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The impact of Competitive Intelligence (CI) on business innovations

It is now a fact that a large number of companies have started to take a serious grasp of their external competitive environment and therefore, many companies and institutions in multiple of industries. Businesses have now developed sophisticated CI capabilities and are moving beyond the implementation and refining phases to recognizing CI for its true value. Many companies are now using CI as constant radar on the lookout for opportunities and threats, a tool to enhance company knowledge and promote innovation and a constant input in strategic decision making. That is the true role, value and place of CI in today’s international business arena.


CI’s main aim is to enable companies with a competitive advantage by providing input to a Competitive Strategy. Many businesses grow content in their development because they forget the importance of continuous effort to differentiate, adapt, change or become more profitable through innovative processes, products and services. CI is a way to alert companies constantly of changes in the competitive environment.

The purpose of a CI program is to develop action-oriented implications for managers. Competitive Intelligence also needs to be delivered on a timely basis so it can be incorporated into the decision-making process. The process of CI involves the development of intelligence products, their flow to decision makers on a timely basis, and the incorporation of said intelligence into the decision-making process.

CI professionals simply apply information and intelligence when identifying, monitoring and warning of risks and opportunities and changes in the business environment. Unless companies have a capability to continuously track and scan change, identify risk and monitor risk, they will be unable to manage risk, identity opportunities, avert threats and decide on an appropriate strategy. CI’s interest comes into play when it is able to identify a new pattern of behavior in a competitor, interpret this as a possible change in strategy and alert decision makers to the need of adjusting plans or direction.

Owing to increased competitiveness and the need to constantly differentiate (through perpetual innovation) in a market dictated by consumers, the field of CI has grown over the past two decades to become an integral part of most large organizations. Access to and gathering of information is no longer sufficient – even analysing and interpreting information is no guarantee to competitive advantage. How CI is communicated (in actionable form mat) to those who take strategic decisions about a company’s future, and how they use the intelligence, determines the winners and losers in the competitive battlefield. Intense competition is the best motivator for CI growth, sophistication and elevation in businesses.


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