Competitive Assessment Process

Hovis, and separately Langabeer were more direct in their definition of the process. In the “Competitive Assessment Process” figure, they’re more explicit that the information collected be actionable. Each of their stages focuses on the business impact of the competitive assessment. They advocated strongly that practitioners dive hard to figure out “what does the information mean” and “what will be its business impact”. The goal of their work was to convert data and information and ultimately into knowledge.

Intelligence Leads to Advantage

Merrill Brenner at Air Products took this a step further by breaking the single cycle into two cycles as shown in the “Intelligence Leads to Advantage” figure. First data is filtered and organized to create factual information – the who, what, when, and where. Then the information is analyzed to gain insights. The goal is to understand how something works or why somebody’s doing something. This creates intelligence which is a deeper understanding and insights beyond the factual information. What is key in this model is that insight is combined with experience to create the wisdom to make decisions which lead to competitive advantage. This last point is critical. The goal of the whole process is to create a sustained competitive advantage for the organization. Competitive intelligence without maintaining’s sight of this goal is pointless.

Remembering that the audience’s needs are what should drive the Competitive Intelligence process design and output formats, Jay Paap built a Competitive Technical Intelligence (CTI) methodology focused on the needs of Innovation teams and leaders. Jay modified previous methodologies, mostly derived from Jan Herring’s CIA and then Motorola work that was designed to support ongoing Competitive Technical assessments of KITs (key people, major competitors, trends), and the work of Jim Bright (the father of tech forecasting), and Dick Davis. The primary difference is that Jay’s CTI methodology has a start and an end, it is not ongoing. This is because although an ongoing CI process model works best to support senior decision makers who face continuous major strategy issues, when supporting R&D, CTI is usually supporting a one-off project, and should be set up to find potential competitors’ and partners’ intentions/capabilities in a new and unknown area (to the company).