17 Feb 11 Improving the ROI on your Competitive Intelligence

All companies monitor their competitive environment. Although competitive intelligence is not a formal function in most companies, other functions like marketing, operations and finance keep tabs on what the competition is up to, what the economic environment is looking like, what the customers are thinking, etc. The cost of neglecting this activity can be very high; there are examples abound, of companies that went out of business as they failed to recognize external signals. Nevertheless, the competitive intelligence (CI) activities are generally strapped for funds. The best way to tackle budget constraints is to unequivocally demonstrate the value of CI for the company.

These were some of the issues that were discussed and debated at the briefing on ‘Improving the ROI on your Competitive Intelligence’, hosted by ValueNotes in Mumbai on the 4th of February, 2011. The session began with a brief introduction to ValueNotes and our credentials in CI by Arun Jethmalani, Managing Director, ValueNotes. This was followed by my presentation. My interactive session delved on some of the key pain points of a typical CI practitioner. We discussed ways to enhance the value of CI gathered. This is critical for the success of CI, as once the decision-makers see value in the CI they receive, budgets will flow automatically. Further, we discussed the importance of knowing what CI is feasible (and what is not) and how to do it efficiently.

The briefing was well attended by CI practitioners and enthusiasts from across various industries – ITeS, pharma, chemicals, banking, finance, insurance, manufacturing, etc. They included business heads, heads of strategy, marketing, operations, and business analytics and CI professionals from companies such as Abbot, Pidilite, Forbo Adhesives, Tata AIG, Legrand, Axis Bank and Johnson & Johnson, among others. Active and constructive participation by all the delegates contributed greatly to the rich discussion that carried into the cocktails and dinner that followed.

The main topics debated during the Q&A session included measuring the CI performance, ways to demonstrate ROI from CI, CI from internal sources and ethics in CI.

As many CI practitioners who have attended our briefings expressed the need for a forum to share their experiences and learning, ValueNotes has launched a Linkedin group Competitive Intelligence Network India.

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.

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