What is the Purpose of Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive Intelligence is a decisive tool for decision making and managing business operations. Competence is almost always based on a decision maker's ability to read the situation. Hence insights and understanding serve as the core to successful business decisions.
Competitive intelligence has provided an edge to companies who practice it effectively over non practicing competitors. Companies use competitive intelligence to provide added value to their target market.
This added value is often difficult to replicate. And so it becomes a company's competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is more of an unfair advantage that a business might have over its competitors.
Competitive advantage is revolutionary in its impacts on industries. Businesses adopting improved business models using competitive intelligence have transformed entire industries. The pursuit for competitive advantage has changed the behavior of competitors.
This behavior has allowed enterprises to effectively identify gaps in the market. Furthermore, enterprises have succeeded in filling these gaps. Hence working for the overall good for the industry.
More importantly, it is the market that has benefited from enterprises' improved ability to provide value. Customers have enjoyed the luxury of useful products and improved services. These products and services have emerged from the comprehensive process of competitive intelligence.
Once companies have adapted to the practice of competitive intelligence, there is no going back. So the purpose of adhering to competitive intelligence is simply the powerful flow of the concept.
Once companies started to adapt to competitive intelligence, they pushed their competitors to follow. This tussle lead to the development of competitive intelligence in a flow. Most certainly this flow pushed the need for competitive intelligence to greater degrees.
Evolving Competitive Intelligence
There are examples of many comprehensive practices in businesses that are always evolving. In Fact they are evolving towards improvement in their usefulness. Ideas in such concepts developing from need will always end up sticking around in business.
One example of such is marketing. Market trends, behavior, methods are always changing. And so the concepts in marketing are always upgrading. This is because business is a human centric discipline and marketing is always up front.
Modern and postmodern era is always changing and evolving for better or worse. Marketing being directly connected to these changes has both direct and indirect impact. Similarly the practice of competitive intelligence has evolved overtime.
Marketing has evolved due to its need. This relationship is parallel with competitive intelligence as well. Competitive intelligence was initially an enclosed practice. Only serving the top decision makers with insights.
Yet it has taken over operational level and tactical level practices as well. The concept of competitive intelligence has integrated itself well with organizational structures. Aiding them in not just strategies but tasks.
Tactical intelligence directly influences day to day tasks. These tasks may include, managing capital, cash flow, buying and selling, marketing and finances. Improving the framework of business and internal environment to smoothen operations has been crucial development in business.
Operational intelligence is set to improve medium term tasks of business. Data is collected and analyzed to improve functions of managing tasks. These tasks may have direct or indirect impact on the business for long term or short term.
The fact that intelligence has evolved as such proves its purpose. Of course, this evolution wouldn't be possible unless there was a need for it. As economies evolve over time the importance of value becomes the priority for enterprises.
SMEs Practicing Competitive Intelligence
Perhaps the biggest proof of the significance of Competitive intelligence is seen in the fact that SMEs started practicing competitive intelligence. Initially competitive intelligence was used by larger corporations standing at the top of the market.
These were powerful competitors who could afford agility. Even then competitive intelligence was just a sub practice of decision makers. As we discussed this evolution is seen laterally. However one needs to point out that this evolution has developed vertically as well.
From being a solely top level practice to making its way to medium enterprises. Competitive intelligence has really integrated itself into business. Medium enterprises have increasingly recognized the usefulness of competitive intelligence.
Undeniably, medium scale enterprises have greater flexibility and easier to manage operations. Hence they could use data more effectively and in real time. This means that they could fill gaps in the market with greater effectiveness.
Medium scale enterprises rely on useful data. Contrary to large scale enterprises who rely on bulkiness of data. The reason being that data is difficult to manage. Hence it is of greater utility if medium enterprises focus on extracting information from manageable data.
Hence the method of intelligence adopted by medium and small scale enterprises is focused on using data effectively. Rather than focusing on gathering more data. This is the reason for vertical integration of competitive intelligence in the scales of enterprises.
Competitive intelligence is detailed and comprehensive. So it can be changed and varied according to the requirements of these enterprises.
The Purpose of competitive intelligence
The whole idea of explaining to you the integration of competitive intelligence practices both vertically and laterally is to make you realize the importance of it. Competitive intelligence addresses the need of the hour. The need being effective practices and added value.
Competitive intelligence has reduced friction and increased adaptability of internal functions of organizations like competitive intelligence consultants. This has allowed enterprises to be more flexible and up to task. This is very crucial since the market has become expensive and wondrous.
Businesses don't like surprises because they bring uncertainties. So businesses function better when there is greater certainty. Surely competitive intelligence provides that certainty in all aspects of business.
Need for certainty in the face of competition is perhaps the most significant reason for practicing competitive intelligence. Businesses can be toppled by unforeseen circumstances that are created by indirect competition. As opposed to direct competition which can be detected in time.
Intelligence provides binoculars for this sort of situation where indirect competition threatens business. Furthermore, perhaps the most important purpose is to predict and overcome environmental changes.
These changes can be far more obstructive and destructive than even competition. They not only have a direct impact on businesses but also on the market. So how can business thrive without Competitive Intelligence?