Competitive Intelligence – A Short Note

The below diagram shows the lifecycle of business transformation. It’s within the Industry Scan we consider Competitive Intelligence

Today is just a short reflection on my views on strategy and the importance of competitive intelligence. It came about as a result of a conversation with a local business director as we were talking about transformation of his organisation. We were talking about the 2020 goals for his organisation and he was planning to take out a very sizeable loan to support his ambitious plans. As we were talking I took a moment to ask him about how his businesses products and services where doing in comparison to his rivals. He took a moment to reflect and I noticed him struggle with the thoughts of who his rivals actually were. It was interesting how little thought he’d given to who the competition was, what they were offering and whether they were doing it well or badly.

My own thoughts on strategy and competitive intelligence are akin to managing a football team or going into battle. Would you go into a football match with just the thought that we will put out 11 players, let them play and that will be it? Jose Mourinho or Jurgen Klopp wouldn’t. They spend countless hours before a match assessing the team they are coming up against. They assess each opposition players strengths and weaknesses, they review formations played, they look at key moments and decisions made in previous matches. This information informs the training and preparation leading up to the match.

Remember that the aim of a football match is to win by scoring more goals than the opposition and there is the key phrase i.e. “than the opposition”. In order to win you must look at the opposition and consider where their strengths and weaknesses as well as your own. The idea is to exploit the opponent’s weaknesses and mitigate the effects of their strengths. Strategy involves making most use of your own strengths and organising them in a way to exploit the weaknesses of the opposition.

In business, we call this Competitive Intelligence.

Here’s an interesting article by CBS News on how politicians do opposition research

Feel free to complete our free business-model-assessment if you want an insight into how you’re managing your business strategy

Brian Hill is the principal partner at Rubiks Cube Management services and can be contacted via our Contact Us page