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Concentrated young businesswoman explaining market research results in graphs to mixed race colleagues. Focused group of diverse employees holding brainstorming meeting, discussing project ideas. Competitive intelligence.

This is the year to leverage technology to solidify your company’s market and competitive intelligence delivery

Forrester Research predicts 80% of companies will pivot their innovation initiatives from creativity to resilience in 2023. That means fewer technology “moon shots” and more “incremental improvement” geared toward bolstering ongoing operations and customer experience.  Concurrently, Forrester is advising companies to focus this year on building their market differentiation.

Taken together, these research findings put a spotlight on market insights and competitive intelligence (CI) teams within large enterprises.  After all, a company can’t effectively differentiate itself without a clear understanding of who and what it’s differentiating from, so accurate and readily accessible competitive intelligence is vital. And the CI function must take to heart the notion of improving “customer experience” in tangible ways.

The fact that CI’s “customers” are internal constituencies – executives and professionals in critical business functions like strategic planning, product development, marketing, and sales – makes them no less deserving of care.  Improving their “experience” equates to making competitive intelligence content easier to find, analyze and share.

So what can competitive intelligence leaders do to follow Forrester’s advice in 2023?

First, consider deploying a knowledge management platform specifically optimized for market and competitive intelligence; if you already have one, ensure that decision makers throughout the entire organization can avail themselves of the resource.

Key attributes of an optimized, enterprise-scale CI platform (or “portal”) include:

  • The ability to aggregate and manage all relevant content within a single, consistently indexed repository. This includes primary and secondary market research, plus industry news from authoritative sources, academic journals and conference abstracts, relevant government and industry databases, and corporate financial reports.  Much of this content will be in the form of narrative textual reports, graphics, tables, and video.
  • Multiple options for finding/uncovering information and insights. Of course, robust search is a given, but a decreasing number of professionals are inclined to search these days.  Consistent with the preferred workstyle of Millennials, some knowledge management systems now offer what might be called a “referral engine” (vs. a “search engine”) that directly sends users the targeted information they’re after.
  • AI-based machine learning capabilities to streamline competitive intelligence research. Some competitive intelligence portals are able to automatically summarize documents in a search result and distill insights from them to save users time; and recommend documents of interest for individuals based on their prior search behavior.  Such features enhance the user experience and accelerate time-to-insight.
  • A content distribution ecosystem. Having the ability to search for information is one thing; pushing strategic insights to people who need them to make timely business decisions is another. In what is rapidly becoming a browse-to-content world, competitive intelligence portal administrators need ways to proactively distribute content to users. Personal dashboards, newsletters, and email alerts all have proven effective; different tools should be mixed and matched to address the needs and preferences of various users.

These are just several of the attributes of competitive intelligence portals that, taken together, suggest they belong at the top of CI leaders’ investment priorities list for 2023, given the “resilience” and “market differentiation” mandates Forrester emphasizes in its strategic outlook for this year.

Please contact Northern Light for additional perspective on technology solutions to optimize your organization’s competitive intelligence function.

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