Since I was a child, I have always wondered why the Dumas novel was called "The Three Musketeers”, when there were actually four musketeers, and the fourth one was actually the protagonist in the story.
In the same way, I wonder why the star trio “Strategy, Innovation and Operations” doesn’t include Competitive Intelligence, which actually significantly reinforces the other three and usually makes them orbit around it.
Strategy and Innovation should remain closely linked to one another as we already saw in The Cloud Atlas post. On the other hand, Innovation, apart from offering new methods and new products to Operations, may serve an Innovation process operated by the User (As we already discussed in the post Lost In Translation).
To close the loop, Strategy is typically the origin of the design of Operations, the result of which confirms the validity of the Strategy.
So far, this is acceptable. But, where is competitive intelligence? It is in the middle, like D'Artagnan in the novel written by Dumas, simultaneously connected with the fabric of the company.
Usually we bear in mind that Competitive Intelligence must contribute Technology Watch content to Innovation projects, given that innovation must take state of the art into account which is ever changing. But Competitive Intelligence must also support the other key functions of the company: Strategy and Operations.
There is nothing more important for the Sales Department than knowing what a customer is interested in, knowing what competitors are doing, where there are opportunities and where threats arise. This is information that the Intelligence Function can provide immediately, partly automatically if we use a platform that understands our business and monitors for us.
Furthermore, however, the company Strategy is simply a path that heads towards a future scenario that we want to reach, and so Competitive Intelligence becomes a tool of universal value in this case. Competitive Intelligence Automation allows us to come up with a number of hypothesis and gather information on what’s happening around us. In this sense, we can start building on or ruling out those future scenarios depending on where we think we’re heading, and redesign a Strategy that actually fits in with the reality of a changing environment.
Therefore, we have three main functions - Strategy, Innovation and Operations, and a fourth which reinforces all of them: Competitive Intelligence.
All for one, and one for all.
By Miguel Borrás
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The opinions of the authors reflect their own views, and not those of the company.