Can Competitive Intelligence disappoint the reader? Here are five reasons

Can Competitive Intelligence disappoint the reader? Here are five reasons

Can Competitive Intelligence disappoint the reader? Here are five reasons

It can be disappointing when you expect something, and it doesn’t work out as expected. From a project you’re working on to your expectations from a business relationship. When expectations are not matched by reality, it leads to feelings of disappointment. When something is expected to happen but doesn’t, this can lead to frustration. In this article, we ask, can Competitive Intelligence disappoint the reader? Here are five reasons

Digging around for the reasons

So here at Octopus, we are told that we deliver more than expected. And there is no one else that does what we do. Hard work and total commitment to helping a client should be the minimum requirement. And we know through our work with SCIP there are great agencies around. 

So we did some digging around as to why we deliver more than expected according to our clients. So why have many of our clients and prospects have had their fingers burned in the past? Our discussions tell us many organisations have experienced some of the following:

  1. Experience massive disappointment in the end product they receive
  2. Been burned before with expectations that never match reality 
  3. An over-reliance on technology
  4. Don’t know where to start with Competitive Intelligence, so some may not bother
  5. And too much reliance on secondary research

1. Experience massive disappointment in the end product they receive

This is down to not selecting a Competitive Intelligence agency for a start. And the researcher has not insisted on defined questions. So then there’s the over-promising and under-delivering. They are expecting masses of data and unrealistic expectations. It also shows the lack of input or senior approval of any report from those selected. A senior team member must approve any report that leaves our desk. And they also should have a working knowledge of the project. Leaving it to the new graduate recruit is not healthy. They may, of course, do an excellent job. But if they have had their head to the grindstone researching, they can be jaded. And they need more holistic input. Someone else asking questions and offering thoughts and direction. A Competitive Intelligence report should never be a one-person activity.

2. Been burned before with expectations that never match reality 

This situation is down to over-promising results and a lack of direction in a project. People who experience this have usually appointed the wrong partner. And it’s typically a non-Competitive Intelligence specialist. And all they get is lots of information. We find the main reason why expectations don’t match reality is down to four things:

  1. A complete lack of any questions
  2. Limited work to determine if they are asking the right questions. And the researcher takes these questions as gospel without studying and challenging assumptions
  3. A failure to understand what the problems are that need to be resolved for the project to have any impact
  4. Sheer laziness of the researcher who thinks a Google search and cut and paste is acceptable. 

3. An over-reliance on technology

There has been a rise in technology within business and Competitive Intelligence. Some believe getting access to a platform alone will give you insight. It may do, but it probably won’t. Even worse when you find out the platform isn’t even Competitive Intelligence. Or the database is excellent at giving you information on Apple and Microsoft. But not so good at those companies under £100 million.

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence is the finding, sorting and critical analysis of information. To make sense of what’s happening and why. Predict what’s going to happen and give the options to help you control the outcome. Competitive Intelligence offers more certainty, competitive advantage, and insight.

But for tech to help, it requires considerable human input. To clarify, most platforms will agree with this. Looking for information from other sources, not just the platform. Most, if not all, platforms are information portals that collect and then distribute insight. They do this via alerts, newsletters, battlecards and other tools. All are very useful and very powerful. And some incredible platforms are transforming capabilities for busy Competitive Intelligence professionals.

Analysis needs the human mind

No matter how much AI is claimed to be used, none of them can do the job of a human when it comes to analysis. The analysis is the golden ticket—no analysis, then no Intelligence. We would be delighted to be challenged on this, but there’s a reason why battlecards and newsletters (yuk!) are popular. But SaaS Competitive Intelligence companies needed some way of presenting their information. Battlecards and other tools straightforwardly do this. Again don’t get us wrong; battlecards are great at communicating Competitive Intelligence. As long as the content contained within them is helpful for the user. 

4. A failure to understand what the problems are that need to be resolved for the project to have any impact

Before you start a project, there must be a problem you need to solve. Otherwise, why are you doing it? Defining the problem is essential. It is also necessary to discuss the back story with who you select for the Intelligence project. An attitude that what the problem is none of the researcher’s business doesn’t work. It’s not Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Everyone needs context.

5. Too much reliance on secondary research

Just looking at secondary research can be a big problem. A huge problem. A good analyst will likely find more secondary information than you. But it’s called secondary for a reason. It’s second-best to primary. Choose the primary source if you have access to a primary source and a secondary source. Primary will be far superior every time. No contest. Secondary research is good for verifying primary sources’ claims. Or indeed the photograph you have taken. A Competitive Intelligence report should be a balance of secondary and primary research. This is where cheap and cheerful offshore options fall over. And huge disappointment enfolds. 

Can Competitive Intelligence disappoint the reader? Here are five reasons

In conclusion, we asked whether Competitive Intelligence can disappoint the reader. We offered five reasons. It’s evident that we can become too reliant on technology and secondary research. However it’s essential to know how to start this process to avoid disappointment in the end product. Competitive intelligence is precious and should be taken seriously by all businesses.

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