“Knowledge is power,” so they say. This is why competitive intelligence (CI) is a key component in any business operation; the company that knows what’s going on keeps on going on. Or to put it in more enterprise-friendly parlance: the organization that can accurately forecast market trends and anticipate competitor moves has a strong advantage in our turbulent, rough-and-tumble, winner-take-all world of 21st century commerce.
Like the work of author Tom Clancy’s super-analyst Jack Ryan, competitive intelligence is all about research. It involves intense electronic searches of news items, journals, white papers, studies, and other documents available to the general public via the internet, either free or via paid subscription. Like a good John LeCarre spymaster, a clever, experienced researcher ― or better yet, a team of clever, experienced researchers ― can learn a lot about an industry just from the data readily available through search engines ―if their activities are properly coordinated and curated.
And therein lies the challenge, Miss Moneypenny.
While many companies understand the value of CI — or are at least waking up to it — far too many don’t invest resources necessary to acquire and apply the information needed to wield the power they desire. Instead of dispatching an epic squad of data gathering secret agents, they relegate a handful of employees to the task, perhaps only a few full-time. Bereft of a winning CI strategy, they may end up siloing data within a company’s various divisions, frustrating or even prohibiting the sharing of information. They also may subscribe to industry news feeds, journals, and periodicals, but then waste time and money reviewing duplicate articles while failing to recognize the actionable patterns all this information offers.
The Single Source Solution
The solution to the CI dilemma demands today’s businesses come in from the cold with a single research portal enhanced by machine learning. If your company is not aware of this essential tool, such an application mines data from the widest possible range of sources, including news stories, online journals, blogs, social media, market research, and government databases, as well as a company’s own internal content repositories. Empowered by machine learning, this portal “understands” what it reads. And then it helps you understand it, too.
Such a portal can improve CI results exponentially by:
- Scanning literally millions of online documents in seconds.
- Analyzing their content.
- Identifying relationships and connections between documents, patterns that even the most astute human — even with one with a license to kill — might miss.
Just as important, a single research portal allows information to be shared across an organization, allowing “crowd wisdom” to accelerate innovation. Its power is such that even a small CI department can leverage their search skills and subject matter expertise to benefit hundreds or even thousands of employees spread across a vast distribution ecosystem
Although leading search engines use machine learning to determine page ranking, they don’t provide the depth and breadth of results commercial CI requires. This is because all of these platforms are advertiser-driven; their algorithms look for what is popular, not what is important — especially not what is important to players in a particular industry.
On the other hand, Northern Light’s SinglePoint, a leader in this technology, is delivering measurable results. For example:
- With 500 users reviewing news on 10 topics, a company calculated it was managing 30,000 CI alerts per day across its organization. Using SinglePoint, it created a daily newsletter called “Executive News Summary” (ENS for short) managed by a single employee investing just one hour per day. Readership jumped to 9,000, while the time needed to acquire, aggregate, and distribute this information dropped by 99.9%!
- Northern Light deployed a SinglePoint market research portal allowing users to search all subscription services at once, saving an estimated 1.5 hours per session. As the client has 70,000 sessions per year, the portal saved an estimated 105,000 man-hours annually valued at some $10.5 million/year.
- A global pharmaceutical company requires SinglePoint be used to acquire market intelligence before embarking on any new primary research project. To date, 10% of proposed new projects have been avoided by uncovering relevant secondary or prior existing primary research, saving $1 million per month — and speeding time to market by six to nine months.
- An IT industry client uses SinglePoint to better prepare its salesforce with impactful research, competitor information, and up-to-date customer news. It has so far identified $30 million in new sales it credits to the use of SinglePoint.
For More Information
As any globetrotting secret agent knows, knowledge is power. And more than ever, vast amounts of knowledge are available to forward-thinking companies wishing to win the intelligence war. For more information on how Northern Light’s SinglePoint portal can help you outsmart your competition as well as make your business more productive and profitable, contact us to schedule a demo.