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Competitive Intelligence Survey Results
In February of 2010, I conducted a survey of competitive intelligence and strategy professionals from twenty three organizations about competitive intelligence. The goal of the survey was to uncover the competitive intelligence challenges for the new year. The survey can be downloaded here.
The survey consisted of five questions. The results are presented below.
  1. What is your relationship to competitive intelligence?
  2. What types of competitive intelligence are useful to you or your clients?
  3. How would you assess your company's, work group's or client’s competitive intelligence effectiveness?
  4. What critical competitive intelligence challenges do your company, work group or clients face in 2010?
  5. What types of competitive intelligence help would benefit you most?
CI Relationships  Notes:
A person could respond in multiple categories.

The large majority of respondents performed CI functions for their company and/or provided CI consulting to others.

Therefore, it appears that subsequent answers should be interpreted more from a provider rather than a consumer perspective. That is, few CI customers are represented.
Competitive Intelligence Uses  Notes:
The uses of competitive intelligence appear to be broad. All potential uses are well represented though Marketing and Product/Product Line are significantly more common than Finance, Relationships, M&A and Operational.

More demographic information is needed to explain the focuses.
Competitive Intelligence Ratings  Notes:
Perhaps the most telling result are the assessments of competitive intelligence effectiveness. With "1" representing poor performance and "5" representing excellent performance, respondents rated themselves and/or their company as above average in every category.

The relative weaknesses are evident in the framing activities of executive sponsorship, identifying needs and orienting success measures.

Meanwhile, activities that might be more dependent on a CI analyst were rated significantly higher.

These results are not confirmed in my survey of strategy leaders.
Competitive Intelligence Challenges  Notes:
The interesting finding is that few are being challenged to distribute competitive intelligence functions throughout the company. Sometimes distribution (and dilution) is common when there are cutbacks in fulltime CI positions.

On the other hand, the challenge of business evaluations dominates. This might support the strategic growth and/or recalibration activities that are common among businesses today.
Competitive Intelligence Needs  Notes:
The primary needs of the respondents seems to be help accomplishing their current assignments. Two thirds need training and information to support their work. There seems to be far fewer requirements for outside help (e.g., project help, audits or mentoring).

These results are consistent with the self-assessments captured in responses to question 3 above.

However, they are not consistent with the strategy leader responses where a larger percentage were looking for consultive relationship help.
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