The Cost of Competitive Intelligence. Is it Worth it For Competitive Advantage?

This is an image of Digital collage modern art Hand holding banknotes The cost of Competitive Intelligence. Is it worth it for competitive advantage by Octopus Competitive Intelligence consulting agency

The cost of Competitive Intelligence. Is it worth it for competitive advantage?

Making decisions with greater certainty can be the difference between success and failure. This is why competitive Intelligence is so important. Competitive Intelligence is all about gaining more certainty. To enable you to make better decisions to achieve a more competitive advantage. This article asks if the cost of Competitive Intelligence. Is it worth it for competitive advantage?

Of course, the cost of Competitive Intelligence can be expensive. But not knowing costs more. After all, if you don’t have Competitive Intelligence, you’re flying blind. And in today’s hyper-competitive business environment, that is a recipe for disaster. It’s not about accessing more and more data on more and more platforms. All you get is a lot of data. Too much noise and indecision. 

The cost of not doing Competitive Intelligence is more expensive

The cost of Competitive Intelligence can be expensive. Although we believe we are very cost-effective compared to most :-). It’s down to how you structure Competitive Intelligence within your business. Knowing the outcomes of the exercise is going to benefit you. The cost of not doing Competitive Intelligence is even more expensive. Not know what’s going on, why customers chose you and them, or what’s the next big thing in your industry. And how comfortable are you knowing competitors are using Competitive Intelligence against you? And if they are not, you may need to ask why they aren’t. But you may have to use Competitive Intelligence to find that out too. 

Competitive Intelligence process

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence is the finding & critical analysis of information to make sense of what’s happening & why. Predict what’s going to happen & give the options to control the outcome.  The insight to create more certainty & competitive advantage.

The process of Competitive Intelligence includes understanding what you want to find out. Then gather some basic information like company and industry profiles. However, good Competitive Intelligence goes way beyond a Google search. Or a look at a corporate database to get the latest company accounts. 

In our experience, Competitive Intelligence projects are never off the shelf. People that tell you this or, worse, sell you prepared reports are talking crap and deceiving you. 

All Competitive Intelligence reports have to be customised to your specific needs. And you are different to every other company in the world. You are different, and you have different goals you have achieved and want to achieve. Also, the future has not happened yet. So how can an off-the-shelf tell you anything that is happening today and tomorrow? Especially if written six months ago? Or even longer.

Buy old reports

Some reports can help build a picture of your industry and give you an idea of what could happen. But we find you may buy a report for, say, $10,000, and only one or two paragraphs are of any use. Then it’s choosing the right one for the information you dont know you need yet. And once you have bought the report, you find a colleague has done the same in a different part of the company. 

Subscriptions to business information services like Thomson Reuters, Standard & Poor’s and Mintel. And Frost & Sullivan, Relx Group, Pitchbook and Bloomberg all add to your costs.

Industry experts

Then there’s the those written by industry experts. Experts who have been in the industry for years. Yes, that’s good then, isn’t it do we hear you cry? Yes, to a point. We tend to assume that our clients want to change and improve. Do something different and better than their competitors. Industry experts can provide the answers. But some are blinded by experience. A great deal of bias and assumption. It’s “always happened this way”, and we doubt it will change for the other experts who want to make a splash. Come out with outlandish statements to get them noticed. With claims splashed across the page and TVs, the word “could” is written into every sentence. Just to cover their backsides. 

Again, a quality Competitive Intelligence project will consider experts’ views. But they will take the opinions of others who work in the industry. They will analyse and collate the information found without being blinded. And provide a relatively bias-free view of what could happen next. 

Also, confidential single Competitive Intelligence reports are powerful. But of course, it’s important to use the insight found as Intelligence is perishable. You dont need us or a pointless VUCA article to tell you that the world changes. If you are serious about competitive advantage, don’t only invest in Intelligence reports. You should consider ongoing monitoring and assessment of the competitive landscape.

The cost of your time

Providers of consulting services and using monitoring platforms cost money. Costs depend on many factors. Like the scope and duration of the engagement and the number of industries and companies involved. The cost of news and data sources can be amazingly expensive. Or worse, free or next to nothing. Competitive Intelligence platforms can be an answer. But they can also be expensive. Especially if you don’t use them. You will only benefit from the access by using, collecting and information yourself. It can be a great claim on your time. 

Competitive Intelligence requires specialist skills and know-how to bring all the information together. Sort it and then analyse it. It’s a full-time job that requires thought, patience and tenacity. It’s not something you will want to do while also doing your day job. Buy a platform and expect it to do the job for you, and you will be sadly disappointed. Then there’s the incredibily frustrating deep web with its hidden information and knowing where to look.

Competitive Intelligence Private Equity and enterprises

It’s common for Investment firms to think they can do Competitive Intelligence themselves. They hire the best so they can do it. But then, most researchers you find in PE firms are skilled financial analysts. But they focus on the numbers and spreadsheets. 95% of the information available today isn’t on a spreadsheet 

Using the right skills and expertise Competitive Intelligence will spark creative, strategic thinking. And result in better-informed decision-making. Decisions are based on more certainty and insight. Not hearsay and rumours and gut feeling. 

The cost of Competitive Intelligence. Is it worth it for competitive advantage?

In conclusion, Competitive Intelligence is a tool that gives an edge over competitors. This article was called the cost of Competitive Intelligence. Is it worth it for competitive advantage? The cost of Competitive Intelligence may be relatively high. But the cost of not knowing is even more costly. Use competitive Intelligence to make informed decisions and give yourself a competitive advantage. Competitive Intelligence allows private equity firms to track markets they invest in. And understand their known areas and explore new areas for enhanced investment success. All enterprises can make decisions armed with the knowledge of their competitors and markets. Insight that will give them a considerable competitive advantage.

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