By Joe Levy
Yet, nothing lasts forever without some sort of change. Companies that do not keep up with technology, for instance, are sure to fall behind. Many skeptics will agree that if current tools “get the job done,” there’s no need for alternatives.
Innovators and market leaders will argue otherwise. They’ll tout their business models succeed because they actively research and acquire new technologies to improve efficiency, promote creativity, and grow their businesses.
Competitive intelligence (CI) technology, in particular, is a new tool the business community is buzzing about. Forward-thinking companies are beginning to use it to cope with today’s information overload, while turning data already available online into profitable ideas and strategies that make sense.
Using outdated technology holds companies back from knowing what’s really going around them. Keeping up with competitor activity, market trends, and consumer behavior - all of which are important to stay competitive for the long haul- remain unstructured and rarely justify major decisions.
Below are a few reasons why CI technology can become the upgrade many companies need to stay relevant:
Expand Online Research to Foster Competitiveness
A 2012 Frost & Sullivan survey reported that 51 percent of CI functions already use automated data collection technology. Although a little over half use a tool for data collection, a large portion is still left collecting data manually. CI teams aren't the only ones that benefit from using CI technology for data collection. Other knowledge workers are using CI technology to track and gather large amounts of online information from databases, blogs, industry reports, and even social networks to form strategy and make day-to-day decisions.
Spend More Time Analyzing, Not Collecting Data
It takes lots of time to find valuable pieces of compelling data. The hunt requires many steps and consistent effort. Most knowledge workers already know what to research: information on markets, competitors, and consumer attitudes. Yet, many find themselves spending more time collecting it instead of analyzing it. CI technology, like clearCi, allows knowledge workers to organize and capture information from many data sources without having to spend time searching numerous websites and databases to get it.
Obtain More Relevant Data Online
Many analysts agree that it’s the quality, not quantity of information that matters. But the amount of data created everyday is taking a toll on companies, causing incomplete analyses, inaccurate assumptions and poor decision making. CI technology alleviates these symptoms by automating data searches with selective keywords based on topics, competitors, products, or other important cues to get the necessary information in any language. The technology then gathers and organizes the information for greater visibility.
Be Alerted on Critical Data Changes
In today's tech-driven environment, paying close attention to competitors and other key players is crucial. The objectives should be to find new advances, experiment with trendy technologies, understand consumer behaviors, and exploit market opportunities as soon as possible. CI technology can alert knowledge workers when content on webpages has been modified or removed, keeping them informed about product launches, price changes, marketing campaigns, and tactical efforts that could lead to stark changes in market share. By doing so, key players are able to send early warning signals inside the company when potential threats arise.
With all of these new capabilities offered by CI technology, the status quo to market research and competitive analysis just seems archaic.
There are many ways to implement data management and competitive intelligence software to a company's department functions. To learn how to gain a competitive advantage using business intelligence and competitor monitoring software in your department, download one of clearCi’s helpful competitive guides.
Joe Levy is the founder and CEO of clearCi, a Fort Lauderdale-based tech startup that empowers knowledge workers to compete effectively in today's digital era. He is also co-chair of SCIP's first South Florida chapter. For more ideas and tips to improve your competitive potential with technology, visit clearCi's blog at ideastocompete.com.