Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Competitive Strategy: Legal spying

Competitive intelligence does not contain any dark alleys, secret handshake or a Swiss bank account. In fact, it is perfectly legal. So why should you ignore it?

Competitive Intelligence (CI) is now using one of the most powerful weapon. Companies use competitive intelligence forecast outside influence, which can prevent many of the wrong decisions, saving millions of dollars, and compared to current and future competitors have advantages. Because such a result, people think that most firms have the highest quality of competitive intelligence project. Wrong! Most enterprises can not develop using this simple but powerful strategy. And this error is that competitive intelligence is that people who are most in need - the implementation of decisions makers.

Jan Herring is the state capital in Hartford, Connecticut (Hartford, Conn.)'s Herring & Associates Consulting Inc., president, previously was head of Motorola Inc. business intelligence. Jan Herring in the talk about waste, said: While 90% of the Fortune 500 companies have competitive intelligence, but only less than 10% of senior managers to understand the use and provides a reasonable CI. Companies may spend millions of dollars to buy Lotus Notes (Lotus company produces the series of groupware software) built intranet and other smart tools for the collection and dissemination of data. But if those do not convey important information to key decision-makers, and these resources will become as expensive vacuum cleaner.

Robert E. Flynn NutraSweet's former chairman and CEO, is now the biotech companies in New York Tarrytown AMBI Inc. chairman. He also agreed, said: "This is how shocking! Most of the CEO were given little information. They could get some information from within the organization, but the information is filtered and removed gradually lost. To obtain a strong market Information on the CEO is extremely important - even if not by the vice president of sales had to integrate the information processing. In other words, 'Your product has to stink, you are dumb'.

Requirements: a new way of thinking

And the vast majority of commercial tools or management theory has been widely reported in different media, business manager of hard to find information on how to use the CI progress. The reason is simple: According to CI's competitive nature, many companies do not want to admit they use CI, let alone asking them to describe how to do or why. In addition, many executives confuse the CI and espionage, fear of legal problems, I hope nothing to do with it.

Herring explained: "There is no way most business managers to understand the topic, business schools do not open the profession, and not treat it as a management discipline." CI is full of uncertainty and the need for future capacity This is of concern to business managers are accustomed to the basic principles of conflicts. Chicago-based strategic plan for the U.S. oil sector, business intelligence manager Ava Youngblood said: "Managers are taught to analyze the historical events and financial statements, those are things that have happened. And CI want you to consider what will happen .. .. This requires managers to develop something based on some uncertain decision-making, it more accurate to say, this is not the managers want to happen. they are against the risks, and do not want to see an uncertain future.

In addition, many managers have been submerged in a lot of information, competitive intelligence reports did not have time to listen. And because these reports do not come from the general manager's entourage, but from the sales representatives, engineers, etc., so managers may ignore their value. CommGuard director Michael W. Braham describes as "Do not give me to sell insurance policies, the children" mentality.

Some managers refuse to CI because of them there are some weaknesses in the human-specific, they do not want to change their way of doing things. They see no need to change to help them have successful management style, and never thought it was the failure will lead to their way of thinking. Located in Annapolis, Maryland (Annapolis, Md.)'s WarRoom Research LLC, a consulting firm competitive intelligence director Steve Shaker, said: "Those who come to the status they have now because of their intelligence, their made the right decision. in things not much time for a change, the courage it is very important. You can use past experience as a basis for judging of the future. But now, along with IT and the impact of globalization, the world changes so fast , so that past experiences are not as worthwhile. "

Even the most visionary companies will have some number of such short-sighted. For example, the U.S. oil company, with 36 billion U.S. dollars of chemical and petroleum products giant, is the sincere support of the senior management of one of CI's business, its CEO has relied on competitive intelligence decision-making, for example, the information provided in accordance with Youngblood know what is entering a The new market is the most cost-effective way. Youngblood is located in Virginia, Alexander the Great (Alexandria, Va.) Society of Competitive Intelligence (SCIP, the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals) president, is still trying to convince managers should go beyond short-term success for shareholders of thinking, and provide early warning CI Note. CI organizations are prepared in accordance with the proposed action before the U.S. oil company executives experienced rejection, anger, conflict until the acceptance process. Youngblood told her followers: "If you refuse to see that you have achieved results. If you see anger, you get greater results.

Support your local intelligence

CI relative to managers ignore all the reasons, managers should embrace more fully the reasons for CI. In short, CI produced a large number of summary results, and many incalculable benefits. Associate professor of management at the University of Ottawa Jonathan L. Calof said: "What is the value of competitive intelligence? I could at least 3 to 4 years to tell you of a new technology generation.

Few managers are willing to record CI to bring value to their business, but Flynn is one of them. He said in a speech, CI annual contribution to the NutraSweet more than 50 million U.S. dollars. When Flynn was leaving, NutraSweet company's desktop product Benevia become part of Chicago.

Flynn said: While Benevia products have aspartic acid phenylalanine methyl ester patent, but the CI is very important. However, when NutraSweet is still patented, CI is an important resource to fend off competitors.

In 1990, that is, 2 years before the patent exhaustion, the company began to hear rumors of other companies prepared to reduce the aspartic acid phenylalanine methyl offer, and is, and NutraSweet's customers to negotiate. Flynn said: "We know that if mistaken, or did not deceive our customers, we will lose two thirds of the business. CI then played an incredible role, it tries to learn what companies worldwide to produce aspartic acid phenylalanine methyl ester, and its quality can be recognized by Coca-Cola and Pepsi. "using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, Environmental Protection Agency) of the document, according to competitors of the production equipment and conference records, district, and NutraSweet assessment of its competition pressure, and to all the right customers discounts. Flynn said: "We finally have maintained all of the customer relationship.

Flynn personally involved in the NutraSweet because the CI project, so he can have direct access to information. Otherwise, such information may have been blocked internal contradictions. In general, CI sector and other sectors will find love in conflict. For example, when the number of managers ready to expand into a new market, then CI department said it was a wrong decision, because the local government decided to protect its sugar industry related products must never be allowed to enter their markets. Similarly, NutraSweet's marketing department decided to spend 86 million U.S. dollars to launch a brand campaign, CI department that this was a waste, because their most direct competition to the brand at least five years behind them. Flynn often used CI department's proposal, rather than other sectors. He said: "CEO has to lead his entire staff and senior management has made so much progress, so they will not wantonly attacked CI departments. This makes CEO in the middle. But let the best CEO in the middle in advance rather than later. "

Monitoring competition level

Another area of business intelligence dominated by Motorola. Schaumburg, Ill. The company is located in markets around the world have their eye liner. 80s in the 20th century, when Herring also Motorola, and his team provide business intelligence to support enterprises of the Executive Committee and the Motorola offices around the world. Without him, the company threatened by competition in foreign countries will slow down the reflection. For example, in Australia and New Zealand, Motorola employee noticed a competitor from Japan are being implemented, their marketing plans. They put this information to Herring. Was the fact that yes, that competitors are using this market a new brand strategy to do experiments. Herring said: "Because we are alert, so that our competitors in the introduction of this new strategy before the United States and Europe to prepare to compete. If this happened in other companies, the information will not pass through the company over."

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