Posts Tagged ‘business intelligence’

Competitive Intelligence – Consensus?

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

My two previous Competitive Intelligence posts (here and here) generated a lot of discussion – but a surprising convergence of views about the scope and limitations of competitor intelligence, and about how insights about competitors fit into the larger universe of what I believe is most accurately termed “Business Intelligence”.

Debra D (from the healthcare insurance field, commenting at a Linked-In group) perhaps summarizes it best:

“Competitive intelligence is about understanding the broader market dynamics which includes understanding customers’ and suppliers’ motivations and drivers, not just competitors…. The point of CI is well beyond just understanding what the competitors are up to. Woe to the company whose CI efforts and resources just focus on the competition.”

Interestingly, the usage of the term ‘competitive intelligence’ to lead her definition highlights the semantic confusion around terms such as business vs market vs customer vs competitive intelligence that seems to obscure a general sense of agreement among all of us commentators.

The underlying message seems to be that too narrow a focus – a fixation, if you will – on a single dimension of business intelligence (even if you excel in that dimension!) will blind you to important and eventually dominant events in other dimensions.

I suspect there’s an even deeper message here, too –that creating and maintaining business success is a lot like building a healthy life. It comes not from doing one thing (be it cardio workouts or vegan diets, customer service or applications research, for example) exceedingly well but by doing an excellent job of orchestrating the smooth and symbiotic functioning of all the supporting parts and functions. It’s a message I’d like to think about some more and to write about soon.

Go here to read verbatims from many of the best comments