More than many business units, CI organizations need to define themselves. That’s largely because others in the organization may not have a clear understanding of what CI is and its potential value. The following techniques can help you create a strong role and identity for your CI organization:
Prepare an elevator pitch to define your charter. If you can’t tell people what your department does in the timespan of a short elevator ride, they probably won’t pay attention to find out.
Take charge of the process (before someone else does). The CI function can easily become something other than your vision for it, so define the value of that vision clearly, for all to see.
Establish a prioritized analysis queue. Attract strategic initiatives from the organizations you support and assign priorities to each one to ensure that you are always doing the most valuable work possible.
Base your efforts around key intelligence questions (KIQs). Focusing on big questions like “what markets should we enter” instead of little ones like “how many units did our competitor sell in the northeast?”
Create a solid stream of deliverables, but focus on analysis and imapct. It’s important to have visible results, but that’s an empty goal if it doesn’t reflect the kind of analysis you want your CI organization to focus on.
These simple approaches can help lay a foundation for a CI organization that plays a strong strategic role. They also help avoid the pitfalls I describe in my blog entry, “Four Signs of Stick Fetching versus Competitive Intelligence.”
By Sean Campbell
By Scott Swigart