The purpose of the paper is to point out how little competitors matter for companies' long‐term success, how little support executives receive with intelligence that does matter, and to offer a different solution.
The paper uses numerous examples of competitive failures and success that point out the limits of competitors' impact on a company's performance. It covers the theory of strategic positioning and industry change drivers and provides a practical definition of strategic intelligence.
Competitors do not matter to executives; “competitive intelligence” has been misinterpreted as competitor‐watching and has therefore had no real value to executives, and companies leave their executives vulnerable to disastrous blindsiding.
Companies should and could markedly improve their intelligence support of top executives, but need to rethink their whole approach to competitive intelligence. Companies can also significantly improve the way they monitor the competitive environment by redirecting their efforts.
Executives are short changed by their organizations' own processes of closely watching competitors. For the first time, this paper exposes the myth that competitive intelligence – as practised by more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500 – has value for executives and offers a unique approach to improving companies' strategic intelligence capability.
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