Chapter 2

Analytical Tools for Competitive Intelligence: from Data Collection to Data Processing1

2.1. Introduction

Competitive intelligence (CI) emerged as a response to the upheavals caused by the global environment on our society. In an increasingly complex and fast-moving economy, companies must be able to develop new knowledge to maintain levels of innovation and gain a competitive advantage [OUB 05]. In addition to this, the use of information and communications technology (ITC) has introduced new constraints to which businesses must adapt to survive: a continuous flow of information, considerably faster circulation of information, and evermore complex techniques (it is more and more difficult to rapidly master new software) [COL 97]. There is a risk of “drowning” in this information, of losing the ability to distinguish between the essential and the superfluous. With the emergence of the new market-dominated economy, the industrial issues facing businesses have increased considerably in complexity. Now, to remain competitive, a business must be able to manage its intangible assets. CI is an approach and an organizational process that allows a company to be more competitive, through surveillance of the environment and of external changes alongside self-evaluation of internal changes.

In 2000, 6 years after the canonical definition put forward by Martre [MAR 94], the borders of the notion of CI were still unstable [SAL 00]. Over the last few years, more and more definitions ...

Get Competitive Intelligence and Decision Problems now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.