Competitor Intelligence Investigate
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Competitor Intelligence Investigate

1. The concept of competitive intelligence

Competitive intelligence refers to information and research about the competitive environment, competitors and competitive strategies. It is a process and a product. The process includes the collection and analysis of competitive information; the product includes the intelligence and strategy that is formed. According to the definition of SCIP (American Association of Competitive Intelligence Professionals), competitive intelligence is a process in which people collect, analyze, and disseminate accurate, relevant, and relevant, relevant business environments, competitors, and organizations themselves in a professional and ethical manner. Specific, timely, forward-looking and actionable intelligence is both a product and a process. As a product, it is a kind of information. Competitive intelligence work is to build an intelligence system that helps managers assess competitors and suppliers to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of competition. Competitive intelligence helps managers analyze their opponents, suppliers and the environment to reduce risk. Competitive intelligence enables managers to anticipate changes in business relationships, seize market opportunities, resist threats, anticipate adversary strategies, discover new or potential competitors, learn from others' successes or failures, and gain insight into the technology movements that affect the company. And understand the impact of government policies on competition and plan successful marketing plans. Competitive intelligence has become a long-term strategic asset for the organization.


2. Procedures for competitive intelligence investigation

1) General steps for competitive intelligence work

Planning and orientation are the steps to understand intelligence needs and establish intelligence goals. There are three basic questions: What do we need? Why do you need to know this? Once you know what decisions to make and what actions to take?

Information gathering is the most time consuming and resource-intensive step. The question to be solved at this stage is: What information to collect? Where is the source of information? What method is used to obtain?

Information processing is a preliminary identification, sorting, and ordering process, or a process of information intelligence. Information that is not analyzed is worthless. The purpose of the analysis is to put the information gathered from various aspects into consideration of competitive strategies.


2) Clarify "needs" and "seeking"

"Needs" and "Seeking" are often separated. Understanding intelligence needs is a long-term running-in process. Intelligence personnel should often communicate with management personnel to understand what information they need and use; and conduct research and training on how and how intelligence personnel and decision-makers communicate.

What are their threats to us?

How big is the gap between us and them?

Where are their strengths and weaknesses?


3) Pay attention to the principle of information collection: continuity and systematicity

Intelligence personnel often do not engage in intelligence work from the perspective of decision-making, but from the perspective of collecting information, so that intelligence analysis reports deviate from the real needs of users. You should learn to collect intelligence from the perspective of managers. When accepting an intelligence inquiry request, it should be clear what the purpose of collecting the collected information is, which saves time for managers and intelligence personnel. Continuity-stare at your opponent like a shadow (the so-called "shadow strategy")


4) Analyze the problem and determine the search language

The first step in any “trial inspection” is to analyze the problem, to understand technical terms, the level of concepts, the complex relationships between companies, the names of financial data, etc., and to determine the relevant search language (category, keywords, topics, time elements). Wait). The lack of information is often related to the lack of depth of analysis and the mechanical matching of keywords.


5) "Testing" and determining the source of information

After clear requirements, intelligence personnel is not sure whether they can find the required information. "Testing" is often an important step in fulfilling contracts, meeting needs, and adjusting collection plans. The immediate purpose of the “test” is to find the right source of information and estimate its cost, time and manpower.


3. Source of intelligence information

Information source according to the hierarchical structure of intelligence

Level A: Information about facts and processes;

Level B: Information on trends and trends;

Level C: Information that summarizes facts, processes, trends, and trends;

Level D: Information that reflects and recognizes facts, processes, trends, trends, general phenomena, and laws

From A to D, the level of confidentiality, value, discreteness, and difficulty of acquisition are diminished.


Information source by intelligence content

1. Newspapers and professional magazines

2. Industry Association publications

3. Industry Research Report

4. Publicly disclosed files of government administrative agencies (such as business registration notices, listed company performance reports, patents, industrial standards, etc.)

5. Government publications (such as statistics, government work reports, various white papers, etc.)

6. Database

7. Business Directory

8. Product Catalog, Manual

9. Credit investigation report

10. Corporate Recruitment Report

11. Employees of various functional departments within the enterprise

12. Dealer

13. Supplier

14. Industry conference

15. Industry authorities

16. Exhibition

17. Customer

18. Competitors

19. Reverse engineering

20. Professional survey and advisory body


Information source and information acquisition method according to carrier and form

  • Public information

  • Electronic information source

  • Internal information sources

  • Third-party information source (interpersonal network)

  • Verbal and physical information (including the source of exhibition information)

  • Advertising


4. Analysis and research methods of competitive intelligence survey

After obtaining basic intelligence information, it needs to be "processed", ie analyzed and researched, to get the information that is ultimately needed. So, what are the methods of analysis and research?

(1) SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis is the most basic, effective and concise analysis method in enterprise competitive intelligence work, and it is a method that competitive intelligence workers must master. Regardless of the analysis of the company itself or its competitors, SWOT analysis can objectively demonstrate a real competitive situation; on this basis, guide the formulation, implementation and testing of the company's competitive strategy; and the overall situation Once you understand it, you can use a variety of other analytical methods to better analyze and plan your competitors and the company itself.


(2) Macro environmental analysis (PEST analysis)

PEST analysis: Analyze the impact of environmental change on the enterprise from the perspective of politics (legal), economic socio-cultural and technical: With the rapid development of economic, social, scientific and technological aspects, especially the globalization of the world economy, integration The acceleration of the process, the establishment of global information networks and the diversification of consumer demand, the environment in which enterprises are located is more open and turbulent. This change has had a profound impact on almost all businesses. Because of this, environmental analysis has become an increasingly important corporate function.


(3) Analysis of financial statements

The financial analysis method collects the financial statements of the research objects through various methods, and analyzes the information such as the operation status, financing channels, and investment directions. The collection of financial information is difficult, but there are also some unique methods, such as government departments, industry associations, market research companies, various documents, interim reports and annual reports of listed companies, and news reports. Although financial analysis can be used to effectively track the operating conditions of competitors and the direction and quantity of their capital flows.


(4) Five strength models

The five power models are a structured environmental analysis method proposed by Harvard University professor Michael Porter's masterpiece Competition Strategy.


(5) Analysis of core competitiveness

The core competence of an enterprise refers to an organic combination of multiple technologies, skills and knowledge that provide the basis for competitiveness and competitive advantage. The characteristics of the core competence of the enterprise are essentially the general logical reasoning of the enterprise competence theory, which shows that the core competence is the source of the company's sustainable competitive advantage.


(6) competitor tracking

Competitor tracking is to track and monitor the production, operation, management and development of competitors or advanced enterprises in the industry, so as to know ourselves and know how to adjust and improve their own strategies and tactics accordingly. The tracking of competitors by enterprises is the core content of competitive intelligence work. Under the guidance of SWOT analysis and core competitiveness analysis, the value chain of the company itself and its competitors is tracked.



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