Legal and ethical ways to obtain competitive intelligence

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Reference no: EM131407790

Competitive Intelligence (CI) Certification

Competitive intelligence (CI). as formally defined by the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), is a systematic and ethical process for gathering and analyzing information about the competition's activities and general business trends to further a business's own goals (SCIP website). Good competitive intelligence in business, as in the military, is one of the keys to success. The more information and knowledge a firm can obtain about its competitors, the more likely the firm can formulate and implement effective strategies. Major competitors' weaknesses can represent external opportunities: major competitors' strengths may represent key threats.

Various legal and ethical ways to obtain competitive intelligence include the following:
- Hire top executives from rival firms.
- Reverse engineer rival firms' products.
- Use surveys and interviews of customers, suppliers, and distributors.
- Conduct drive-by and on-site visits to rival firm operations.
- Search online databases.
- Contact government agencies for public information about rival firms.
- Systematically monitor relevant trade publications, magazines, and newspapers.

Information gathering from employees, managers, suppliers, distributors, customers, creditors, and consultants also can make the difference between having superior or just average intelligence and overall competitiveness. The Fuld website explains that competitive intelligence is not the following:
Is not spying
Is not a crystal ball
Is not a simple Google search
Is not one-size-fits-all
Is not useful if no one is listening
Is not a job for one, smart person
Is not a fad
Is not driven by software or technology
Is not based on internal assumptions about the market Is not a spreadsheet.

The three basic objectives of a CI program are (1) to provide a general understanding of an industry and its competitors, (2) to identify areas in which competitors are vulnerable and to assess the impact strategic actions would have on competitors, and (3) to identify potential moves that a competitor might make that would endanger a firm's position in the market.w Competitive information is equally applicable for strategy formulation, implementation, and evaluation decisions. An effective CI program allows all areas of a firm to access consistent and verifiable information in making decisions. All members of an organization-from the CEO to custodians-are valuable intelligence agents and should feel themselves to be a part of the Cl


This exercise will enhance your knowledge of CI, which is the action of defining, gathering, analyzing, and distributing information about products, customers, and competitors as needed to support executives and managers in making strategic decisions for an organization. With the right information, organizations can avoid unpleasant surprises by anticipating competitors' moves and decreasing response time. Competitive intelligence information is available in newspapers, magazines, and online databases, and also by networking with industry experts, attending trade shows and conferences, gath¬ering information from their own customers and suppliers, and so on. Social-media sources also have become important-providing potential interviewee names, as well as opinions and attitudes, and sometimes breaking news.



Examine the following three CI topics and write a short overview of each item.

1. Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) (

2. The Institute for Competitive Intelligence (

3. The Fuld-Gilad-Herring Academy of Competitive Intelligence (

Reference no: EM131407790

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