World-class Competitive Intelligence
(CI) Function is a multistage research project. Competitive
Intelligence represents a "formalized, yet continuously
evolving process by which the management team assesses the
evolution of its industry and the capabilities and behaviour
of its current and potential competitors to assist in maintaining
or developing a competitive advantage" (Prescott and
The CI function can be divided into two main activities: (a)
the operation, which includes working on intelligence products
and project involving the gathering, analyzing and dissemination
of intelligence based on intelligence requests from managers
and (b) the administration, which focuses on the activities,
actions and resources needed to manage the operational activity.
These two activities interact; both are necessary for an effective
world-class CI function.
Most of the literature has focused on various aspects of CI
operations such as collection techniques and analytical methods.
Designing the administration structure of a CI function has
been primarily examined in an ad hoc manner. Our project,
based on systematic research, reveals how to design a CI administration
to achieve a world-class standard
The project addresses a significant gap in the
CI literature thus providing a unique practical contribution
for managers. A bibliographic review shows that there are
no books based on systematic research that provide a taxonomical
model for planning, developing and evolving a CI function.
The extant literature focuses on prescriptive guidelines oriented
towards "how to start a CI function". Thus there
has been no limited attention directed towards developing
a taxonomical framework of the key factors comprising a world-class
CI function. Thus managers do not have a roadmap to follow
in designing their CI function. The project's aim is to cover
several reserach areas:
||What are the dimensions and
aspects of a World-class CI function?
|| How have world-class companies
developed CI: what are the main phases of development
and how are they described in terms of milestones relating
to the various aspects?
||What are the logical relationships
between the aspect milestones?
||What are the best ways to achieve
The initial Research activity started in Barcelona
in September 2003 discussing the possible conceptual frameworks.
The starting idea was applying project management as a tool
for supporting the establishment, implementation and development
of the CI Function.
Between October and May 2004 we reviewed current literature
and professional presentations. The objective was to establish
a first list of aspects to incorporate into our framework
During autumn 2004 we organized 51 aspects into 9 dimensions.
||The first part of our research
led to the definition of 48 aspects of a world-class CI
function. (Building the framework)
|| This step is concerned with
understanding the overall achievement of best practice
companies against the model
||This step is interested in
distinguishing the relative importance of the 48 aspects
and the 9 dimensions.
||This step is interested in
defining the ideal or possible roadmaps with milestone
and final objectives.