Competitive intelligence (CI) refers to a tool used for marketing used by business organizations to study the competing surrounding. The process incorporates a determined information gathering based on the operations and other factors considering the competitor that enables proper decision-making of the organization management. Gower. Moloi and Iyamu, (2013) indicates that CI is significant in making marketing-related decisions and the development of market–oriented companies. Different companies use different methods to gather competitive intelligence.
Companies study an array of industry specific and general publications to provide information of the current competitive intelligence. However, the most mentioned source of industry information are monographs.
Monographs refer to the grey literature that may not be disseminated through conventional publishing channels. These include academic theses, business schools, technical reports, scholarly papers, case studies, and private and public sector documents. Sometimes the monographs are published that provides the most cost-effective and comprehensive source of CI information. Industry monographs are instrumental in providing information of the industry secular progress and historical background. Profits analysis can be obtained through long-term perspective that is compost of a richer experience variety as opposed to when only recent developments are considered. However, the major downfall is that the company conference proceedings and monographs date speedily. Internet searches, and the British Library form the major sources of grey literature.
According to Murphy (2005,) the press reports and features provide the source of current and retrospective understanding of the competitor. The journals such as Financial Times sectoral surveys enable a company to obtain an excellent overview of the competitor of various business lines. Likewise, it outlines the individual players’ profile and the most pressing current issues affecting the competitor. Numerous trade journals provide annual surveys of the major trends and events in their specific business line. Furthermore, Murphy (2005) writes that the regulatory authorities also provide a great quality of information may be availed at a modest cost.
The studies and reports provided by the Competition Commission have plenty of significant data and analysis that provides an excellent model on the procedures of undertaking the studies of the competing industry. The public watchdogs charged with the roles of overseeing the public sector forms excellent targets of CI information.
Company circulars that they have to send to their shareholders under specific conditions are also significant sources of CI. For example, material acquisition and classified information on the listing rules provides information on the size of the company. Circulars contain FSA that may require the researcher to visit the company headquarters to obtain the corporate documents. Furthermore, Murphy (2005) indicates that shareholder data that has special rules that apply to the reporting of the changes within the entire PLCs. The Companies’ Act provides that PLCs are always documented in the company annual reports. This information provides the holdings of 3 percent of the total voting share capital of the firm. The information provided in such notifications that are subjected to public scrutiny provides CI information.
Murphy further writes that company patents provide mechanisms of obtaining competitive advantage and the trademarks that provides the insights that describe the company enrichments. However, some companies believe that human resource intelligence. Company investigators may use direct contact with company human resource intelligence through identifying the subjects and planning of interviews. Human resource provides updated information on the company; however, it may be difficult to secure the potential individual to approach for such CI information.
A typical example of CI mentions the stock traders who analyze the data based on the price movements and prices to determine the best investments. They possess similar data to other traders, yet data analysis provides their difference with others. Moreover, Japanese automobile industry that analysed the U.S automobiles of in the 1970s based on the products and the demands of the customer (Wagner &Van 2011). The smaller families and high gasoline prices created a demand in the U.S for fuel efficient and smaller cars. Therefore, the Japanese automobiles applied CI methods to establish a trend and further made the decisions on manufacturing based on the results of CI information. The produced cars defeated the U.S Big Three in the market due to fuel-efficiency and high-quality cars.
Despite the entire pool of information sources, the internet and human resource intelligence may be the most effective sources of information in terms of accuracy, ethics and cost-effectiveness.
The company websites provide an array of information that can be easily assessed compared to published documents. The website provides comprehensive information on the new developments, business practices, and detailed information on strategies and tactics established by the company. Likewise, as Wagner and Van (2011) establishes, the internet can provide detailed information based on the vision, CEO statements, goals and objectives, and the overall management of the firm. The commitment of the firm to quality, consumer problems, investments and plants, structure are also provided in the web pages of the company. Likewise, human resource can be maintained for a long period once the first interview is secured. Although it is a subject of ethics, human resource intelligence will provide the most updated information on the company plans.
Gower. Moloi, R., & Iyamu, T. (April 01, 2013). Understanding the Deployment of Competitive Intelligence Through Moments of Translation. International Journal of Information Technology and Web Engineering (ijitwe), 8, 2, 33-45.
Murphy, C. (2005). Competitive intelligence: Gathering, analysing and putting it to work. Aldershot, England:
Wagner, L., & Van, B. J.-P. (January 01, 2011). Web Mining for Strategic Competitive Intelligence.