The next in our series of Questions and Answers is Vivek Bhalla, a Market Intelligence professional at MongoDB and former Garner Research Director.
MongoDB is the leading modern, general-purpose database platform designed to unleash the power of software and data for developers and the applications they build. Headquartered in New York, MongoDB has more than 24,800 customers in over 100 countries. The MongoDB database platform has been downloaded over 155 million times, and there have been more than one million MongoDB University registrations. To find out more about MongoDB, visit their website – www.mongodb.com
1. In your view, what’s Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive Intelligence is a discipline that enables organizations to reduce strategic risk and increase revenue opportunities. This is achieved by having a deep understanding of one’s operating environment as well as adjacent markets that may be influenced, or have an influence, by or on one’s own activities. It’s using Intelligence to increase competitiveness, not simply monitoring competitors.
2. In your view, what’s the true benefit of CI?
When done well, Competitive Intelligence can help an organization disrupt markets and win share. Without it, organisations may miss warning signs and be blindsided.
3. How would you advise a company with no experience in Competitive Intelligence to get started?
Hire the right people with the right skills, expertise and awareness. Have these individuals provide guidance with regards to setting short, medium and long term goals. Empower these individuals to build a team (internally and externally), processes and adopt the right technology to execute on those goals. Start small, and build out incrementally.
4. What analytical tools do you recommend?
5. Competitive Intelligence is becoming too much about risk mitigation, copying the competitor and the last dataset. And not enough about growth, exploration and creation. It can stop people from being original, risky and creative enough. Do you agree?
In many organisations, this can be the case. It is important for those leading competitive intelligence efforts to take the initiative to prevent this from occurring. When executed well, competitive Intelligence can become a business enabler and a strategic partner to executive decision-makers – highlighting new market opportunities and the potential application of one’s product and services to previously neglected or underserved constituencies.
6. Without giving away anything confidential, what’s the best result you have achieved with CI?
Opening up an entirely new vertical industry for the organization I was providing CI insight to. Enabled them to realize a 50% YoY increase in revenues.
7. Artificial Intelligence and platforms will transform CI, and there will be no need for human input in the future. The longevity of the job of a Competitive Intelligence analyst is limited? Do you agree?
While AI and machine learning (ML) has come a long way and do indeed provide great insight, these capabilities ought to be viewed as complementary and not mutually exclusive to a trained expert. Until the algorithms that these AI platforms are based on are capable of making consistent and accurate in ferment and judgement calls as well as read nuanced and discrete signals, then the input of human interpretation will still have a role to play and be valued. Beyond this, there still is a need to train these AI models and maintain that those models are updated in line with shifting scenarios and developments. The competitive intelligence analyst’s role may evolve and develop over time. However, the expertise and skillsets of such individuals will be a valued commodity for the next decade at a minimum.
8. Finally, what’s the one piece of advice you would give a CI analyst?
Maintain self-awareness: irrespectively of your organization’s own marketing efforts – do not let these sway or prejudice your own objectivity and analysis. Provide honest and realistic recommendations & conclusions in the execution of one’s duties.
Market Intelligence professional Vivek Bhalla of MongoDB answers
This article was the latest in our series of Questions and Answers, Vivek Bhalla, a Market Intelligence professional at MongoDB and former Garner Research Director, answered our questions. This article is part of a series where we ask great people who really understand Competitive Intelligence their thoughts on the subject. The people who actually do Competitive Intelligence in their day to day job.