Non sempre chi si occupa di Competitive Intelligence (CI) riesce a guidare - o quantomeno a influenzare - il processo decisionale in azienda; a volte questa attività è un mero esercizio di raccolta di informazioni, utilizzato per confermare piani d'azione che sono stati già identificati o dare supporto a piani di breve termine, con poca valenza strategica.
I risultati di quelle aziende in cui l'analista di CI riesce ad affermare il proprio ruolo e a indirizzare le decisioni del top management sono però evidenti e misurabili, sia in termini di competitività che di profitto.
Vediamo insieme i risultati di una ricerca sul ruolo dell'analista di CI e sull'impatto della sua attività in azienda, pubblicata lo scorso anno dai colleghi, esperti in CI, Fuld e Gilad sulla rivista "Harvard Business Review" e svolta su circa 250 aziende statunitensi ed europee appartenenti a più di 20 settori.
For more than 30 years, most large corporations worldwide have adopted competitive intelligence (CI) as a way to expedite good decisions. And yet for almost every company that uses CI in their decision-making, there’s another that disregards CI’s mix of industry analysis, rival positions, and market insight to their detriment.
We recently conducted a survey of CI managers and analysts who’ve been through our training program to see how much their findings influenced major company decisions, and why. (...)
We found that 55% of our respondents said that their input on major management decisions made enough difference to improve the decision. But 45% said their CI analysis did not.
Why did some analysts have their input incorporated, while others didn’t? (...)
First, many executives decide on a course of action and then use CI to ratify their choice. When asked, “What percent of your reports do you feel are just ‘confirmatory’ for an executive who already made a decision?” a full one-third of our respondents claimed “high” or “very high.” In these cases, the analysis may just be an obligation to be checked off a list.
(...) We found four variables turned out to be highly significant in explaining the difference in impact.
1. The analyst was assigned a “sign-off” authority over major decisions. The single most effective way to ensure intelligence is used in any given decision is to give the analyst a say in moving it forward. In practical terms this means the analyst – not just the PowerPoint deck – becomes part of discussions leading to the decision. That is the one area where “intelligent organizations” differ most from others.
2. Management was open to perspectives that were different from the internal consensus.Management that was more open to different perspective was also more likely to ask the analyst for the “big picture” rather than just the data.
3. The analyst’s report called for proactive action more than reaction. Most companies are reactive by nature, and a lot of intelligence is about reacting to competitors’ moves. However, the decisions that matter more may well be those that are proactive. When the analyst provided proactive recommendations, the analysis had more of an impact.
4. The analyst was involved in product launches. (...) Competitive intelligence is highly popular in tactical areas, and that product launches are an area where companies are most worried about competitors’ responses; successful product launches depend on correctly gauging the response of other players in the market. These include, naturally, customers and competitors, but also the less obvious responses by distribution channels, regulatory authorities, and influencing agents. Lack of insightful anticipation of these reactions — which is where competition analysts have the greatest expertise — leads to many more failures than there should be. (...)
While product launches were over-represented, our respondents told us about a wide array of applications for their analyses. They were evenly distributed between pursuing opportunities (46%) and reducing risks (44%), and ran the gamut from product pricing and features, capex investments, manufacturing processes, market expansion, joint ventures, M&A, and more.
For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, respondents said that use of competitive intelligence had either saved or generated millions through discontinuing ineffective drug development efforts, walking away from bad deals and/or licensing opportunities, or accelerating new drug development based on what competitors were doing. (...)
A common theme across industries was the smart reallocation of resources. One analyst told us that their company had stopped development on a project that was consuming lots of local resources after the analysis indicated it wouldn’t be effective. They then re-applied those resources to an area with true growth potential — that area is now starting to take off. In a different company, an analysis led to the cancellation of an extremely high-risk R&D program.
(...) It’s clear to us from this and other surveys we’ve done that the companies that get the most out of CI use it for a wide array of purposes – and actually let it shape their decisions.
Fonte: Harvard Business Review