Competitive intelligence is the ability to gather, analyze, and distribute information on all aspects of the environment that are necessary to assist managers and executives in strategic decisions in the organization. Most prominent organizations employ a Competitive Intelligence center for analyzing and disseminating information. Competitive Intelligence centers perform their work by responding to customers’ subjects or areas of interest. These may be recurring based on main competitors, or specific ad hoc research. Competitive Intelligence analysts perform these tasks usually by using information available to them both open and paid sources, to provide their customer with the best information available.

Due to the enormous amount of information available online, some of it written by humans and some of it even written by a machine, it is exceedingly difficult to process by a human analyst. So, in this situation what happens is that the Competitive Intelligence center, whatever manpower it has mustered, will not be able to keep up with the information overload and absorb the information in real-time.


So how do we manage this huge quantity of information? The answer is simple:  we use the same tools that have been developed to create them. These tools are machine language, automatic language processing, natural language processing, and AI algorithms. These algorithms will allow us to prioritize the information according to what we need. That may sound simple, but it is not as easily achievable as one would think, due to the proverbial “garbage-in–garbage-out”.  So, we must find a way in which we can intelligently sift through information, and while we are sifting through this information accentuate or find only the main things that we’re interested in. The good news is that And this can be done very well by semantic analysis natural language processing algorithms and advanced AI. However, many organizations have still not mastered the art of analyst-in-the-loop. automated tasks. If you work in such an organization, this is probably where you are failing:


#1 – You are losing the attention span contest

Clarity and focus are essential when competing for attention. The human ability to discern structures, hierarchy, and order are key when confronted with an overwhelming amount of data and information.


The sheer amount of information processed by each one of us is enormous and rising. We, and the next generations, are gradually developing an ability to deal with a broader spectrum of information and stimuli, albeit at the expense of depth.

Nicholas Carr posed the question Is Google Making Us Stupid in an article that went on to discuss how the author has found his ability to perform ‘deep reading’ affected by the internet. He points out that whilst he used to be able to fully concentrate and immerse himself in a book, this is no longer the case.

“My mind isn’t going—as far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I am not thinking about the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I am reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I would spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That is rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I am always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

“Users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed, there are signs that new forms of “reading” are emerging as users “power browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts going for quick wins. They go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense,” the study said.”

We live in an age when students view online courses at 2 times the speed or view TV shows while simultaneously reading emails or watching Tok-tok feeds. The information must be delivered quickly, digested rapidly, and has a noticeably short lifetime. During our normal routine, there is no real place for sub-surface depth, which has been substituted by additional surface-level information.

If you are delivering a medley of information, which the user has to browse thoroughly in order to find something that is relevant for him, you’re losing the competition for his attention span.

What you need to do is to tailor information specifically for each and every customer in such a manner that will be easy for him to quickly browse through while making sure it is specifically relevant and prioritized.


#2 – You are not creating consumer habits

The information must be served periodically at known intervals in order to encourage an information consumption habit. If your customer is receiving information in a sporadic manner, he will not develop a habit of consuming your information. One of the best times for us to read some background information was and still is – with our morning coffee. This is one of the last forts of peace and solitude that we still have. We found that the best time to serve a short amount of information is… daily first thing in the workday morning.

If you deliver information sporadically, the customer needs to take an engagement decision each time he is confronted. If you create a habit – you are in auto mode. And even if you have only a few jewels of information nuggets within your delivery – you will be successful.

#3 – You are not quick enough

In a rapidly changing environment, yesterday’s news may have no value anymore. Given the fact that you must sift through huge amounts of information, you cannot be rapid enough in your analysis even if you have scores of analysts. For every area of interest, there exist hundreds or thousands of articles daily. How will know which information is relevant and which is important to the user? The answer is that you need to use automated algorithms. Luckily for us, these algorithms exist today and with a good mix of semantic analysis, machine learning, and AI algorithms we can get build prioritization algorithm for the organization that will improve with time and provide the analysts and employees ranked information that can focus us on the most pertinent events happening in our areas of interest.

It is interesting to note that only 17%(!) of the organizations disseminate Competitive Intelligence information daily (crayon – 2020 state of the art Competitive Intelligence), and only 44% on a weekly basis. How does this provide the necessary value in a rapidly changing environment? It is bound to fall short.


#4 – You do not understand your customer’s requirement

The reason you do not understand your customer’s requirement is that oftentimes he does not really know what he wants himself. As in the famous trial back in the 60s when the judge eventually said I don’t know what pornography is but I’ll know it when I see it.  Your customer will not always know if the information is relevant or important to him until he sees it. Many times, some information that is seemingly irrelevant will fall squarely within what your customer would want even if he did not think so earlier.  Some things that he was ignorant about may pop up which he was not aware of. So how do you deal with this kind of inquiry? One of the amazing advantages of AI that is built like a black box.  You are called assistant learning. By putting. Numerous inputs and telling the algorithm what the output outputs should be. After performing this process, we can, through a neural network create an algorithm that will assist us in determining if a piece of information is relevant to our user or not.

So even without fully understanding the user’s requirement, and without him being aware of exactly what he needs – we can create an algorithm based on previous choices. This algorithm is Subsequently enhanced each time the user performs a query.

#5 –You are not making your customer work for you

Every single person in your organization is vying for different information and a different slant on current events.  So why not use the entire organization to help you decide what’s important and what not for each and every user? You can look at it as a kind of business or organizational crowdsourcing. Imagine you could harness the collective capabilities of everyone in the organization to choose what’s interesting for him or her, track all these inputs, and then use them in order to sift through and create a learning algorithm that will search through big data and subsequently provide the most prominent and important information your organization needs while continuously adapting.

This can be actually be done today with advanced Competitive Intelligence software tools such as Pleronix so that by consuming information and tracking this consumption you gradually create a learning algorithm which will know exactly what is important for the organization and will rank subsequent information whether it’s open-source or internal according to your priorities.

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