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Analyze This Keep your dotcom alive-with competitive intelligence.

By Melissa Campanelli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Still lacking in the competitive intelligence (CI) department?Your dotcom won't survive without it-at least according to theSociety of Competitive Intelligence Professionals, which sponsoreda symposium last year titled "Know Your Competition: Tools forE-Businesses to Win Financing and Market Share." TheAlexandria, Virginia, association insists that one of the best waysfor e-businesses to ensure continued success in coming years is togain insight into the strategies of competitors not yet on thepublic radar screen. How's that done? Via strategicintelligence tools, market research, knowledge management andcompetitive intelligence.

Keynote speaker Hans Gieskes, president of, discussed the fact that all dotcom companies shouldhave a CI professional on board. "We may be a strong marketleader, but we have to watch what's happening in regional andvertical markets. There are new companies coming along every day,and companies going out of business every day," he said., than means investigating competitors on a daily basisfrom the point of view of whether or not the company can make anacquisition or form an alliance with them.

Of course, has the resources to rely on a strategyand planning group of 10 people that provides guidance on theseissues. Whether or not you can go to this extent, the key is tothink structured reporting and tracking. Gathering random bits ofinformation every now and then just won't cut it in thiscompetitive environment.

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