Business Intelligence vs. Competitive Intelligence: An Overview
Competitive intelligence is the act of understanding a company’s industry and industry rivals so the company can make better business decisions.
Business intelligence refers to the tools, software, and systems that play a vital role in the strategic planning process of a company.
- Competitive intelligence is the outward-focused analysis of a business’s competitors to identify advantages and potential strategies.
- In contrast, business intelligence is the inward-focused evaluation of the business’s own data, which can help improve efficiency and growth.
- Combining both business and competitive intelligence provides a framework for action that can help increase stability, profitability, and success.
Competitive intelligence is an acute type of market research conducted by a business. With competitive intelligence, businesses use the same type of tactics utilized when conducting market research; however, the focus is to answer more target questions rather than review broad market trends. Competitive intelligence can include the knowledge of a competitor’s operations or business partners, as well as a deeper understanding of the industry in which a company operates.
Competitive intelligence is any material information a company possesses that allows it to make better-informed decisions than the average company in its industry. It does so to operate more efficiently. Conducting competitive intelligence allows a company to spot opportunities in the market and beat out its competitors. For example, a company might follow Twitter messages, blog posts, LinkedIn profiles, and email blasts to track what a competitor is doing.
Benefits of Competitive Intelligence
- Increased marketing efficiency: Your research can help you win back market share or identify target markets that your competitors may have missed.
- Increased sales: Your sales staff will be able to close more sales when they can position your product competitively against others in the market.
- Improved products: Competitive intelligence can help your research and development team improve and iterate on your offering.
- Reduced risk: When you know what tactics your competitors have tried (and failed), you can more easily sidestep pitfalls, focus on proven strategies, and generate growth.
Business intelligence represents the physical tools and software a company uses to gather intelligence and research. Companies then use that information to make decisions. These tools and software combine to make systems that allow a company to gather, store, and analyze raw business data in a way that helps it make the right decisions.
Business intelligence systems normally operate to collect data in the areas of customer support, market research, competitive intelligence, product performance, and other statistical analyses.
Benefits of Business Intelligence
- Speed up product design: Evaluate the most popular features and use cases to develop your customers’ ideal product and release it faster.
- Improved product launches: Metrics can help you improve the performance of your campaigns by identifying the highest-performing pieces and audiences.
- Improved sales strategies: By analyzing which deals are most effective, the sales team can be trained to close more sales.
- Strengthened human resources: Evaluating employee data can uncover trends in company culture and employee satisfaction, and even reveal causes for high turnover so you can improve retention.
- Better executive decision-making: Management can make informed decisions when guiding the direction of the company when it has the best available data.
Although both types of intelligence are broadly concerned with increasing sales and growing profitability, there are some differences between business intelligence and competitive intelligence.
|Competitive intelligence||Business intelligence|
|Improves positioning||Improves systems|
|Predicts competitors’ moves||Guides the business’s moves|
|Relies on third-party data||Relies on internal data|
How Can Business Intelligence Help You Gain Competitive Advantage?
Business intelligence can help a company gain an advantage in the marketplace by streamlining its operations, reducing inefficiencies, and identifying new sales opportunities. For example, a company can reduce inventory of stock that isn’t selling, replace it with stock with a higher profit margin, and win over customers with improved sales strategies.
How Do Companies Gather Competitive Intelligence?
There are several different ways a company can obtain data about its competitors in the market. Your competitors’ own social media, press releases, and annual reports (as applicable) can give insight into their upcoming moves, as can trade magazines and industry reports. Observing and talking with customers and industry experts can also reveal trends in customer opinion and behavior toward your competitors.
How Do You Do Competitive Intelligence ?
The competitive intelligence process begins with identifying your competitors, their offerings, and their market position. Once you have identified your rivals, you’ll conduct research and gather information. When you have gathered your data, you must analyze it to draw the conclusions that will form the basis of your action plan. At that point, it’s time to execute your plan. Keep in mind that competitive intelligence is an ongoing process, so you’ll need to continue to monitor your competitors if you want to stay one step ahead.
The Bottom Line
Business intelligence is a company’s inward-facing analysis that is focused on improving efficiency, and competitive intelligence is outward-facing research that aims to predict a competitor’s next moves. While both competitive intelligence and business intelligence can help a company prosper, understanding the benefits of each will help you get the best insights.