Still lacking in the competitive intelligence (CI) department? Your dotcom won't survive without it-at least according to the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals, which sponsored a symposium last year titled "Know Your Competition: Tools for E-Businesses to Win Financing and Market Share." The Alexandria, Virginia, association insists that one of the best ways for e-businesses to ensure continued success in coming years is to gain insight into the strategies of competitors not yet on the public radar screen. How's that done? Via strategic intelligence tools, market research, knowledge management and competitive intelligence.
Keynote speaker Hans Gieskes, president of Internet-powerhouse Monster.com, discussed the fact that all dotcom companies should have a CI professional on board. "We may be a strong market leader, but we have to watch what's happening in regional and vertical markets. There are new companies coming along every day, and companies going out of business every day," he said. For Monster.com, than means investigating competitors on a daily basis from the point of view of whether or not the company can make an acquisition or form an alliance with them.
Of course, Monster.com has the resources to rely on a strategy and planning group of 10 people that provides guidance on these issues. Whether or not you can go to this extent, the key is to think structured reporting and tracking. Gathering random bits of information every now and then just won't cut it in this competitive environment.
Melissa Campanelli is a technology writer in Brooklyn, New York, who has covered technology for Mobile Computing & Communications and Sales & Marketing Management magazines. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.