“A couple of months ago, I became a Competitive Intelligence Manager. I’m in a dilemma as to where to even begin,” said Shai, who heads the CI function at a global industrial company. “I need professional advice and assistance.”
In effect, Shai was asking me to help him build the role. He needed my support to create value for the company’s managers, and to best position himself in the organization. I suggested we upgrade the field in the company and turn the work process into a methodological and measurable one.
I held a series of meetings with Shai and others in the organization – senior managers, mid-tier managers, and a mix of employees, with the objective of conducting an intelligence audit. The idea here was to map out and perform a preliminary diagnosis of the intelligence required by the company at the business and organizational level:
What kind of information do the company’s managers need?
Does the company have organizational, cultural and technological infrastructures in place in support of intelligence gathering processes? And if so, which?
Which processes and infrastructure require strengthening, alteration or supplementing to better respond to the intelligence needs we had mapped out?
What is the internal power play?
Which of the company’s managers had already ‘signed up’ to promoting CI in the organization, and who still needed convincing?
Following this stage, we decided that I should give a talk to arouse curiosity and interest in the topic internally. The audience was made up of management members, mid-level managers, and employees, and my aim was to expose them all to the world of CI and its importance to the company. It was vital to make clear why the activity was necessary, and how useful it would be for the company and its management.
The session was a great success, but the burden of proof still lay ahead of us (or lay with Shai, if we want to be specific…). I suggested that he start with a high-value quick win project. We chose to benchmark a specific product from the company’s product line.
We got started. As the project progressed, and CI processes became part of the work methodology, Shai was able to start moving other projects forward. Today he’s busy with a range of intelligence activities producing high-value information for the company. His intelligence-gathering lends support to decision-making at the CEO, VP Marketing and CTO level, and has a real impact on the company’s conduct.
In reviewing the process that occurred in Shai’s company, I came to understand how my many years of involvement in competitive intelligence can help many others.
I’ve had almost 15 years of competitive intelligence experience – mentoring, advising, and implementing hands-on projects – and at least nine of these years were spent leading competitive intelligence units in global companies. Over this period, I’ve developed methods and tools that have repeatedly proven their value. This ‘bible’ can benefit a wide range of companies and organizations.
Nowadays, I make my knowledge and experience available to senior managers – CEOs, VPs of Business Development, Marketing and Strategy – in companies and startups, and to Competitive Intelligence managers. In a tailored mix of consulting and advice, I impart the tools and methods each needs to independently manage their company’s intelligence needs.
If you need such know-how or know managers who could benefit from it, you’re invited to leave a comment below or contact me privately.