Taming the Beast – How to Build and Maintain a Large Scale Market Intelligence System?

Building a corporate wide Competitive Intelligence system for a large organization can be a daunting task and should be planned carefully. However, when executed properly you can significantly increase your ROI.

Single instance that serves all business areas enables collaboration between business areas.

The key goal of any MI system is to get the right information to the right people at the right time, and to accomplish that a corporate wide MI system must 1) be complex enough to cover all key functions and business areas but at the same time 2) be simple enough to be easily managed & navigated. The sweet spot is different for every organization, but the core capabilities & typical solutions tend to be similar.

Sometimes the right answer is to run a single instance where all users can collaborate, sometimes it makes more sense to create multiple instances that are optimized for certain user groups or business areas but may still share interest in partially the same information.

Having multiple independent instances adds a layer of complexity to the overall setup and often especially to information production, but also helps optimize end user experience.

Consider these 7 things before you kick off your project:

1. Do different user groups see the competitive landscape the same way or are there conflicting views?

A conflicting view might mean one unit sees a company as a supplier, another as a competitor. Consider how this impacts the taxonomy and the way you will need to communicate with different user groups.

2. Do users often need access to the same type of information or could a central database create a lot of noise?

Serving a wide range of users with different information needs means more data, which has an impact on information discovery. Consider how users will find the information they need, and how they are able to filter out the most valuable nuggets of information.

3. Does your MI system support role based access controls, and can you restrict access to certain types of information based on roles / user groups?

Role based access controls are important for security, but can also be extremely useful in making sure the users only see content that is relevant to them as it gives you full top-down control over what the users see.

4. Does your MI system allow users to personalize their experience so that they can reduce noise and focus on what they need?

The top-down approach of limiting access gives you central control over who sees what, but make sure you can also allow users to control the views, reports and automated alerts they need.

5. Is your MI system capable of managing large amounts of data and have the flexibility to connect to required data sources?

As the system is expanded to cover more users and more information needs and the database grows, the system must still be capable of gathering information from your data sources and delivering the right information at the right time to the end users.

6. Is your organization technically fully integrated?

If all user groups do not have access to the same services, this may have an impact on your ability to launch a system that serves all user groups. For example, setting up single sign-on can have a big positive impact on usage & administration, but SSO requires that all users of the organization have access to these essential network services.

7. Finally, do you have the resources to serve all end user groups at the same level?

In the end, content is king and building the system is only the first step. The value of a highly targeted structure quickly fails if the content is not there.

Image: Unsplash


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