Finding the information that you require for competitive intelligence purposes is not difficult and it could provide your organization with what it needs. This could mean driving your strategy, calming anxieties, or even giving you the competitive edge. Making sure that you have a process to maximize the collection and format this into a usable form will give you these possibilities, and remembering to err on the side of ethical behaviour will keep you out of the corporate espionage realm.
There are a few different places to competitive intelligence gather the data but using search engines and just digging through the results will give you a mountain of data. The great thing about the internet is that once the information is up it is hard to truly get it all out, as it replicates in different locations across hundreds of servers every day. By digging through blog posts, public emails, management`s Twitter messages or any other online profiles you can not only collect past data but also monitor this data real time. This information can be invaluable when you are trying to compete on any level. A great way to think about competitive intelligence is that it is focused market data that you are trying to obtain on one or more companies that you compete with. Using this data can help your company to make decisions that will allow you to seem more competitive, while also safeguarding you against unexpected moves made by your competitors.
Using the information that is available can consist of public records and online searches, and these can give you the heads up regarding the moves that your competitor is making, even if they are trying to do it without your knowing. In the information age, it is difficult to not leave clues for people that are watching. By narrowing the search to a specific few indicators you can maximize your company`s time and resources. Instead of trying to know everything about every competitor, use the most valuable data metrics to your situation and regularly monitor and review your competition against these values. The goal of any successful competitive intelligence is to give you actionable information so that you can make an informed business decision.
Although there is plenty of information it is important to make sure that your sources are credible or at the very least corroborated by two or more data points. Relying on one source of information is tricky and can backfire if you assume that it is fact. Using your entire company and all of the resources that you have available to collect data will give you multiple data points to corroborate your competitive intelligence and increase its effectiveness.