When in a work session with a client I refer to "company analysts", there are usually some raised eyebrows and people look as though they’re thinking "we don't have any here"...
Of course. No one has the title "Analyst" on their business card. Well... almost no one.
However, I have only to ask each person how long they spend on monitoring the environment and drawing conclusions.
Everyone invariably says more than 30 minutes a day. Some even almost two hours. Significant. If we add up that huge amount of time, we see that it is much more than is spent on Quality management (which does appear on some business cards).
While there is a structure of the Quality function in companies, there are still organizations where there is no structured Competitive Intelligence function. A flow of information to facilitate the channelling of information "bottom-up", which filters information is missing. Or even which operates only at departmental level.
That information must be filtered up to management depending on its relevance to the entire organization, so it will support decision-making with an increasingly corporate scope.
As mentioned in Le Concert, the Competitive Intelligence function evolves towards taking advantage of internal knowledge in the company. Experts in each of its fields (purchasing, laboratory, marketing,...) are the ones who watch over their area of knowledge (materials, technology, competitors, trends...). They are the ones who can actually identify what can have a potential impact on company strategy or tactics.
And we are all the company "expert" in our position. That is why we are there. To push the company sales, the quality of the team, the technology that we use... Therefore, each and every one of us is an analyst. In practice, or potentially (and in this case, what are we waiting for?).
One of the most common comments is that it is very difficult to structure information and channel it upwards, so that it is taken into account in the decision-making process by management. This is already possible not only to facilitate it, but even to automate it, thanks to the new Competitive Intelligence solutions.
Thus, we can concentrate on being good analysts, and obviate the problem of "What can I do for them to take notice of what has fallen into my hands". Recent technology helps us to do so.
Let’s contribute with our expert knowledge to a better decision making process. In our individual sphere of performance, in our Department, or at corporate-level. As in Murder on the Orient Express, in one way or another everyone is involved.
And sorry for the spoiler.
(Murder on the Orient Express is a film by Sidney Lumet, 1974, based on the novel by Agatha Christie)
By Miguel Borrás
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