Reprinted from TrustedPeer
Meet the Expert
Managing Partner, Strategic Insights
- Co-founder of Strategic Insights, with more than 30 years of expertise in strategic intelligence, general management consulting and financial management.
- Has led numerous client engagements in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia focusing on strategy, market positioning, competitive intelligence, benchmarking, organizational effectiveness, and process improvement.
- Expertise spans multiple industries including: energy, franchising, financial services, health care, process manufacturing, consumer products, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications.
- Prior to co-founding Strategic Insights, was a Practice Leader for Business Intelligence Services at Kroll Associates and Citigate Global Intelligence.
- As the former president of BACK Management and Taylor & Company, helped clients improve their competitive positioning, exploit strategic advantages and identify potential merger and alliance candidates.
- At Cresap, a Towers Perrin Company, was a Vice President Global Practice leader.
- At the outset of his career, consulted on accounting systems, mergers and acquisitions and foreign business practices for U.S. and foreign clients at Arthur Young & Company (now Ernst & Young).
- Frequent conference leader and speaker for several industries and associations including: EXNET/Management Exchange, Edison Electric Institute, Planning Forum, United States Telephone Association, and American Management Association.
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The Mechanics of Competitive Intelligence
Managing Partner, Strategic Insights
- Companies fail to adequately protect their intellectual property rights in the U.S. and abroad.
- Free enterprise rests on the protection of intellectual property (IP) and it cannot function without it. With globalization, the challenge of protecting your company's IP has multiplied. There is a tendency to believe that this is a problem only for companies doing business in China. It's not just China. It is an issue on every continent.
Competitive intelligence allows companies to identify precisely where and how intellectual property has been infringed and to protect it through royalty payments, licensing agreements or other mechanisms. When IP is protected successfully, it discourages others from infringing upon your property. However, owning and protecting IP calls for eternal vigilance.
- Companies do not perform proper due diligence before engaging in mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships.
- The research says that as many as three-quarters of mergers and acquisitions do not realize their intended value. In many cases, the reasons are cultural and many of these cultural differences should come to light long before the deal is signed. In other cases, companies want to produce a product in an overseas plant, for example in Vietnam. Unfortunately, from a commercial standpoint the company knows little about Vietnam – good, bad, or indifferent.
Many firms simply do not perform adequate due diligence when engaging in major, strategic initiatives such as a merger or a new strategic partnership. They do not dedicate the resources necessary to dig deep and understand the context of their new partner or new acquisition.
- Many companies fail to substantiate their investments.
- A company wants to open up a new market for its products in three overseas countries. But do they conduct the research necessary to truly substantiate that investment before engaging an agent in the foreign markets?
Beyond drawing up a profile of the potential agent, many companies also need to broaden their research efforts to look carefully at the type of investment involved and to derive a realistic estimate of the return they can expect. This would appear to be obvious given the costs and risks entailed in opening up an entirely new market but, surprisingly, many companies do not commit sufficient resources to substantiating these investments.
- The failure to assess implementation risk prior to a major change is all too common.
- Qualifying and quantifying risk is difficult. It appears to ask decision makers to peer into a crystal ball and predict the future. However, many risks are predictable and their impact can be mitigated or substantially reduced with adroit planning.
But even when faced by major investments, such as building a new manufacturing facility overseas, the implementation risk is often left out of the equation. After making a decision, many companies fail to commit resources to creating an accurate, well-researched implementation risk profile that provides information that is clear and actionable should the predicted risk materialize.
- Companies are challenged to identify and measure the impact of competition.
- What would your track record be if you could get inside the minds of competitors? The reality is that many companies aren't doing enough to understand the competition and especially the basis on which they are making their decisions. There are legal, ethical ways to conduct competitive intelligence that are able to provide a measurable advantage in the marketplace.
Such competitive studies tend to focus on the tactics used by competitors (pricing, preferential delivery lead times, product bundling, etc.) and there relative effectiveness in a particular end-use or national market. Some of the same analytical techniques are also applied when a competitor changes tactics within a given market.
The Mechanics of Competitive Intelligence: Common Problems