Quelques conseils de bons sens pour les responsables IE/veille stratégique
The best CI people are the ones with the most filters or perhaps the most diverse filters, the most perseverance, the most imagination. You need skeptical curiosity about a lot of things.
If you have 100 people in your company and each spends 1% of their time on collecting the right CI, you suddenly have an extra FTE – that is collaboration. And, everyone of those people brings a different perspective to things, a different network, a different life experience.
The longer service folks in your industry have more stories (knowledge of history) and filters than you might realize.
This is also one reason why you often get better results if you keep people in CI roles longer…the learning is cumulative. It’s not a project, it’s a process.
Customer will prefer your sales person every time because they are better informed.
Retour d’expérience de Mark Asher, CI manager d’Adobe.
The first of those is primarily to keep our management team aware of competitive developments across all of Adobes business thrusts and interests, as well as providing them with thoughtful implications and recommendations about how to react to those events as they occur.
The other part of our charter is to provide forward-looking information about competitive events that havent occurred yet, in terms of predicting what those might be and the probability that they will occur. We work with the various senior leaders across the company to try to understand how the potential for those events might impact their planning about where they are taking their businesses.
That interaction can be very structured and take the form of scenario planning or gaming. At other times, it will be very unstructured, but in either case, the ultimate goal is to come up with playbooks of tactics that we can put in place ahead of these events occurring so that we can just pull triggers in order to effectively blunt or reflect the impact of those events.
Competitor X has the potential to release an Application Y, and what would that look like? Or the potential to acquire Company B. What would the landscape look like if that were to occur and how should we react?
Having CI as part of corporate development creates a more strategic imperative for the work that we provide, and that was really the premise that led us to create this role in corporate development. The management team desires a high-level perspective about competitive activity.
Its not the kind of role that people graduate from school and go into.
Their day job is not competitive intelligence, obviously, and trying to influence their thinking as we drive toward a response plan is very similar to the role I played as a consultant.
We decided to take a scenario-planning approach to the problem, to come up with a continuum of scenarios between the extremes of it having no impact on Adobe as a whole to having a significant impact on our ability to generate revenue in the future. Within that framework, we determined that by bringing together the right stakeholders, we could put together a series of contingent response plans.
The last part was to set up an early-warning-signal radar mesh, if you will, to identify precursors to these events, and to monitor them. The thought was that as we saw momentum building, we could adjust both our scenarios and our responses
From those efforts a number of tactical response plans were developed and deployed as the warning signals came to pass. This is today an ongoing effort, and that monitoring system has proved extremely valuable because it has streamlined our response time and helped us to blunt the impact of the competitive activity being tracked.
Youve got to have really clear, well defined scenarios first of all. You cant just say, Company X is going acquire Company Y, or Product A is going to come out in 2009. It needs to be much more detailed than that, and it also needs to have buy-in among all the stakeholders.
You have to spend a lot of time working with those stakeholders about what various scenarios are going to look like and what they are really going to mean. There is likely to be a lot of denial at first, which is an appropriate human response, but an inappropriate business response.
The second expectation is to be prepared for a lot of negotiation and debate, because oftentimes you are going to be dealing with content that people dont want to acknowledge.
You always have to talk about competitive threats in terms of the opportunity they present. For example, if there is the potential for a bigger competitor to come out with a cheaper substitute for one of our products, would there be case for us to re-think our pricing strategy?
Im here to influence others. I dont make or sell products right now, and my currency is how well I can influence others to change the direction of product roadmaps, marketing programs, and other tactics, in order to adjust to the competitive environment.
The best way to do that is to be optimistic, provide a fact-based analysis and case for change, and let stakeholders know how they can be successful in spite of the competitive threat.
People find it reassuring that Ive done their job and that Im familiar with the day-to-day challenges they face, and they know I am not just some new-hire MBA without real experience, trying to tell them how to do their job.
On the other hand, if you can tell them the history of the pieces that you are putting together, how the situation has changed, and show them for example that a competitor has hired people and invested a bunch of money into something, you can build a more compelling case for them.
That kind of approach breaks through a lot of the emotional part of denial. It works better and faster in some cases than others, but I would liken it to a lawyer arguing in front a judge, making sure they have a fact-based case.
Youre also alluding there to the fact that a competitor cant do something really major without leaving some sort of a trail. Evidence shows up somewhere, whether its session abstracts, job postings, blogs, or wherever.
A basic technique we use in scenario planning is to switch roles and pretend to be a competitor, saying, How are we going to compete against Adobe?
Theres a lot of public record information available, and over time Ive assembled an RSS feed that must include 90-plus blogs now, that Ive identified as credible and timely that I can extract information about our competitors from.
I certainly look at analyst reports on a regular basis
Im a regular attendee at competitive trade shows and conferences,
Generally, for things like high-level strategic direction, a combination of primary resources are probably best. In this case, I m defining primary as sitting through the entire eight-hour analyst day for a competitor, which they tend to webcast these days.
For things like comparative product analysis or other really detailed stuff, a secondary resource is a good start, and then I tend to benchmark with our own folks here, just to make sure that Im not missing something at the detail level.
We do a number of deep dives each year on specific companies, and weve established a body of that content over time. As weve matured we have concentrated on fine-tuning that knowledge base.
In addition to public record resources, I have also developed a broad network of people at different companies over time that I can reach out to for clarification and general direction.
I mentioned that I read a lot of blogs from folks that publish for trade publications, and so on. I have established working relationships with some of those folks, and its great to have them to bounce ideas off of, because they obviously follow these companies very closely and often have additional insight.
Learning how to use the right keywords along with specific filetypes is a really powerful way to get insights about competitive activity.
Any CI practice should have someone with the skills to analyze long-term trends in financial information. I also have access to most of the products that compete with what were interested in and try to understand them as best I can.
I also sign up for a lot of pre-beta, pre-alpha, and closed-beta experiences with new products and services.
Organizations that have a centralized CI practice sometimes tend to use that practice as a sort of magic encyclopedia where they can feed in questions or needs and get answers out. That makes the CI practitioners feel a little bit like wizards and the other people in the company dont really know how CI works.
The danger there is that people in the organization may not realize how they might be leaking information, because they dont really know industry CI practices.
In Adobes case, we have a Corporate Communications group who is responsible for managing our public-facing engagements. They provide training to speakers about where the appropriate boundaries are for disclosure for all kinds of public events, conferences, press and analyst meetings, and so on.
In high tech there is some benefit to being open about ones business direction customers can plan upgrade cycles more efficiently, analysts can model financial expectations more accurately, and developers can evaluate platform choices more effectively, for instance. Of course, as you said, competitors are watching too, and this must be taken into account.
If you cant get it directly from the company, there is often somebody whos modeled it, thought about it, and forecast it.
Especially in high tech, there is a huge industry of just watching the industry itself.
Weve also talked to a fair number of people that tell us they are more or less asked to be the librarians for CI. My own two cents is that I think there are a lot of people interested in building the overall legitimacy of CI as a discipline that is, for instance, taught in college programs.
Competitive strategy is often an exercise of imitating a competitor’s actions instead of charting a unique course of action — an approach that rarely results in a company establishing a leadership position in its industry.
Cest dans ce contexte quapparaît la notion de communauté cognitive (ou communauté stratégique de connaissance) comprise comme une organisation ayant pour projet de créer collectivement des situations favorables aux processus dinformation et de décision.
Et nous sommes là au cur des illusions du management décrites par le sociologue Jean-Pierre Le Goff, Pour qui « dans le domaine des relations humaines, le management, comme la communication, a été jusquà présent largement considéré comme une simple affaire de techniques ou doutils dont le maniement relèverait de spécialistes déclarés ».
A partir des qualités que les manageurs considèrent comme essentielles, il identifie quatre grandes dimensions de lactivité de management :
· une éthique de situation (la cohérence entre la parole et les actes, le courage de dire les choses, le respect) ;
· les qualités de base (savoir décider, qualité et efficience de la parole, écoute) ;
· le savoir-faire de lencadrement (concilier et négocier, connaître les hommes et leurs compétences, le tact, humaniser les rapports de travail) ;
· les compétences (capacités danalyse et de synthèse pour résoudre les problèmes pratiques, capacités dexpression et dargumentation).
mais être plutôt considéré comme ce ciment du collectif qui permet dassurer une certaine agilité stratégique en générant de la connaissance par la constitution de communautés cognitives.
Dès les fondations de lintelligence économique en France, la communication normative est bien centrale. A travers ses mots-clés, Elle apparaît dans la définition extensive donnée par le rapport Martre, notamment : « élaborer et mettre en uvre de façon cohérente la stratégie et les tactiques nécessaires à latteinte des objectifs définis par lentreprise », « un cycle ininterrompu, générateur dune vision partagée des objectifs à atteindre », « linteraction entre tous les niveaux de lactivité, auxquels sexerce la fonction dintelligence économique ».
Utiliser Linked In dans une démarche d’intelligence économique
Linkedin has become the most popular of the professionally focused social media sites, and therefore a goldmine for various competitive intelligence tidbits, sometimes disclosed inadvertently.
If, on the other hand, a firm was competing with Mr. Lawyer’s firm for work from a company in the hotel industry, then Mr. Lawyer’s recommendations might be leveraged to the CI pro’s firm’s advantage. While Mr. Lawyer may point to his recommendations as proof that he has delighted clients in this industry, the competing firm may highlight this as Mr. Lawyer having a better relationship with a competitor company.
A section titled related companies also provides additional information:
Linkedin has partnered with Capital IQ to provide company data
Some of these clients are (names have been withheld, but are available on Mr. Lawyer’s profile):
Good intelligence starts with good data and good data requires good research. And it all takes time!
CI is both the process and the product, and focusing solely on an output (a report, download, document, etc.) is not CI. Its not even much in the way of research, really, as any harried law librarian/researcher will tell you. Producing documents on demand without providing insight or a summary or even conducting a reference interview is called reporting and should not be mistaken with an intelligence function.
Canned reports from vendor products (atVantage, West Monitor, etc.) are great, but are only facts that contain no analysis.
Good intelligence starts with good data and good data requires good research. And it all takes time!
CI Teams need to be proactive with their clients and find opportunities to engage in long-range planning by knowing what their clients are doing.
t is good to attend practice group meetings, monitor new matter openings and closing, watch conflicts report, periodically audit client and matter data, and generally make a nuisance of yourself. This is the best way to keep a finger on the pulse of your firm.
CI clients must learn the differences between a quick request and a full-blown CI analysis.
It is important to understand that 10 Minute CI requests are always going to be requested. Like a ready reference question in the library, CI clients will always make these very limited, quick and dirty CI requests. It helps to streamline the process, explain the limitations of the report, and inform your CI client of what could be accomplished if given more time.
These CI requests are arguably not CI at all, but regardless of what you call them, we will always have ready-reference work and there will always be limits to what can be provided in minimal time. It is key to manage expectations and automate as much as possible.
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This year, the former associate professor published a 223-page hardcover book, Business War Games How Large, Small and New Companies Can Vastly Improve Their Strategies and Outmaneuver the Competition
designed to make this concept accessible to everyday business people and small companies.
These games provide executives a simulation, often relying on sophisticated computer modeling, expert consultants and extensive exercises, to anticipate results, and how customers and the competition will respond to a proposed project launch.
In the first chapter of the book, he proposes that the every business person facing a decision involving competitors should have access to the games experience.