Competitive Intelligence analysis tips for using in your day to day work
Here we offer an ever-growing list of Competitive Intelligence analysis tips for use in your day to day work.
- Never start a project without planning. Including the isolation of quality well thought out questions. Never ever agree to a request to find “everything” on a particular subject.
- Create a map of the current situation. What you have and the conflicting possibilities. Plot a map of the situation faced. There are no rules for the map, and it will fit with what you see. A map visualises the situation. You may find a pencil and paper is much better than a piece of software.
- Conduct analysis by taking your information and break it down into smaller piles. Move those piles around. Name the piles and look for patterns. If you cant find patterns and links, start the whole thing again. If you still can’t see anything, ask different questions.
- You are not finished there. Once you have broken down the information, it’s time to bring it all together again. This is called synthesis within the field of Intelligence. Combine everything together to reach conclusions. Isolate trends, patterns, probabilities and likelihoods. Likewise, if you can’t see anything keep looking. Move things around or ask different questions.
- Look at Traffic Analysis. See who is talking to who (or following who). What are they saying, and how interested are they in each other?
- Take the who, what, where and when and how from the situation. When did it happen? Where did it happen? What were the conditions like? Who was involved?
- Take a look at what’s happened or happening and put them into a timeline. Ask yourself if it’s the correct timeline.
- Issue every report with the content as accurate and credible as possible. Don’t hide the lack of content (or work) by adding pointless doughnuts and graphs. Never face fit. If it’s not tidy, then that’s ok.
- Allow time for reading through the final work to specifically look for contradictions.
- Never be tempted to manipulate, ignore and add data to force to fit the conclusions.
- Never, ever answer the question before you start the work. Just as importantly, never have a person senior to you insist on the answer to the question.
- Make sure your methods and conclusions are scrutinised before presenting your findings. Assess the quality of your sources. Your team’s skills compared to the importance of the subject matter.
- Don’t dwell on the data and insist on finding more to ensure your answer is excessively accurate. Or to make them or yourself look incredibly clever.
- Produce your conclusions in time for them to be of any use to the decision-makers. In other words, nothing should get in the way of a deadline.
- Make sure any financial analyses have been rigorously tested.
- Don’t worry about uncertainty but tell the reader how certain you are. Express how likely it is for something to happen. Place probability into a number between 1 -10.
- Face it, the information you are working with is often incomplete, fragmented. And occasionally wrong. If wrong, determine if it was a deliberate act or a mistake.
- Discuss findings before publishing. There may be many interpretations of the presented facts. And if time allows, it’s best to clear them up beforehand.
- Once you have your Intelligence, work backwards from the answer. See how you answered the questions. Asking why and so what?
- Try assuming that you’re mistaken and ask yourself what would you expect to see if you were wrong.
- What evidence would you need to see to determine future changes to the situation? Will it throw up more alternative theories to what you have isolated now?
- Look for, understand and call out the biases you, your sources, and the decision-makers may have.
- Run each piece of insight against the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH). Cross theories out. Or look to add more Rate them between 1 and 5. Ask if the Hypotheses are true. What evidence would you see? What evidence have you found? And how likely is it to be true? What would you expect to see if the H is wrong? If wrong or right, how will the Hypotheses look, and what?
- When looking at your work, determine how important it is. And how time-sensitive the insight could be. So rate the quality between one and five. Rate the time-sensitivity between 1-5. Five being the most important and time-sensitive. 5/5 Extremely important, and the decision-maker need to act quickly.
- Never dismiss anything as not possible. Especially when it comes to future product development and inventions.
Competitive Intelligence Analysis Tips to use in your day to day work
We provided an ever-growing list of Competitive Intelligence Analysis tips to use in your day to day work. Feel free to get in touch with your comments or your own thoughts to include.