Competitive intelligence means different things to different people, even within the same company. It requires a definition specific to your firm, your people, your budget and your goals and your product and market maturity. It runs the gamut from anecdotal evidence to detailed feature, function, performance discovery sessions run by engineers and expert users. Sometimes these are run by specialized “clandestine” consulting labs, so as to avoid association with the company seeking the competitive intelligence.
Most high tech companies rely on the tacit assumption: “build it and they will come”. The initial insight of what to build and why build it is often spot on. It comes from years of in market experience, evaluation of alternatives at the time, and the emerging conviction to build something new and better. [competitive x market intelligence]. What is not realized, is that other people can have the same intuition, and come at the problem from different angles, and build equally productive teams. The projection of uniqueness is a common human perceptual trait. It all starts when our parents said “you are special”, and of course there some evolutionary bases to individuals believing they are unique, powerful and strong. Entrepreneurs have positive habit of projecting those attributes from people to their own products to markets and ultimately to company success. It’s the evidence discovered, generated, used internally, and shared externally along that path and the way it’s used that can make a big difference.