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December 20, 2010 / Heath Gross

Competitive Intelligence

Wikipedia Definition
A broad definition of competitive intelligence is the action of defining, gathering, analyzing, and distributing intelligence about products, customers, competitors and any aspect of the environment needed to support executives and managers in making strategic decisions for an organization.

A more focused definition of CI regards it as the organizational function responsible for the early identification of risks and opportunities in the market before they become obvious. Experts also call this process the early signal analysis. This definition focuses attention on the difference between dissemination of widely available factual information (such as market statistics, financial reports, newspaper clippings) performed by functions such as libraries and information centers, and competitive intelligence which is a perspective on developments and events aimed at yielding a competitive edge.

My Definition
Competitive Intelligence (CI) is intelligence that is specifically adapted to the commercial world. It is a systematic, ongoing business process to ethically and legally gather intelligence on targets such as customers, competitors, personnel, technologies, and the total business environment. (I can’t claim total credit for this definition, I have used it for some time and modified it over the years. I like it because it is concise and to the point)

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