Competitive Intelligence is a professional management specialisation which is gaining importance across the world of modern business. This specialisation is not market research nor is it industrial espionage. It is the study of internal and external intelligence about markets, competencies, products, processes, suppliers, competitors or any aspect of business environment to gain an edge over competition.
It is completely legal and is essential to take into account when formulating corporate competitive strategies. In today’s fast changing and fast paced world of business, the Competitive Intelligence function provides the decision maker with insightful information on the competitor’s capabilities and intentions. It serves as an early warning of possible future events or opportunities which may have an impact on the company’s performance. Such early warning enables the company to take suitable aggressive, passive or defensive measures to succeed in the market place, in its selected market space.
The United States of America, Europe, Japan and China are way ahead of us in the field of Competitive Intelligence. In other words, it is their understanding and deployment of Competitive Intelligence that has made them way ahead of us. In India, we have untapped potential in this stream. Development of a cross-functional mindset is required to make the right moves and arrive at unique solutions to problems. In other words, to convert a problem into an opportunity one should have a 360 degree view from all angles starting from finance and marketing to procurement and manufacturing. Competitive Intelligence ensures continuous monitoring across all business functions/ streams looking out for probable threats and opportunities. The acquisition of Whatsapp Inc. by Facebook Inc. is the best example of a Competitive Intelligence driven move where a future threat was nullified.
The increasing pace of competition is surpassing every previous record set. With the advancement of digital technologies, data gathering compilation and analysis has become much more simplified. This helps us reduce the risk factor from uncertainties linked to strategy formulation so that the business can keep winning the continuous battle of competition. Teams in specialist CI companies or CI teams in large organisations analyse the various key intelligence topics and suggest strategies as well as signal early warnings to concerned departments or functions across almost all business streams.
The CI function therefore plays a pivotal role. Career options span from being an entrepreneur, a core CI consultant to build a CI mode, social media managers, market researchers, business analysts, national and corporate level think tanks, etc. The scope of the CI discipline is very vast.
Keeping in view the relevance of this discipline for the future of business, Amity University runs a MBA programme specialising in Competitive Intelligence and Strategic Management (MBA CI and SM). Amity is probably the only University in India which runs this programme. They also have a tie up with EISTI, France which is one of the world’s premier institutes in Competitive Intelligence. The MBA CI and SM programme is designed in accordance with current industry requirements and focuses on “competitive early warning and risk control”, “business strategy and tactics”, “corporate warfare”, “scenario planning”, “business analytics”, strategic management etc. Students get hands-on training on various tools and techniques of Competitive Intelligence analysis. This programme is perfect for young adult professionals who are looking for a career that is exciting, challenging and intellectually stimulating with opportunities to make an impact on organisation’s future plans and decisions.
The author is professor at Amity University, Noida