14 Nov 11 Education and careers in competitive intelligence in India

Success and Failure Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.On the SCIP linkedin group I recently came across a survey to identify the education and career moves that can lead a person into the competitive intelligence discipline.  It was most interesting to note that many of the competitive intelligence practitioners, even in countries more “CI mature” than India, got into their role by accident!

Competitive intelligence in India is a very new discipline. There are few educational courses that lead to a career in CI. But even in developed countries, where CI has been practiced for over 30 years, there are very few formal educational courses for CI. Only a handful of organizations (including SCIP) offer courses in CI.

Most of the respondents of the above survey started with a varied basic degrees,  got into CI by accident, took a few courses along the way and mainly learned on the job. One respondent came from an army and government background, where he got intelligence training – he applied this to the private sector.

It is difficult to get into the CI function in an organization with absolutely no experience in CI. So how does one get this experience?

The key common characteristic of CI practitioners is their passion for the discipline. And that is really the key to a successful career in CI. It requires a huge amount of curiosity, an analytical bent of mind and an eagerness to find answers to business questions.

It is possible to pursue CI in an organization even without necessarily getting into a formal CI function. So anyone in any function will find that they can do their own job better and contribute to enhancing their company’s competitive advantage by talking to  people from other companies, by reading up on what the competitors are doing and  analyzing the implications of this for their own company.  Sharing this work with the seniors/ CI function can be one way to move towards a CI career within the organization.

Another way is to first work with a CI service provider, get some experience and on-the-job learning in CI techniques and then move to the client side in the CI function.

Of course, it is possible to do all of this more efficiently and effectively, with some training on key competitive intelligence techniques and methodologies.  Such training was not easily available in India – till now. ValueNotes has recently introduced a series of workshops and programs precisely to enhance the capabilities of those who have the passion for competitive intelligence.

Do you have a passion for competitive intelligence? Do you have any unmet learning needs in this field? What are they?

Varsha Chitale

Varsha led the competitive intelligence practice at ValueNotes. As part of her drive to educate India Inc. on the merits of competitive intelligence, she often conducted webinars and seminars on CI for senior executives of Indian companies.

  • Benjamin
    Posted at 10:38h, 26 September Reply

    Competitive Intelligence in its earlier forms provided library/business information services, which was collecting and providing information on request from internal employees.

    Consequently, it has evolved from business information into a more strategic role of business strategy planning with integration of market research and productivity improvement tools to give actionable intelligence that will shape future corporate strategies of identifying new growth areas, new customers, new suppliers and new geographic markets to enter, etc.

    So there is a need to gather different skill sets from a variety of functional areas, which requires at its basic level a thirst for learning and intellectual curiosity. My suggestion to young aspirants is : Don’t go looking for a education or course that will get you into competitive intelligence, you should start developing the right mix of knowledge and skills that will make you a capable CI practitioner, the job will follow.

  • Devika P
    Posted at 12:44h, 22 February Reply

    Totally agree Competitive intelligence has to be introduced in schools and organisations in India for better development of our country and also enhancing development of an individual.

  • Education Career Blog
    Posted at 15:03h, 15 November Reply

    Competitive intelligence can enhance your skills and this will reflect in your work. It would be better if Competitive intelligence is brought more in to our India’s Education system and in away into our career approach.

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