September 17, 2013

The recent Microsoft – Nokia transaction has drawn wide variety of comments. Some have looked for a reason why Nokia has fallen so quickly since 2007 in the cell phone market place.

Some of these observers evidently attribute its decline to the fact that Nokia was somehow a “hardware” company, while its competitors were either “software” companies or regarded hardware and software as a seamless combination. That may be one reason.

However, when I see one company described with one adjective while its competitor or competitors are described differently, I always wonder whether or not its competitive intelligence people are hindered by their employer’s POV, or point of view. (Also known as perspective, bias, blinders, etc.)

When looking at your competitors you must never assume that they see the world the way you do. If they really did, they would be you. It should be a given that they look at the world somewhat differently from the way you do. Therefore, you must take a look at their activities through the prism of their POV of the competitive environment, rather than your employer’s view of the same competitive environment. This is true even if your are certain that your POV is the “right” or “proven” one. Actually, it is always more important.

Your competitors act on the basis of what they see in the world and how they analyze it , given their own POVs. You cannot correctly establish why they are doing things now and what they may be doing in the future if you do not determine what their POV is, and then view the competitive environment through that rather than your own POV. Failing to do this results in, well, failure.

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