7 Steps to Better Benchmarking

To get the best results from this powerful performance improvement tool, you need a clear understanding of what it can do for you and a well-structured process for your initiatives.

How ‘Social Intelligence’ Can Guide Decisions

By offering decision makers rich real-time data, social media is giving some companies fresh strategic insight.

Confessions of a Corporate Spy

What do you think it means to be an expert in “hard-to-get elicitation”? It means people tell you things. A competitive intelligence consultant discusses things that can help a business–at the expense of another.

In War and Business, It’s the Terrain that Matters

Add the dictum, “Know the terrain” to “Know your customer” and you’ve got the two most important principles that a manager needs to follow to compete successfully. At first, and perhaps even later on, the playing field may not be level, but managers who consider the observations of this Ivey Business Journal regular contributor will surely be able to compete with any player, under any … [ Read more ]

14 Tools to Legally Spy On Your Competition

Have you ever wished you were Bond? James Bond? Here are 007+007 = fourteen ways to spy on your competitors’ web sites, without breaking any FISA laws.

Webmaster Intel Basics: 25 Tools to Compile an In-Depth Dossier on a Competitors’ Site

Your rankings don’t just depend on how good your site is. They depend on the quality of your competitors’ sites as well. As a result, keeping an eye on your competition should be a regular part of every webmaster’s tactical plan. Use these 25 tools to get the lowdown on their sites.

Peek Inside Your Competitor’s Business

What are your rivals’ future plans? Will they launch new products? How profitable are they? Find out – the legal way – with BNET’s step-by-step guide to competitive research techniques.

James Bond Comes to the Boardroom

Remember the days of Cold War espionage and intrigue, popularized in Bond films and John Le Carré novels? Well, times have changed geopolitically, but businesses have come to embrace the merits of “tradecraft”: They want to gain market advantage through a better understanding of the competition. In the corporate world, tradecraft is called “competitive intelligence.” A former CIA agent-turned-management expert tells how to make it … [ Read more ]

Understanding Financial Statements

The fields of finance and accounting are well established, with numerous well-written articles and books available on how to understand financial statements (FS). However, the availability of information is not the real problem: there is too much information for people to absorb. Not only do you need to understand how financial statements are created, but what critical and essential information you can glean from the … [ Read more ]

Competitive Information and Sales Guides: What Sales Forces Need to Win

Sales guides often paint a too-rosy view of the company’s competitive position, or contain insufficient and/or outdated competitive information. Find out how such competitive information sets up a sales force to lose, what sales people need to win, and how to package information in ways that one’s sales force finds useful.

Everything in Moderation: The 10th Annual Cost Management Survey

According to CFO Magazine’s latest survey, companies have been diligently pruning overhead, leaving them primed to capitalize on an economic recovery.

Editor’s Note: The actual text of the article is of limited and topical value, but the reason I have posted this is for the useful CI info found in the industry tables, which list average cost management index (CMI) values for a variety of … [ Read more ]

Working the Crowd

The best place to peek at a company’s proprietary secrets? At meetings and trade shows. Intelligence professionals tell you how it’s done.

A FAROUT© Way to Manage the CI Analysis Process

Future-oriented, Accurate, Resource-efficient, Objective, Useful, Timely – a framework for competitive analysis.

We Can Work It Out: The 2002 Working Capital Survey

The 2002 Working Capital Survey (sixth annual conducted jointly with REL Consultancy Group) reveals ways to reduce working capital without punishing customers or suppliers. But the alternatives aren’t totally pain-free.

Editor’s Note: I find the 2002 Working Capital Survey Charts (last page) a very useful benchmark/CI tool.

CI For the Non-financial Analyst – Part 1

Efficient capital markets require that companies that have raised money in the capital markets must file detailed, timely and sometimes intimate information with regulators. These filings are open for everyone – not only investors in the company. Prior to the www, these filings were available to the public, but the means for everyone to access this information easily was not available. The free flow of … [ Read more ]

How to Calculate Market Shares

Have you ever been in a situation where your competitor claimed a market share that was not even close to the calculations you gave to your senior management? Or where annual reports claimed market shares you could not retrace in your calculations? Understanding how you can calculate – and use – market shares can be extremely useful.

Tips for Benchmarking Against Your Peers

“How does your company stack up against the competition? You better know the answer to that question on a number of fronts. Our new column on business research debuts with a look at sources available to help you get started in your quest to benchmark against your peers.”

Competitive Intelligence: A Librarian’s Empirical Approach

“In this article we propose to examine various types of information required for the CI activity, as well as reliable sources to monitor. The CI searcher must continuously monitor, evaluate, and analyze many data components in order to maintain a comprehensive competitive intelligence program within an organization. Besides looking at data types, we will examine how new Web-based technology has revolutionized the gathering, storage, and … [ Read more ]

Snakeplots for Understanding Customer Perceptions

There is a tendency in marketing to think mostly about what customers care about. That is, what benefits customers really want. But there is another important part that should be deeply appreciated by anyone who markets products, and that is customer perceptions, or how customers view (or perceive) the different products on the market. One technique that clearly depicts these customer perceptions is “snake-plot”. It … [ Read more ]

The Nine Grounds

The Art of War, compiled over two thousand years ago has been a valuable source of insight for leaders and strategists. The ‘nine grounds’ examines the ‘tactical’ issues of a group in relation to its terrain or territory, useful in its application to competitive and market analysis and to the social, political, and more abstract senses.