4 Common Competitive Intelligence Pitfalls
(and how to avoid them)

With more information available now than ever before, companies are trying to find various ways to effectively make sense of it. With a shocking 94% of businesses investing in competitive intelligence, there is no denying the important role that competitive intelligence (CI) is playing in helping organizations make sense of the world around them. Whether it is a competitive intelligence platform or tool, organizations are still struggling to see ROI in a short amount of time due to various pitfalls and mistakes. In this blog post, we introduce 4 main pitfalls that organizations fall into when using competitive intelligence, and ways to side-step them.

Pitfall #1: Utilizing more than one competitive intelligence platform at once

Today, there are so many competitive intelligence platforms that inherently specialize in different areas of CI. Thus, it is tempting to bring in a few tools to solve for different use cases. This makes life easier for you, right? In reality, using too many platforms have the opposite effect. Not only does it lead to a fragmented view of the competitive landscape, but it also creates a lack of cohesion among team members and contributes to the difficulty in translating intelligence into action. When using competitive intelligence platforms, teams need a platform that enables quick decision-making.

How to avoid: In our last competitive intelligence blog post, we introduced and discussed 5 questions that organizations should answer when evaluating their competitive intelligence platforms. All of the questions mentioned in the blog focus on evaluating the speed, consistency, growth, and shareability of your current competitive intelligence platform. If any of these essential elements are missing, which negatively impact your team, you should start looking for the right competitive intelligence platform.  

Pitfall #2: Prioritizing information over insights

We live in the age of information. With an estimated 52.4% of the global population accessing the internet, having up-to-date intelligence is incredibly important. Traditionally, there was a premium on organizations finding and storing as much information and data as they could. Fast forward to today, organizations have a surplus of information that has been accumulated over time. The sheer volume of information has made it difficult for key decision-makers to cut through the noise. Organizations need tailored insights that take information to the next step and provide clear direction specific to key goals and objectives.  

How to avoid: Every time you look at information or intelligence, think of ways it can contribute to your organization’s goals and objectives. When selecting competitive intelligence platforms, do not underestimate the value that expert-curated insights can bring to your organization. People often get distracted by all of the other bells and whistles of a CI platform and neglect the value that insight brings to the process. Without having a clear trajectory that gathered information would contribute to, organizations will find that their competitive intelligence platforms will turn into cost centers instead of cost-cutters.

Pitfall #3: Siloing intelligence and Insights

Not only are organizations sitting on mounds of information, but the information that they have collected is being siloed and separated from key decision-makers. Siloed information can also lead to duplications of efforts, fragmented perspectives, and a lack of synergy between team members. These different factors can all create an environment where it is difficult for teams to prioritize and align their goals. Without the right competitive intelligence platform, organizations will not have the coordination and speed needed to keep up with their competitors.

How to avoid: When looking at a competitive intelligence platform, organizations should ensure that all of the intelligence gathered and stored can be accessed via a single shared knowledge base. By having a single source of information, teams will quickly and easily collaborate and synergize with each other. Additionally, a searchable knowledge base ensures that teams will not only be able to find relevant information quickly, but they will also be able to prioritize information through tagging and highlighting capabilities.

Pitfall #4: Relying on inconsistent reports when making decisions

Timing is everything, especially during times of disruption. If key decision-makers do not have the insights they need at the right time, how will they make the right decisions? A lot of competitive intelligence platforms generate static quarterly reports that can be shared throughout a company. However, quarterly reports are not nearly enough for organizations to stay informed. Organizations do not function in a vacuum. They are affected by trends, natural disasters, and even pandemics. Instead, insights should be regularly updated and disseminated to key decision-makers so that they can lead organizations in the right direction.

How to avoid: Make it a habit to check your competitive intelligence platform throughout the week. Organizations need to be able to prepare for and react to any changes quickly. Also, decision-makers should highlight and keep a close eye on updated news and trends related to their interests. To improve the response-time on specific events and updates, organizations should create custom trigger alerts that keep decision-makers in the loop.

Competitive intelligence has the potential to give organizations the knowledge, foresight, and direction needed to stay ahead. When not utilized correctly, it can become a source of dread, fragmentation, and cost for the teams it is meant to help. To learn more about how competitive platforms such as Insightsfirst can enable your organization, contact PS@evalueserve.com, or get in touch with an expert.

Erin Pearson
Vice President, Marketing Posts

Erin Pearson is the Director of GTM for Insightsfirst at Evalueserve. She has previously worked on the commercial side of both large and small organizations and loves learning the perspectives of new people. Outside of work, she is an animal-lover with 2 pets and typically at least one foster animal. She also enjoys traveling and has been to all 7 continents.

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