Competitive Intelligence Reporting and Decision Making Basics

This article offers our thoughts about Competitive Intelligence reporting and decision making basics.

Reporting and conclusions

  • Would a non-expert understand the conclusion?
  • Can I summarise it in one sentence, with no more than 3 lines and dependent clause?
  • Did I highlight somewhere what I do not know and how I intend to address gaps? Does the analysis have a clearly defined time frame attached? A date at which I think we should reconsider?

Report format

This is a useful report format to get you started. 

  • Introduction
  • What has happened? / answer?
  • What does it mean?
  • What happens next? / can you do about it?
  • So what?

Then ask do you need an info graphic to get the message across? And have you answered the questions?

So what are you going to do?

You now understand how competitive intelligence landscape looks. Now you have to decide what to do. It will be crucial to your company’s success moving forward. You need to map out how you plan to act on what you have found out.

Your final intelligence report should offer you the options open to you. But it’s wise to ensure that it’s you who makes the decision. Why? Well it’s your head on the block. Of course, the decision could be to do nothing and take no action. Even then, you may want to monitor what’s going on. However, if it is a do nothing decision, it would be wise to build milestones. A milestone like if X happens then we look to do this. If XX happens we do this. 

More about decision making 

Deciding how you can respond to intelligence is a serious business challenge. You may probably be faced with conflicting information, from sources of you are not sure of. And reliability is in question. But you have to make a decision, even if you do not have all the facts.

Iraq

Take the decision of the West to go to war with Iraq in 2003. One primary source was in a senior position in Iraq who had an agenda. He was convincing people to believe him who, in turn, wanted him to be right. Trouble is Saddam was not going to disagree either. Why? He tried to keep his neighbours guessing that he may have dangerous toys.

So this shows us that not all sources will be reliable, but most of it should be taken seriously. Until you know otherwise. You may want the intelligence you have to be true. It could make you a lot of money. Your competitor is maybe trying to look more successful than they actually to the market.

Group-think

If it is a group decision, expect a group-think answer. The most influential person in the room to get their way. Now you may disagree, but they will. Take all these influences into account before deciding what you are going to do. Most intelligence analysis is usually based on a significant degree of uncertainty. So it’s better to say that you don’t know a piece of information. 

Certainty

Better not plough on assuming a sense of certainty. Then you suddenly forget the uncertainty and a decision made. And agreed actions are undertaken. You may not do this, but it is standard human behaviour, so you may do it without noticing. Be open with the levels of certainty. Give each aspect of your intelligence a grade between 1-5. Or colour them from a red (“1 not certain”) to blue (“5 certain”) triangle on the report.

Competitive Intelligence reporting and decision making basics

What is for sure if you wait for all the right answers to come along, you will have missed the boat. This article offered our thoughts about Competitive Intelligence reporting and decision making basics.

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