doing so requires having a plan for turning this information into actionable intelligence from which strategically important decisions can be made. The use of such knowledge, often called competitive intelligence (CI) or business intelligence, is growing among leading organizations. In fact, about 10 percent of large U.S. corporations now use this practice-three times more than in 1988.
The sources used to select innovative companies include secondary research conducted by the Clearinghouse. Consortium members, staff members, Prescott, and Herring also identified potential participants based on their own firsthand experiences and research. Roughly 94 companies were identified and asked to participate in a screening survey. Partners were selected through a two-phase screening. First, an intensive detailed screening questionnaire was administered to 16 companies. All respondents then were asked to participate in a phone interview and given the opportunity to clarify responses and provide more detailed information. From the data gathered during this screening process, the sponsors selected seven companies to participate as best-practice partners in the study.
Additional information was collected from partners and sponsors during the next phase of the study, called the data collection phase. This process included a selfadministered questionnaire completed by both partners and sponsors, as well as seven site visits conducted with the partner companies. During the half-day site visits hosted by partner companies, the participants collected additional information about targeted aspects of the partners’ processes, such as gathering and disseminating intelligence information. The site visits focused on the CI operations, information technology (IT) techniques used to assist in the process, and identification of customer needs. A subset of consortium members attended each site visit in order to participate in discussion and to experience different competitive and business intelligence programs firsthand.