Look Around

September 30, 2014

One thing that CI DIYers have to learn (and so do some CI professionals) is to look around, to use your peripheral CI vision.

If you were considering buying a home, you would, of course, check out the house, maybe even hire an expert to do it in more detail than you can. The same is true in CI.

But, in the case of the home, you would go further. You would look at the neighbors on every side – how are their homes kept up? Then you would check out the rest of the neighborhood, looking at schools, parks, stores, the fire station, traffic flow, etc. Unfortunately, in CI, that is not always the case.

To use your peripheral CI vision, think more broadly. Yes, you have the competitor – which we often call the Target. The very term reflects the narrowing of the focus. But there is more to the Target than the enterprise. There is also its location, its own competitors, suppliers, unions, local economy, supply chain, etc.

Why don’t we do this in CI? One reason may be that getting the data on a CI target can be very easy. That, in turn, can make us lazy. Why not just take the low-hanging fruit? Getting the rest is a lot more work. Does it become too much?

Let me give you an example. We worked with a CI manager on a case involving a large company that had purchased a small competitor (Local Firm). The client was properly concerned that the new owner could make changes at the Local Firm, potentially disruptive ones. We established the competitor’s plans, in part by reviewing the (very) local newspaper’s want ads by the Local Firm.

But that paper contained much more. Later issues contained the ads by other, even smaller, local competitors, purchased following a hiring blitz by the competitor. They showed these local firms were now hurting for skilled labor, as the Local Firm had been aggressively hiring – evidently from them. That forced up wages at the other local competitors as the base rates advertised increased over time. That in turn means that the Local Firm was now paying more than the old local scale. These ads, for firms other than the Local Firm, provided some additional CI on the Local Firm, enabling a bit of deconstruction of its labor costs.

“In order to better understand the world, you will have to turn away from it….” Deodatta V. Shenai-Khatkhate.


One Comment on “Look Around”

  1. Reblogged this on Deo Volente and commented:
    Excellent article on Competitive Intelligence…..

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