Competitive Intelligence : keeping on existing


The observation of the French economic landscape leads to an undisputable fact: 75 % of firms disappear in the course of the 10 years following their creation.

At the root of this : an ignorance of their economic and human environment, which distorts social relations between the firm and this environment. A blockage of the development of the organization results from it. This is characterized by:

A focusing on the individual: the customer, the employee…

A fall on a territorial restrained space, judged, wrongly, safe : local, regional, national …

A chronological perception of time : the instant, 60 days as from the date of invoicing …

A hierarchic conception of the Company’s structure : direction speaks, people listen and do as they are told. Complex situations are splitted into a set of simple situations, resolutions of which appear simple as well.

The result is, the CEO only checks two indicators : his bank account and its order book.

But the arising of information and communication technologies are the ground of four revolutions :

A human revolution: communities have taken the place of individuals : on Internet, the individual belongs to one or several communities, within which he blooms or faints. Hence the emergence of the Community Manager.

A space revolution: the disapearance of distance and borders. The firm can find new partners (customers, purveyors, etc) in the other end of the planet, but the competitors from others area of the earth can invest the space wrongly considered as reassured.

A time revolution: events intervene at the same time. The CEO has a global vision of not only the company’s situation, but his economical environment. But he can also be in surcharge of data: in such situation, decisions and actions are paralysed.

A structure revolution: on Internet, since communities overtake the individuals, relations are symmetrical, or even holistic: « Everything is in everything, and vice versa ». It means that addition, modification or disappearing of an element of the environment affects positively and/or negatively this whole environment. And everybody speaks about everything to everybody at the same level, whatever their size.

Firms evolve therefore consequently in an economic environment made complex by globalization and inflation of the available data which it generates. In this context, two types of leaders appear: those who know (before the others?) and those who do not. Moreover, competitiveness of a firm assesses not so much on the marginal expense generated by production and sale of property or services but rather on innovation and the quality of provided service.

Keeping on existing means catching opportunities provided by the environment to develop. It is Competitive Intelligence’s first goal.

To this complexification of economical life is added a context of economic crisis. And when comes crisis, the customers become less likely to buy, which causes a fall of the business figure. The CEO is therefore compelled to decelerate his activity, or even to stop it completely. Unless he decides to spread his « hunting territory“. In this case, it will provide new customers who will allow the Company to keep up with its business figure and will tie new partnerships. But it will, as well, have to scrub himself to new competitors, eager to preserve their own market shares and their business figure.

Crisis therefore have a regulating function over the markets’ evolution : favouring those who draw opportunities and hintering those who consider it only to be a threat.

Keeping on existing means knowing how to deal with crisis as development opportunities. It is Competitive Intelligence’s second goal.

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