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Ashgate Publishing, September 2005, Pages: 264
Every business manager needs intelligence to find suppliers, mobilize capital, win customers and fend off rivals. Obtaining this is often an unplanned, instinctive process. The manager who has a conscious, systematic approach to acquiring intelligence will be better placed to recognize and seize opportunities whilst safeguarding the organization against the competitive risks that endanger its prosperity – and sometimes even its survival.
Christopher Murphys Competitive Intelligence explains:
- the theory of business competition
- how companies try to get ahead of their rivals
- methods of research and sources of information that generate the raw material for creating intelligence
- analytical techniques which transform the mass of facts and opinions thus retrieved into a platform of sound, useable knowledge to support informed business decision making.
The text includes plenty of examples and experiences from the authors own consulting experience. He draws on a wide variety of disciplines, including literary criticism (or how to read between the lines of company reports, announcements and media stories) and anthropology (understanding corporate culture), as well as the more obvious ones such as financial analysis, management theory and business forecasting techniques. This fusion of insights from many fields of expertise provides a very readable, practical and imaginative framework for anyone seeking to gather and make effective use of market and company data. While focused on the British business environment, the lessons drawn are of universal application, and examples are taken from across the globe. In addition a chapter is devoted to researching industries and companies in other countries. Although primarily concerned with commercial enterprises, many of the principles and techniques will also be of considerable practical relevance to managers in the public sector or not-for-profit organizations.
Competitive Intelligence also provides a legal and ethical framework to guide the unwary and to curb the over-enthusiastic. The final chapter, Intelligence Countersteps, will open your eyes to the need to protect your own organization from some of the practices of less scrupulous researchers and investigators.
Steps Towards More Effective Competitor Intelligence – Understanding the Competitive Landscape and the Contributing to Better Decision-making: Competitor intelligence is not enough!
How is CI being conducted and how should it be performed?
Ways in which companies compete
Key internal business drivers
Key external business drivers
For goodness sake! – legal and ethical aspects of CI. Collecting Data: Commencing the CI quest – planning and initial data gathering
Refining the search
Systematic sources – regular corporate document filings
Systematic sources – ad hoc corporate document filings
Observing a company
Creative sources and the craft of analysis. Turning Raw Data into Finished Intelligence – Analysis and Presentation: Figuring out the numbers – the structure and content of company accounts
Running the numbers – understanding financial statements
Interpreting the non-financial sections of company accounts
Assessing information quality
Comparing and positioning companies
What does the future hold?
The end crowns all – disseminating competitive intelligence