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Competitive Intelligence Process Published: Wednesday, July 1, 1998 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

As we move forward from the Information to the Intelligence Age, success will come to those societies and organizations that build a knowledge base about their competitive environment and stress strategic thinking to keep it continuously actualized. Organizations of all kinds will require the contributions of knowledge strategists acting as pump and filter, forcing the flow of knowledge through bottlenecks in the pipeline until reaches its proper destination, the actionable decision - power center. The design task is for linking competitive intelligence and strategic management.

One of the many delicate angles relates to the continuous monitoring of stakeholder actions and options, signifying that the strategist must monitor the thinking of internal stakeholders (senior executives and decision - makers within the organization) and external stakeholders (investors, customers, regulatory bodies and market leaders). The organizational strategist must understand senior management's thinking processes, researching how they have made past and current decisions. Another key dimension relates to galvanizing frequent recommendations for changes in strategies and tactics. The organizational strategist should work in partnership with senior executives and managers, helping them to learn new theories and working with new blocks of knowledge as a team. The strategist must learn also how to think more like a senior manager. At the same time, executives must develop an appreciation of the role and value of the strategist. This partnering relationship will be built on an incremental basis.

The internal and external environments are always changing. Internally, managers will have to work to flexibilize the organization, revamp products and services, incorporate technologies and become more competitive. Externally, markets are shifting with the changing needs of customers. As a result, constant mental and organizational reengineering is an imperative. Mental and institutional processes need to change as condition change. In order to further energize this process is desirable to build considerable institutional tension for best decisions and policies outcomes. Also it is necessary to avoid paralysis by analysis. Savvy business leaders consider soft information to be the best. Published information and public databases, and general studies provide only about 10 percent of the intelligence value they urgently need. Thus, the focus should always be on perspective and not on full proof precision. By allowing key success factors to drive the strategic process, the strategic thinkers focus on the things that are most important to management, the 20 percent of information and analysis that will yield 80 percent of the value. The emphasis should be on primary information sources. The structuring of results should be based on internal customer needs. In order to do this kind of comprehensive intelligence gathering and strategic diligency a highly decentralized approach has to be crystallized.

The whole idea is to avoid unpleasant surprises in the marketplace and allow the organization to capitalize on opportunities and minimize threats. Again, it is important to focus on key success factors and support much more timely decision and policy-making. In the intelligence age, organizations must truly become knowledge B oriented learning entities and more systematic in these processes.

 


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