This article asks – Should I outsource Competitive Intelligence? Should you look inside your own company for the answer or take a look outside?
Obviously, there needs be a benefit to outsourcing Competitive Intelligence. Within your company, there will be already plenty of information, experience and contacts already. For instance, your sales teams should be full of real-time Competitive Intelligence. Some of this information may be lost if you decide to outsource CI entirely or offer a project to an agency like ours. However, a professional CI consultancy should work with you to collate all relevant internal information too.
Outsourcing your needs means that you will receive objective, impartial insight without been side blinded by experience and “this has always happened like this”, office politics, self-interest and subjective analysis. Outsourcing allows a company like Octopus to use the skills we are trained for and provide a reality check to show you exactly where you are, how you are doing and then understand where you are going.
When to outsource?
Not outsourcing or setting up an in-house team to focus on CI will inevitably mean the Intelligence does not get done, and you will be in a situation where you are making decisions without Intelligence. Consider outsourcing your Competitive Intelligence if:
- You have a project with a tight deadline and no one to do it
- Skills are not available internally
- When asking questions to people outside your company will expose or embarrass you.
- When looking for the information and it’s obvious who is searching for it.
- You have never got anything out of an intelligence exercise before
- You realise the last internal project was just basic research.
- And you want to know what’s going on, and you need to make decisions based on something concrete and not guesswork and assumption.
Don’t make the mistake
Then there is making the mistake of buying an expensive research report. You know the one with the perfect brand name of the front. Trouble is your counterpart in Korea, and Bristol has purchased the same report. Each one is sitting on a shelf. What about Competitive Intelligence monitoring software. You sign up, and it does not do it for you. So you give to someone to use, and nothing happens. There is no magic Intelligence button.
Outsourcing Competitive Intelligence is a good idea
Great as some CI software it still need a great deal of work to get the most out of your investment. But a good Competitive Intelligence consultancy should collate the information and create Intelligence for you.