COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE: help your business compete
Prof. Jonathan Calof delivered a compact course on Competitive Intelligence from November, 26, till December, 12 to 1st year students. He introduced Competitive Intelligence as theoretical and practical concept for the company’s strategy formulation.
Students learned how intelligence is designed as a process of monitoring the environment and analyzing the findings in the context of internal issues, for the purpose of decision support. The classes by Prof. Calof gave students an understanding of Competitive Intelligence as a practice that enables senior managers in companies of all sizes to make more informed decisions about everything from marketing, R&D, and investing tactics to long-term business strategies. Full range of topics such as analytical techniques used in the area of Competitive Intelligence, profiling tools and strategy analysis were discussed during the course. The classes were highly interactive involving different case study which helped students not only to better understand the course materials but also to improve practical skills by working in groups.
We were introduced to the concept of a strategy as the concrete expression of how an organization intends to compete and win in its marketplace. We considered what constitutes a strategy of a firm and applied our knowledge while analyzing strategies of two leading coffee shop companies – Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. We also discussed the successful decisions and failures of these enterprises and the reasons behind them. Finally, we filled in the competitive intelligence questionnaire designed by J. Calof which highlighted the main aspects of the competitive intelligence process. The focus was on the most prevalent myths around competitive intelligence. And we also watched and discussed a video of entrepreneurs’ feedback about the implementation of CI techniques and how they significantly improved their businesses.
The process of designing a competitive intelligence project was of great interest. We discussed several samples of CI projects and then presented our own ones. While devising our CI plan we concentrated on the definition of KIT (key intelligence topics) – information that is necessary to gather in order to make correct decisions.
The war gaming we had – we were divided into groups to work with Electrohome case. In this assignment, we had to think about the situation on the projector’s market and predict the moves of competitors: Sony, Barco, and Electrohome. At the end of our session, we thought about our own recommendations for companies based on previously made firms’ profiles.
Working in groups students needed to make a recommendation to Electrohome company using Porter's four corners technique and home readings thus making the profile of Electrohome’s competitors and formulating Electrohome’s strategy. The first part of the class was based on the discussion of analytical techniques and the articles from home reading, the second part of the class proceeded with the case study.
Students were asked to come prepared for the discussion of similarities and differences between analytics, foresight and competitive intelligence based on the articles read at home. At the end of the class, students were also able to share the main insights and key learnings from taking CI course as well as to provide recommendations for the Competitive Intelligence course plan.
Dr. Calof combines research and consulting in competitive intelligence, technical foresight and business analytics to help organizations develop key insights on their competitive environment. Jonathan has given over 1000 speeches, seminars, and keynote addresses around the world on intelligence, foresight, and analytics and has helped several companies and government agencies around the world enhance their capabilities on these areas.
The article prepared by:
1st year students of the Master's Programme