June 30,   2005
Volume I   Issue 10

Welcome to a special edition of MarketIntellibits, featuring a
guest article by  Ian Smith  of Competia, the international forum
for Competitive Intelligence

Why The Need For A Competitive Intelligence Function?
By Ian Smith

“90% of everything we need to know is probably already known by
someone in the company” - Stephen Storms, head of competitive
intelligence for Weyerhaeuser (Source: Globes Online, June 6, 2005)

Competitive intelligence is more than searching the Internet for business
related information.  The business function incorporates the legal and ethical
process of gathering, analyzing and disseminating of information.   The end
result of the process allows companies to make the best strategic decisions
to become or remain competitive in their respective industries and markets.

This article will highlight the fruits of possessing a competitive intelligence
function on a long-term basis.

1 – The function can increase the value of existing and incoming raw data

Are you using the information gathered to its full potential?  A formal
competitive intelligence function will ensure that information is carefully
assessed and placed into the right hands in the company.  With the use of
strategic analysis frameworks and corporate intranets or internal
newsletters, raw data can be transformed and be readily available as
actionable intelligence to those who need it to reach corporate objectives.

2 – Competitive intelligence assists in risk management

Unsure about what may lie ahead?  With the right information and
assessment tools, personnel in the competitive intelligence function can
provide insights to better prepare those who make key decisions regarding
vital aspects of their company and industry.  Competitive intelligence
deliverables such as financial forecasts and trend analysis reports can be
the best aids when assessing risk.

3 – Monitoring the developments in the industry is good business practice

Do you know how to track relevant industry news and access reports on a
regular basis?  The gathering process of competitive intelligence can
contain a system in which personnel or web applications can track certain
aspects of your industry.  Announcements regarding joint ventures,
acquisitions, patents and product launches can be collected from public

4 – Knowing how to share is a skill that should be mastered by all who have
access to information

Does the right information get to the right individuals in a timely fashion?  At
this stage of the competitive intelligence process, it is important to specify
what kind of information should be available internally and how it will be
shared.  Dissemination tools allow individuals to deliver intelligence in many
forms.  Companies who choose not to have an established sharing platform
will experience problems accessing critical information and insights that
may lie in the hands of very few individuals.

5 – Protecting what others know about your company

How much information can competitors collect about your company?  Not
only can competitive intelligence help in finding out more about the
competition but it is extremely important to know what information is
available on your company.   Known as “defensive competitive intelligence”
or counter intelligence, the function gauges what can be collected and
analyzed to gain a competitive edge in the industry by proactive competitors.

Still not convinced about the benefits of having a competitive intelligence
function?  If not, consider your responses to the following additional

•        Can you afford not to know about future trends in your industry?
•        Can you afford not to know about the new products or services
launched by key competitors?
•        Can you afford not to know who is in control at the leading companies
in your sector?
•        Can you afford not to know what information may lie within your
company but is not readily accessible?

If you have answered “Yes” to any of the four questions above, your
company is in need of a competitive intelligence function.

About The Author:

Ian Smith is the Marketing and Content Manager of Competia Online
Magazine.  Ian has written over 200 articles on the subject of the processes
and tools for competitive intelligence.  

Ian can be reached at

About Competia:

Competia is a forum where competitive intelligence and strategic planning
professionals gather to share information, reflect on new trends and best

Competia is online at


Need help assessing your competitive intelligence needs or building a
competitive intelligence function?  
MarketIntell can help.  Email Jack Miller
or call Jack Miller at 203 925 0326.

MarketIntellibits  is published semi-monthly  by MarketIntell,  a  Market
Intelligence consultancy founded by Jack Miller, a long time sales and
marketing executive in the paper industry.    

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