Competitive Intelligence Wrap-up: 4 Lessons 2020 Taught Us

As we close this challenging and unprecedented year, it is important to reflect on the hardships and lessons taught us. The pandemic has forced industries across the globe to change the way they use insights to reduce uncertainties and maximize opportunities. With competitive intelligence (CI) playing a more significant role in the next year, looking back on the highlights of the previous year will keep us focused on the things that really matter. This blog will introduce four lessons that you can bring into the next year.

Lesson 1: Keep your data close, and your insights closer

The race to gather as much data as possible has been a long and arduous one. This year has been especially grueling for companies since staying ahead of the competition has been vital to success. However, organizations have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data that they have gathered. According to New Vantage Partners’ 2019 Big Data and AI Executive Survey, 72%  have yet to forge a data culture, 69% have not yet created a data-driven organization, and 52% have not yet treated data as a business asset. With no distinct purpose or direction, companies have been sitting on mountains of information. There is no denying the value that data brings to companies of all sizes, but without taking the time and effort to understand what the data is trying to say, companies will not be able to put it to use.

Instead, focus on turning data into insights. Data by itself are like building blocks that have not been assembled yet. These building blocks can contribute to something bigger than themselves but have not been put together yet. Insight connects the dots and assembles the blocks to create a cohesive structure that makes sense of the individual blocks. When companies obtain insight, they can make use of their data.

Lesson 2: Better to have one robust CI platform than many disjointed ones

There are so many different kinds of competitive intelligence (CI) platforms out there that have different strengths and weaknesses. When unable to settle on just one platform, companies have started using multiple competitive intelligence platforms that fulfill various use cases. Despite these attempts to improve their insights, Gartner’s 2019 Analytics and BI Solutions study predicts that through 2022, only 20% of analytics insights will deliver business outcomes. One of the many factors into this could be the fact that having too many competitive intelligence platforms can lead to fragmented, siloed, and disparate insights. In order to combat this, companies should start looking closer at their current platforms and spot which ones are causing confusion and disruption within their teams.  

By carefully evaluating your competitive intelligence platform, your team will be able to leverage a platform that is able to cut through the noise and get the right insights to the right people. Most practitioners want a platform that helps them achieve business goals through real-time insights, a unified view of the competitive landscape, early trend detection, and the ability to share insights and spot new opportunities.

Lesson 3: Focus on turning insights into action

This year has emphasized the importance of acting as quickly as possible. Whether it be moving to a work-from-home office structure or keeping-up with competitors, companies had to make leaps and bounds. However, traditional intelligence cannot keep-up with companies’ needs to quickly respond to threats and stay ahead of the competition. With slow updates, irrelevant insights, and large volumes of data to wade through, traditional intelligence keeps companies from achieving their goals and preparing for an unpredictable future. According to Forbes Technology Council, utilizing competitive intelligence will give companies a far better chance to win

Companies need intelligence that spurs action through up-to-the-minute intelligence, key opportunities, and improved stakeholder bandwidth. By using a competitive intelligence platform that breaks through the limitations of traditional intelligence, companies will be able to achieve their goals, prevent future problems, and gain speed. Taking too much time to access intelligence and create solutions will make your teams sluggish and put you behind the competition.

Lesson 4: Competitive intelligence isn’t a phase, it’s an investment

The arrival of the “New Normal” has pushed companies to achieve more, take on more significant projects, and make plans for the future. According to Small Business Trends, 94% of businesses are investing in competitive intelligence. With various industries becoming more competitive, things will not go back to how they were a year ago; instead, a new precedent has been set for what companies are capable of achieving. As a result, companies need a robust competitive intelligence platform that they can rely on for up-to-date and actionable insights. Start the new year fresh by side-stepping common competitive intelligence pitfalls and creating a robust competitive intelligence roadmap. 

As we look towards the new year with hope and optimism, set your competitive intelligence teams up for success by investing time and effort into building the best competitive strategy for your company. To learn more about competitive intelligence, please contact 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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