The process involves a few basics. Here is an overview of the steps needed to complete the competitive intelligence process:
- Essential information. First, you will need to decide which information you will need to gather. This will help you take a more detailed approach and prevent you from gathering data that is unnecessary.
- Organize the data. Once you begin collecting the information, you will need to implement a way to organize it. Without an effective system, the process could take a lot longer than is necessary. This is also important if there are multiple people involved with the process.
- Analyze the data. This is probably the most important step of the whole process. Once you actually retrieve and organize the data, you will need to study and analyze it. What you are looking for are any trends and patterns that can be relevant to your business’s growth and success.
- Create reports. Once the data is analyzed, the information needs to be shared with different decision makers within the company. If you are the sole owner and decision maker, you won’t need to inform anyone of your findings. In this case, create reports so you can view them when you need to make decisions or further analyses.
- Create a system for evaluation. This step is important especially if you either outsource your competitive analysis process or have a group within your company perform the duties. They will need feedback as to whether or not the decision maker, owner, and/or CEO of the company found the information that was collected and analyzed useful or not. This will help them understand which information is really valuable to the company.