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Competitive Analysis Importance

 

competitive intelligence-driven organizations and members of the analytical community face many fresh challenges. Success will be determined, at least in part, by how well these individuals and functions manage their scarce resources, balance frequently conflicting demands, produce longer-term analysis, continue to develop both broad and deep analytic expertise, and forge new relationships with others both inside and outside their organizations. This is not the time for analysts to be resting on their laurels. New ways of working and critical issues are appearing at a far greater pace than in the past. Analysts need all the help they can get to rise to the challenge of tomorrow’s demands.

Most organizations today are not structured or organized properly to make good decisions that will help them outperform their competition in the marketplace.

There is no shortage of examples where poor decisions have adversely affected many stakeholders. Read the business section of your local paper, and you will hear of bankruptcies, down-sizing because of poor sales, over-optimistic new product revenue/volume predictions, wasted R&D efforts, or plant closures due to outdated technology or cheap imports. Intelligence failures relative to national decision making are also well publicized and again point to decision makers who were not properly prepared to make optimal decisions.

Although it is often difficult to find decision makers who will publicly take the responsibility for having made poor choices, we all know of individuals who, with hindsight, would have done things differently. Unfortunately, we are unaware of anyone who has figured out how to either roll back the clock or to reverse time! Making better choices and decisions the first time creates a greater need for effective analysis and intelligence.

Today’s managers face an abundance of information in their decision-making contexts, and sometimes this information abundance causes them to be paralyzed. Analysts have the means for helping reduce both the volume and rate of this information flow while simultaneously assuring the quality of the product being delivered. They can then greatly enhance the executive’s actual ability and confidence in effective decision making.

Analysis has been revitalized in the “knowledge” era, or the era of intellectual capital. Whatever we should call it, knowledge is increasingly recognized as a key organizational asset that can distinguish between the winners and losers in many competitive market-places.15 Organizations that can effectively generate, capture, disseminate, and apply knowledge better and faster than their competitors stand a higher probability of achieving successful performance. Analysts are a critical part of this knowledge-oriented process as they are among the primary directors of knowledge in an organization. One thing we hope to emphasize in this book is that analysts must provide direction and guidance to those individuals responsible for collecting data and information. They are the link to gathered data and the organization’s key decisions.

Analysis is just as important because of the increased recognition and value on good thinking skills. Analysis cannot be conducted in the absence of thinking. Without it, we would have random choice and luck. This is not the best foundation for a considered outcome and is increasingly likely to suffer from “extinction by instinct.” The other end of the continuum is from “paralysis by analysis.” That is not to summarily discount the value of instinct, but it has to be measured alongside more reliable and tested methods of analysis.

 

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