points as an overarching strategy as early as possible. As a result, you get data-based execution plans similar to real-world dynamics.
Let's take a look at five insight types that are critical areas of interest for Intelligence Strategists™.
1. Investment Roadmaps
As a result of the tumultuous upheaval that COVID-19 has brought about in the business world, many organizations are reassessing their customer-centric value propositions around digital transformation. Businesses are investing in new areas of technology, skill sets, emerging markets, and more. By conducting competitive product analysis to understand usage characteristics, gaps in performance, and expectations, your business will be better positioned to pivot to more functional areas throughout disruptive circumstances.
Additionally, understanding resource requirements and skill sets that are being sourced by your competition will also help determine technology investment direction and consumer sentiment areas. Identifying increased investment in these specific business areas will allow you to gain insight into potential revenue attainment growth areas.
Organizational behavior often provides signals in company direction, i.e., leaving breadcrumbs on where their product or services offering may be going. Tracking and modeling these inputs can also offer strategic advantages resulting in anticipatory behaviour by your organization.
2. Portfolio Pivoting
How does your portfolio contrast or overlap with your competitors? By integrating this model of thinking around continuous disruptions into your existing competitive intelligence strategy, you'll be able to know when exactly you need to pivot to keep your business on track and maintain your spot as a market leader.
Suppose you have a grasp on potential shifts that will impact your industry and, more specifically, your company. In that case, you will be able to pivot at the right time. For example, many companies have had to pivot due to the impacts of COVID-19. Many companies have had to augment their core offerings to fit the outcomes of the disruption better. By gathering market research and keeping a pulse on how the events of COVID-19 were unfolding, companies could pivot their portfolio offerings to stay afloat during turbulent times.
With this comes the need to perform targeted assessments of its Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy under this new portfolio offering. The effects of perpetual disruption have left the business/consumer with a whole set of new expectations and requirements dramatically different from pre-COVID-19 assumptions. Reassessing consumer-based sentiments and understanding of the overall customer experience is part of this intelligence knowledge base crucial for proper business value proposition positioning for future growth.
3. Technology Target Areas
Workload analysis and macro trends development will help you better understand where investments are being made, not only for your direct competitors but for your industry as a whole. Charting an understanding of how these technology and industry applications are being applied as part of the digital transformation can provide you with highlights of where potential areas of wide-spread adoption can occur. Targeting your efforts in developing a business value proposition in these areas and tailoring a go-to-market plan around this can further prepare your organization to get ahead of the demand curve and realize growth and revenue.
4. Competitive Positioning
Where do you stack up against your competition? To fully understand your position in your market, you need to monitor yourself alongside your competitors. When thinking about your competitive positioning, take a look at your overall competitive comparison, your competitors' investment areas, partnerships, and identify key industry trends.
Furthermore, a re-education of our GTM and Solutions Selling strategy has to be applied to our sales force in anticipation of competitive re-positioning of their marketing strategy. The continuous dynamics around anticipatory competitive moves, product and service offerings, and customer requirements all provide simultaneous challenges to organic growth and market share advancements.
5. Balance Sheet / Financials
As a competitive intelligence professional, you might not be looking into your competitors' financials as often as you should be. You should be looking at financial positioning as well as identifying which competitors might be "treading water" vs. "swimming forward." Additionally, it would help if you were looking at mergers & acquisitions, investors, and stocks.
These insights will put you in a unique position to make informative decisions for growth-related outcomes. By conducting this level of research rigor and leveraging competitive, marketing, financial intelligence, etc., you're becoming an intelligence strategist™ and practicing disruption based intelligence (dxI).
To learn more about disruption based intelligence and the role of the Intelligence Strategist™, download a copy of my latest paper, Competitive Intelligence Modeling for Industry Disruption-Based Business Growth: The Rise of the Intelligence Strategist™.