Benjamin Gilad authored a thoughtful article on HBR.org titled: Companies Collect Competitive Intelligence, but Don’t Use It, July 31, 2015.  

I would recommend the article to anyone involved in gathering or communicating strategic intelligence. The central thesis is that companies should implement processes to audit decisions to make sure that the information they have available to them is used in decision processes.

Glad makes the following observation.

“The paradox is that companies spend millions acquiring competitive or market “intelligence” from armies of vendors and deploy the latest technology disseminating the information internally. Some estimate the market for market research alone at $20 billion annually. Specific competitor information is another $2 billion. On the other hand, management never questions the actual use of this information by employees in brand, product, R&D, marketing, business development, sales, purchasing or any other market-facing function. Instead, management implicitly assumes the information is being used, and used optimally. Leadership is happy to ask that proposals and presentations be backed by “data.”  Every middle manager is familiar with the requirement for a 130- slide deck of tables, graphs and charts in the appendix for presentations to top executives.

 

Yet no one asks: which of the information purchased at high cost from the outside army of research vendors and consultants was ignored, missed, discounted, filtered or simply not used correctly?”

Not only is the information expensive to purchase, gather and maintain, if it is not leveraged in the decision process the consequences of the decision can cost a lot more.

Putting process in place to determine the extent of this problem in any organization will take time and as with all processes of this nature faces inherent resistance from those already busy in their work.

Attensa Analytics – Monitor Who is Reading What

There are however very immediate actions that organizations can take that are both inexpensive and effective in creating more shared knowledge and insights through more intelligent use of the research and competitive information organizations are buying.  Getting straight to the point, most organizations lack a streamlined process for effectively communicating strategic information and engaging with internal experts who can contribute their perspective. Our customers are successfully addressing these challenges using the Attensa platform to gather, organize and share information.  Attensa analytics and reporting give a measured view into how the information is being used, or not used. Attensa analytics provide metrics on consumption and usage of content over a period of time. Metrics tracking total number of articles read, number of unique articles read and clicks through can be used to understand the ROI on premium content subscriptions. These tools provide important feedback for strategies like those described in the article.