The rights and wrongs of competitive intelligence

By Susannah Patton, CIO |  Business

By analyzing rivals' moves, competitive intelligence (CI) programs allow companies to anticipate market developments rather than merely react to them. The American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) recently concluded a benchmarking study comparing the CI practices of 12 identified best practices companies (partners) with 19 sponsor organizations looking for ways to improve their intelligence programs. While most of the companies surveyed use a corporate intranet to disseminate information on competitors, APQC found that best practices organizations share the most sensitive information only with senior management.

Key Business Decisions Influenced "To a High Extent" by CI Information

KEY Sponsors Partners
Strategy formulation38%55%
Mergers and acquisitions8%45%
Strategy implementation19%45%
Entering new markets27%27%
Vertical integration focus15%22%
Exiting of markets9%18%
New product development13%0%
R&D focus8%0%
New capacity additions7%0%

Extent to Which Your CI Function Uses IT for the Following Purposes (1 = to no extent; 7 = to a high extent)

Sponsors Partners
Disseminating intelligence5.56.1
Strong information so that it is accessible5.16.0
Sharing information between functional groups within the organization5.45.3
Collecting information from external sources5.95.3
Consolidation of different internal and external sources of CI 5.04.9
Facilitate the usability of CI through filtering, packaging, etc.4.64.8
Collecting information from within the organization4.74.1

Best Practices

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