Competitive Intelligence related glossary of terms

This list is an ever-growing and regularly updated alphabetical Competitive Intelligence glossary of terms.

A

After action reviews

After action reviews are a process used for examining the performance of an individual or team, this is done by analysing their actions and decisions to identify any errors, determine what went well, and come up with ways to improve.

Agent handler

An agent handler is a person who is in charge of running the Intelligence collection from an individual. Duties include recruiting, instructing, motivating, debriefing and advising your agent.

Alias

An alias is a false name used by a person to protect their identity.

All source intelligence 

All source intelligence is a type of Intelligence that draws on information from various sources to provide the best possible understanding of a given situation. All source intelligence includes Human Intelligence, Signals Intelligence, Open Source Intelligence and Imagery Intelligence.

Ambushing

Ambushing describes a marketing campaign that takes place before or after an event, usually without the knowledge of the event organisers. Ambush marketing campaigns are often unethical because they take advantage of the event organisers’ publicity to promote themselves.

Analysis paralysis

Analysis paralysis is a term used to describe a situation where someone spends an inordinate amount of time analysing all the possible outcomes of a decision. It is often associated with decisions that have high consequences.

Anti-surveillance

Anti-surveillance is the act of avoiding and detecting surveillance by using various methods such as camouflage, countersurveillance, and anti-tracking devices. Find out if people are watching you, whom they are, ideally without letting them know you are aware.

Applied research

Applied research is a branch of science and engineering that uses the knowledge gained from basic research to develop new products, processes, or ways of solving problems. It is the process of taking knowledge gained from basic research and using it to solve practical problems. Applied research typically focuses on developing new products, strategies, or ways of solving problems that arise in the industry.

Argument mapping

A visual representation of an argument. It can be used to organise, summarise, and analyse the idea. Argument maps are often created to identify or resolve disagreements about the conclusion of an argument. 

Creating an argument map is to understand the reasoning behind the conclusion. This is done by breaking down the argument into its constituent parts and then analysing each piece in relation to one another.

Asset

An asset is someone who knowingly or unknowingly provides Intelligence to a handler.

Assumption

An assumption is a belief that’ not supported by any evidence.

B

Backstop

A backstop is a set of guidelines, names and addresses of front companies to support your cover story that will be used if people check your background.

Balance sheet analysis

Balance sheet analysis is one of the most common ways to analyse a company’s financial situation, and it shows what the company owns, owes, and has come due.

Bargaining power of suppliers

Bargaining power of suppliers is part of Porter’s Five Forces model that analyses and isolates the five competitive forces which shape most industries and determines an industry’s strengths and weaknesses. Substitute products or services can be used instead of what you offer to pose a threat. The power of suppliers isolates how easy it is for your suppliers to drive up the cost of inputs. Clearly, the number of suppliers of critical goods or services plays a significant role in this factor. Also, how unique these inputs are. And also, how much it would cost to switch to another supplier. Fewer suppliers to the industry, the more you would depend on them. As a result, the supplier will have more power. This power could drive up input costs and push for other advantages. Many suppliers or low switching costs between suppliers will allow you to lower your input costs and enhance profits.

Bargaining power of customers

Bargaining power of customers is part of Porter’s Five Forces model that analyses and isolates the five competitive forces that shape most industries and determines an industry’s strengths and weaknesses. Substitute products or services can be used instead of what you offer to pose a threat.

Customers’ ability to drive prices down and their associated power is one of the five forces. It’s dependent on how many customers you have. And how significant each customer is to you is determined by how much it would cost to find new customers for your offering. A small and powerful client base could mean that each of your customers has more power to negotiate lower prices and better terms. A company with much smaller, independent customers has an easier chance to charge higher fees and increase its profitability.

Benchmarking 

Benchmarking is a technique in which you measure your performance against others in your industry. It is often used to determine the best practices and identify areas for improvement.

Boolean

At its fundamental level, a Boolean search is a process of using boolean operators like AND, OR, NOT, and parentheses to filter your search results.

Brainstorming 

Brainstorming generates creative ideas by getting a group of people with different perspectives and backgrounds in one room and then encouraging them to share their thoughts without any judgement.

C

Cash flow analysis

The cash flow analysis is another method to analyse a business. This type of analysis looks at how much money a company has in its bank account each month and how much money it spends every month.

Cluster 

A cluster describes the grouping of people, objects, or concepts.

Cluster analysis

Cluster analysis allows the partitioning of a dataset into subsets or clusters. So objects within each cluster are more similar to one another than those in other clusters. It’s used to reduce large datasets’ complexity and find natural groupings within them.

Competency modelling 

Competency modelling in Intelligence is analysing the skills and abilities needed to succeed in a profession. The process is employed when filling positions in an organisation or deciding what courses to offer in a college curriculum. Competency models can also be used in HR departments to find the best person for a job.

Competitive advantage

Competitive advantage is a term used in marketing and business strategy to describe its ability to outperform its competitors. A competitive advantage can be achieved by providing a better product or service than those offered by the competition. The critical aspect of gaining a competitive advantage is to do something different from the competition.

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 certainty, competitive advantage, insight, growth & security.

Competitive landscape

A competitive landscape is a visual representation of the businesses that compete with one another in a given market. It typically includes an overview of the industry, the key players, and how they stack up against one another. A competitive landscape can help business owners understand the competitive environment they’re operating in and identify potential opportunities and threats.

Competitive positioning 

Competitive positioning is a process of identifying and analysing the strengths and weaknesses of your business against your competitors. This analysis includes identifying your competitors, what they do, how they do it, and what you do better than them.

Competitor Analysis

Competitor Analysis evaluates who your competitors are to define their strategies and understand their weaknesses. Then compare them to your operation and product offering. Learn how to counter their strengths and exploit their weaknesses. Understand why customers buy from them to increase your competitive advantage.

Competitor profiling

Competitor profiling is a way of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. It can be done by looking at their ads, examining their pricing, and analysing their customer service. By understanding this information, you can create a strategy that will allow your company to beat your competition.

Confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is the desire to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs. People display this bias when they interact with others who share their beliefs.

Conjecture

Conjecture is a theory that has not been proven to be true.

Counter Intelligence

Counterintelligence is a subset of Intelligence that prevents espionage and other subversive activities. Within your business, counterintelligence can be used to check if anyone is knowingly or unknowingly revealing Competitive Intelligence to your competitor. 

Critical success factors

Critical success factors are the most critical things to the success of a project. Critical success factors are the most important to the success of a project. One example of a critical success factor is having a clear definition of what constitutes success.

Customer segment

A customer segment is a customer group that share similar traits, and these traits might be demographic, psychographic, geographic, or behavioural. The idea of segmentation is to divide the market into groups that are more easily marketed to.

Cypher 

Cypher is a type of encryption that uses a secret key to turn readable text into unreadable text. The key encrypts the message and then decrypt it back to its original form.

D

Data

Data is the collection of facts, figures, and statistics recorded, classified, and analysed.

Data mining 

Data mining analyses data from a large set of records to identify patterns and trends. Data Mining involves finding hidden patterns, unknown correlations and other helpful information buried in large data sets. Data Mining is extracting information from data sources for use in business intelligence applications.

Deception

Deception is a form of intelligence gathering, typically associated with military operations. The goal of deception is to fool the enemy into believing something that isn’t true. This can be done through false information, misinformation, or by making the enemy think they’re vulnerable in a way that they are not.

Decision tree analysis

Decision tree analysis divides the population into homogeneous groups, and these groups are determined by using one or more attributes. The decision tree starts with all the records in the population and splits them at each node along the branches until each terminal node contains only one record. The objective of decision tree analysis is to find out which attribute (or set of features) best splits the population into homogeneous groups or clusters.

Deduction

In the context of mathematics, a deduction is a process in which one begins with a set of premises and arrives at a logical conclusion. A deduction can be used to prove that something is true or false, but it can also be used to find out if something is possible given certain information.

Deep Web

Deep Web is part of the Internet that is not indexed by standard search engines, and it can be accessed through special software, some of which are free.

Disinformation

Disinformation is false information that is spread intentionally to deceive or mislead. It can be in the form of a statement, image, or video. There are many reasons why people might want to create disinformation, such as for political purposes or just for fun.

Due Diligence?

Due Diligence (background checks) is a robust business appraisal on a person of interest, investment or a business to assess many things, including:

  • Track records
  • Potential conflicts of interest
  • Fact checks
  • Competencies
  • Political links
  • Criminal records

Duopoly market

A duopoly market which has two sellers dominating the industry. This can result from mergers or acquisitions, or naturally, due to a small number of competitors. In either case, the resulting company will have less competition and, therefore, greater pricing power.

E

Elicitation

Elicitation is the process of obtaining information from a respondent. It is often used in market research to determine what people think about a product or service.

Environmental scanning

Environmental scanning is the process of monitoring and analysing the environment to identify potential threats or opportunities. Environmental scanning can be conducted both internally and externally. Internal environmental scanning can be done by an individual, while external environmental scanning requires collaboration with other individuals or organisations. One way that intelligence agencies do this is by tracking trends in social media. They look for changes in sentiment, volume, and activity to determine if there are any potential threats or opportunities.

Explicit knowledge

Explicit knowledge is the knowledge that can be communicated in words. It’s the type of knowledge that can be easily recalled and is not affected by emotions.

F

Fact 

Fact is a statement that is considered to be true.

Fuzzy logic 

Fuzzy logic is a mathematical technique that deals with vague or imprecise concepts. “Fuzzy” refers to something that can be partly true, partly false, or somewhere in between. Fuzzy logic is a mathematical technique used for dealing with vague or imprecise concepts.

G

Geospatial Intelligence

Geospatial Intelligence is the analysis of data collected from satellites, unmanned aircraft systems, and other sources to identify patterns and provide information for military operations. And increasingly used in Competitive Intelligence to determine competitor activities. Also used for many different things, including the insurance company assessment of natural disasters.

Gisting 

Gisting is the process of summarising a text, usually for quick reference. It can be done in four steps:

  • Identify the main idea of the text 
  • Eliminate any unnecessary information 
  • Keep only the most important details 
  • Create a summary that captures the gist, or main point, of the text.

Grey literature

Grey literature is a term that generally refers to scientific or scholarly articles, books, and other documents that are not published by mainstream publishing houses. Grey literature includes unpublished reports, working papers, essays, book chapters, conference presentations, etc. 

Groupthink

Groupthink is when a team of people reach an agreement or conclusion without critical examination. It can happen when group members are afraid to disagree with each other or when they want to be accepted by the group.

H

Hard information

Hard information is typically classified as having a high level of certainty and a low level of conjecture. Hard information is any data that cannot be changed, while soft information is any data that can be changed.

Horizon scanning

Horizon scanning is a technique companies use to anticipate future risks and opportunities and make strategic decisions. It’s a way of looking at the horizon for new opportunities and threats, rather than just looking at what’s in front of you.

Humint 

Humint is short for Human Intelligence, which is the information gathered by human sources. Humint can be collected through interviews, interrogations, or debriefings of individuals.

I

Implicit knowledge

Implicit knowledge is a type of knowledge that cannot be articulated but is nevertheless stored in memory. It can be contrasted with explicit knowledge, which can be articulated and stored in memory.

Income statement analysis

The income statement analysis is one of the most common ways to analyse a company’s profitability. It shows how much money a company made during a certain period of time.

Industry analysis 

Industry analysis is a process that can help to understand the market for a product or service and how it works. It can also help to make strategic decisions about what products and services to offer and how they should be priced.

Industry profiling

Industry profiling is a process that involves gathering and analysing data about an industry to create a profile of the industry. This profile can be used for marketing purposes to help a company understand what their customers want and what they are most interested in.

Information

Information is data, facts, or other items of information that can be used to make decisions.

Innovation pace 

Innovation pace could be part of Porter’s Five Forces model that analyses and isolated the five competitive forces that shape each industry and determines an industry’s strengths and weaknesses. Innovation Pace is that technological changes can rapidly make existing businesses obsolete, and as technology advances, old business models must continually reinvent themselves to stay relevant. 

Intelligence briefing

Intelligence briefings are with intelligence professionals about the intelligence community’s latest findings. They are often given to high-ranking government officials but can also be for intelligence community members or other people who may not have access to classified information. Intelligence professionals may be from various parts of the intelligence community, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), GCHQ or National Security Agency (NSA). Competitive Intelligence professionals also use intelligence briefings to communicate the latest findings, recommendations, and the industry’s future and key competitors. 

Intensity of rivalry – Your competition in the industry

The intensity of rivalry is part of Porter’s Five Forces model that analyses and isolates the five competitive forces that shape most industries and determines an industry’s strengths and weaknesses. Substitute products or services can be used instead of what you offer to pose a threat—the volume of competitors and their ability to beat and outperform you. The more competitors and the number of similar products and services provided, the less power a company will possess. Suppliers and buyers look for your competition to give them a better deal or lower prices. Also, when competitive rivalry is low, you will have more power to charge higher fees, set advantageous terms of deals, and gain more sales and profit.

Invisible assets

Invisible assets are intangible assets that can’t be seen or touched. They include patents, copyrights, and trademarks.

K

Key Intelligence Topics

Key intelligence topics are those topics isolated as being the most important to your business. They allow a focus and direction for Competitive Intelligence projects. Enabling you to place them in priority and build Key Intelligence Questions from them.

Knowledge management

Knowledge management is the process of creating, capturing, storing, sharing and reusing knowledge. Knowledge management can be applied to any type of information.

L

Lateral thinking

Lateral thinking is a term for a type of creative problem-solving that involves finding a solution to a problem by looking at it from an unusual perspective.

M

Market analysis

Market analysis assesses your market, including market size in terms of volume and value. Considering customer segments, buying habits, competitors, the general business environment, associated regulations and barriers to entry. Market analysis questions include:

  • What’s the market size?
  • Is the market expanding or contracting?
  • How’s the industry value chain structured?
  • Is the competition intense?
  • Is there a threat of new entrants to the market?
  • How many potential buyers are there?
  • What are the barriers to entry?
  • What’s the supplier bargaining power look like?
  • And what substituted products could customers use?

Market definition

Market definition is defining what’s driving demand for your product or service need. It gives you the knowledge to differentiate yourself and stay ahead of the competition. And in many cases, it can be the unspoken, hidden key to success.

Market Intelligence

Market Intelligence is the ethical collection and analysis of competitive information to enable you to avoid surprises, think more moves ahead, and minimise uncertainty to help more informed strategic decisions. 

Market sizing

Market sizing is a term used to describe the process of determining the size of a particular market. Market sizing estimates the number of potential buyers within a given market. And the entire sales they may generate.

Metadata

Metadata is data about data. It is information that provides context to the data, such as the author of a document, the creation date it was created, or the file type. Metadata can be used for many purposes, including identification, searchability, and verification.

Micro-environment

The micro-environment is the environment surrounding an individual or business, including their workplace, the people they interact with daily, and other factors.

Mind Maps

A mind map is a diagram that shows how ideas are related to one another. It is a visual way of representing information and can be used to study, planning, problem-solving, decision-making, and writing. Mind maps can be created with pen and paper or on a whiteboard. They are often drawn as branching diagrams with lines connecting the various thoughts to show how they are related. The use of colour or shading may indicate different types of relationships.

O

On the ground

You have someone you know in your competitors head office or sales team that will tell you things.

Anyone who says they have someone on the ground is attempting to impress you.

P

Pattern recognition

Pattern recognition is the ability to detect patterns in stimuli. It is a cognitive process that allows one to organise and identify repeating or regularities in things they perceive. It’s also an essential part of how humans learn new information.

Pointy stick

The practice of Competitive Intelligence experts teaching people in a boring and predicated way about the incredibly interesting subject. Usually in an academic environment.

Porter’s Five Forces Analysis

Porter’s Five Forces Analysis is a framework for understanding the competitive forces that shape every industry. The five forces determine the competitive intensity and, therefore, the attractiveness of a market. The five forces are:

Porter’s Five Forces

Porter’s Five Forces is an analysis model to explain why various industries can sustain certain levels of profitability. Michael E. Porter’s model is commonly used to analyse a company’s industry structure and corporate strategy. Porter determined five forces that play a part in defining every (most) market and industry. 

Applying Porter’s Five Forces can enable you to adjust your business strategy, use your resources better to generate higher investor earnings.

Porter’s five forces are:

The intensity of rivalry – Your competition in the industry. The volume of competitors and their ability to beat and outperform you. The more competitors and the number of similar products and services offered, the less power a company will possess. Suppliers and buyers look for your competition to provide them with a better deal or lower prices. Also, when competitive rivalry is low, you will have more power to charge higher fees, set advantageous terms of deals, and gain more sales and profit.

Threat of entry – The quicker and lower the costs for a rival to enter a market and be an effective competitor, the more your position could be weakened. An industry with a solid barrier to entry is perfect for existing companies within the industry. You will be able to charge the price you wish and the terms you want. 

Bargaining power of suppliers – The power of suppliers isolates how easy it is for your suppliers to drive up the cost of inputs. Clearly, the number of suppliers of critical goods or services plays a significant role in this factor. Also, how unique these inputs are. And also, how much it would cost to switch to another supplier. Fewer suppliers to an industry, the more you would depend on them. As a result, the supplier will have more power. This power could enable them to drive up input costs and push for other advantages. Many suppliers or low switching costs between suppliers will allow you to lower your input costs and enhance profits.

Bargaining power of customers – Customers’ ability to drive prices down and their associated power is one of the five forces. It’s dependent on how many customers you have. And how significant each customer is to you is determined by how much it would cost to find new customers for your offering. A small and powerful client base could mean that each of your customers has more power to negotiate lower prices and better terms. A company with many smaller, independent customers has an easier chance to charge higher prices and increase its profitability.

Threat of substitutes – Substitute products or services can be used instead of what you offer to pose a threat. Companies who provide products or services with no close substitutes have more power to increase prices and lock in better terms. When there are several substitutes around the market, it will give customers more options than yours—weakening your ability to charge what you need to make a decent profit.

Innovation Pace – Innovation Pace is that technological changes can rapidly make existing businesses obsolete. As technology advances, old business models must continually reinvent themselves to stay relevant. Innovative ideas such as Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, Netflix, and Airbnb face competition every day. 

Porter’s Five Forces model helps your increase profits. Still, like most things associated with Competitive Intelligence, you must continuously be on the lookout for any changes in the five forces and, if deemed acceptable, adjust your business strategy accordingly. 

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is part of datamining that involves analysing past behaviour or data to predict future events. Predictive analytics is an emerging field with various applications, from credit card fraud detection to customer churn rates. Examples of predictive analytics include machine learning to detect fraudulent activity, such as identifying fraudulent transactions or intrusion attempts by cyber attackers. In business, predictive analytics can forecast the likelihood of someone leaving a company or purchasing a product. Predictive analytics can be used to make marketing decisions, such as deciding to send an email, making a phone call, or sending a direct message to a potential customer. With predictive analytics, the goal is to use data to make predictions.

Primary research

Primary research is the raw data collected by a researcher or set of researchers. It is not based on previous research, and it is not a synthesis of other studies. It’s talking to people and then verifying the information found by talking to other people or via secondary sources.

Product intelligence

Product intelligence is the process of collecting, analysing, and acting on data about how people use your product. The process involves using customer data and competitor analysis to help you build better products and customer experiences.

Profit and loss (P&L) analysis

Profit and loss statement (P&L) is a method of analysing a company’s finances. This report shows how much money the company made during a certain period of time and how much was spent and how much was earned.

Profit margin analysis

Another way to analyse a company’s financial performance is by calculating its profit margin. This number tells us how profitable a company is compared to its total revenue. If a company has a high-profit margin, then it means that it makes more money than it spends.

Q

Qualitative marketing research

Qualitative marketing research is a form of research that deeply explores consumers’ thoughts, opinions, feelings, motivations, and behaviours. Qualitative research can be done in person or online.

Quantitative marketing research

Quantitative marketing research is a type of market research that measures attitudes, opinions, preferences, and other data to determine the size and shape of the target market. It can be used to find potential markets for new products or services.

R

Reverse engineering

Reverse engineering takes apart an object, situation, idea or problem to understand how it works. It can be done on anything from a machine or toy to a biological organism. Typically it is done to see how it works, make another one that looks the same, or modify the original design.

S

Scenario analysis

Scenario analysis is a process of examining a particular set of circumstances to predict possible outcomes.

The most common type of scenario analysis is called “strategic planning.” In this type of scenario analysis, a group or individual creates a set of scenarios that they believe could happen in the future and then develops strategies for dealing with each one.

Secondary research

Secondary research refers to any information that has been gathered from previous studies, books, databases, journal articles, news articles and webpages. Secondary research is often used in academic research because it can provide an overview of what has already been done in a particular field of study.

Social marketing intelligence

Social marketing intelligence is a term that refers to the collection and analysis of information about a company’s social media presence. It can be used for various purposes, including assessing customer service effectiveness, understanding customer sentiment, and measuring brand awareness.

Strategic early warning

Strategic early warning is the process of identifying threats to an organisation before they become too serious. This can be done by monitoring changes in the environment or researching what might happen if certain events occur.

Substitute

The substitute is a product that can replace the original product. Substitutes are considered to be products that are similar in function or quality. The threat of substitutes is the likelihood that customers will choose a substitute over the original product.

SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis is a business strategy that identifies weaknesses, strengths, opportunities and threats. It is used to evaluate the company’s position in the marketplace. A SWOT analysis should provide a list of all the organisation’s internal factors and external environments to decide how to manage its current situation.

  • Strengths are internal factors that can be leveraged to an advantage. 
  • Weaknesses are internal factors that may limit the company’s success. 
  • Opportunities are external factors that may provide new chances for growth or expansion. 
  • Threats are external factors that may cause harm to the company or limit it’s success.

Synectics

Synectics is a creative problem-solving process. Allows for the use of both convergent and divergent thinking to find an answer or solution. Synectics was developed in the 1950s by George Prince, who studied philosophy at Harvard University with Alfred North Whitehead. The synectic process is also used in design, engineering, and management consulting to generate new ideas and solutions.

Synthesis

Synthesis is the process of combining two or more things into a whole. In Intelligence, synthesis means combining different sources of information to form a single conclusion.

T

Threat of entry

The threat of entry is part of Porter’s Five Forces model that analyses and isolates the five competitive forces that shape most industries and determines an industry’s strengths and weaknesses. Substitute products or services that can be used instead of what you offer to pose a threat. The quicker and lower the costs for a rival to enter a market and be an effective competitor, the more your position could be weakened. An industry with a solid barrier to entry is perfect for existing companies within the industry. You will be able to charge the price you wish and the terms you want. 

Threat of substitutes

The threat of substitutes Is part of Porter’s Five Forces model that analyses and isolates the five competitive forces that shape most industries and determines an industry’s strengths and weaknesses. Substitute products or services can be used instead of what you offer to pose a threat. Companies who provide products or services with no close substitutes have more power to increase prices and lock in better terms. When there are several substitutes around the market, It will give customers more options than yours—weakening your ability to charge what you need to make a decent profit.

Trend analysis 

Trend analysis is the process of examining the trends of a market, economy, or business. It can be used to predict future performance based on past performance.

W

Value chain analysis

Value chain analysis is a way to look at a company’s business processes from how they create value for customers. It starts with the raw materials or inputs used to produce a product or service and ends with the customer paying for it. There are steps such as design, production, distribution, and sales. The point of value chain analysis is to identify which parts of the process create the most customer value and then focus on those parts to improve efficiency.

Value proposition

A value proposition is a statement that describes the benefits of a product or service to the customer. A good value proposition should be specific and compelling, and it should address all of the customer’s needs.

W

Wargaming

Wargaming in Intelligence is the process of simulating a situation to understand how it would play out. The term is used to describe physical and digital simulations. Wargaming is often used in military strategy and more to the point in business. War games are usually done by government agencies, militaries, and corporations to test their readiness for an event or situation.

Win/Loss Analysis

Win/loss analysis is a process of identifying why you win, why you lose, why customers churn, and why customers decide not to decide at all. Win/loss analysis improves sales, marketing, product development, and competitive strategy. The win/loss analysis is also referred to as win-loss, sales win-loss, win/loss or won-lost analysis.

This listCompetitive Intelligence glossary of terms will be continually updated.

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