Contemporary Practices of Intelligence Support for Competitiveness
This paper focuses on the practices, assessment approaches, procedures, and applied aspects of competitive intelligence (CI). The study relies upon a survey of CI practitioners conducted in 2019 and a comparison of its results with a similar survey in 2006. It was found that companies spend the time devoted to this activity mainly on processes that go beyond collecting information, including planning, analysis, communications, and management. Most enterprises have official divisions and profile managers. The results are used to perform a variety of strategic and tactical tasks.
The main sources of information are the Internet, company employees, customers, and industry experts. Compared to 2006, a new key resource has emerged — social networks. Of the analytical methods, SWOT analysis and the study of competitors are most often used. Several channels of communication are used simultaneously to disseminate the received information, mainly email and presentations are used. Key performance criteria are customer satisfaction and the number of decisions made based on the information gathered.
A comparative analysis revealed that over the period separating the surveys of 2006 and 2019, the function of the CR has become more formalized. The share of companies with centralized divisions and CI managers has grown. Currently, this activity more often goes beyond the simple profiling and evaluation of competitors. Technology assessment, economic, and political analysis are more actively practiced.