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Introduction

As we are on the edge of this
revolutionary paradigm shift in technical and economic aspects, managing
information has turned to be one of the most critical elements of any business.
And hence, accurate intelligence analysis is vital for the security industry.

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On the other hand, learning to apply
information technology effectively to any business discipline requires a
thorough understanding of its key concepts and their intricate linking with
business objectives in an organization. In the business environment today,
development of corporative strategies and valid market positioning are
unthinkable without considering the competition. And this is exactly where
evaluation of competitive intelligence technologies comes into the picture.

In our day-to-day lives, it is not
difficult to notice the increasing competition between different firms and
industries. I have many times noticed that with the right strategy, often small
companies compete with large companies and take lead. What made WhatsApp more
popular than other chatting applications? Nokia has been one of the strongest
contenders in the market for mobile phones. The quality of the hardware
components is still talked about in the market; however, unfortunately, Nokia
is no more peoples’ favorite brand when they go out for buying a cell phone.
Why do such evidently great organizations which make great products, multiple
expert managers, and other successful strengths, go out of business? How must
the new products be built and which markets should they enter and how? There
are many apps available on the Google play store, but only a handful of them
leave an impact on their users in such a way that they gain popularity. This
does not mean that the less popular apps are not useful. These have been my
curiosities for a long time.

 

Concept of
CI

The true benefit of data is when it is synthesized into
knowledge.

Competitive intelligence (CI) is a
subdivision of Business Intelligence that concerns the current and proposed
business activities of competitors. Business Intelligence deals with
Information Technology solutions for transforming the output of large data
collections into intelligence. It is said to be one of the aspects of knowledge
management.

CI is the process of discovering,
analyzing and using intelligence from publicly available, non-proprietary
information sources for the purpose of becoming more competitive. It’s about
analyzing information in a continuous process that is tightly linked to your
strategic planning. With this process, we can monitor an industry or market and
figure out the existing and prospective competitors. The analyzed data is
presented in a format that is usable. This data is distributed among the
concerned people. An action is finally taken by the end user based on the CI.
CI may be used as a part of the evaluation or an input to decision making.

 

Methodology

I went through a research paper on
this area submitted by Saban Gracanin, Edin Kalac and Dejan Jovanovic wherein
they explained about Competitive Intelligence: Importance And Application In
Practice. In this research, they considered a proportioned mix of major Serbian
companies from different industries and compared them based on CI information
sources, technical aids used, dissemination of CI and many others. Based on
these comparisons, they concluded that both tactical and strategic
decision-making can be and is supported by CI. According to the research results
for Serbia, as well as comparative results of mentioned studies for other
developed world countries, indicate that companies do not use CI primarily to
increase revenues or profits. These findings confirm that CI systems main
purpose is to provide the base for strategic decision-making and for long-term
goals achieving.  There are many other
informative observations mentioned in this paper. The flow of how CI works can
be illustrated with the help of the figure given below (Figure 1).

Figure 1: CI
Work Flow

Intelligence is an analytical process that transforms
tumultuously gathered competitor and market information into actionable
knowledge about competitors’ capabilities, intentions, performance, and
position. The focus of market research tends to be on the problems associated
with the profitable marketing of a firm’s products and services. The scope of
competitive intelligence is far broader. Competitive intelligence is a
value-added concept that layers over the top of business development, market research
and strategic planning. My research objectives of competitive intelligence
project may involve issues such as the manufacturing capabilities of the
competitor; analysis of alliances and/or joint ventures entered into by
competitors; the competitor’s future plans and strategies for specific markets,
or product lines; reasons behind changes in the corporate or business unit
strategy, et cetera.

Purpose of Research

I really want to explore the two
levels of today’s global enterprise – corporate and business unit. I would like
to learn about what businesses the corporation should be in and how the
corporate office should manage the array of business units. I also intend to
understand the involvement of competitive strategy with respect to the creation
of competitive advantage in each of the businesses in which a company competes
based on core competencies.

As a part of this research, I would
like to explore the CI tools like SWOT Analysis (SWOT stands for strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), PEST Analysis (political, economic, socio-cultural and
technological) and other market research tools. I
would also like to explore how social media platforms can be used for data
gathering under CI.

 

Mentor/ Faculty

Dr. France Bouthillier would be the
perfect mentor for me in this research since her areas of interest include
Evaluation of competitive intelligence technologies, Cross-cultural competitive
intelligence, Information needs of small businesses as well as Intelligence
analysis. She has contributed to various research works and is an author of
many related books as well as journals.

 

I believe that being a part of a research at
McGill University would be one of the best experiences in my life. It would
offer me the opportunity to meet eminent researchers, enabling me to develop
and enhance my research skills as well as invaluable transferable skills that
can be applied to academic life and my future employment. What I gain along the
way will serve me for the rest of my life, by adding to my confidence and
knowledge.

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