Bottom Line Competitive Intelligence

Article excerpt

Bottom Line Competitive Intelligence John J. McGonagle and Carolyn M. Vella Quorum Books (2002) 230 pages, hardcover, $59.95

Reviewed by: Sue S. Stalcup, ManagersAdvantage.com

Synopsis

Competitive Intelligence (CI) uses publicly available data and transforms it through analysis into information useful to improve performance. The premise of Bottom Line Competitive Intelligence is that, although most organizations understand the value of CI, they do not know the most effective methods for gathering the correct data. The book focuses on helping the reader understand the broad differences in available intelligence. Once the reader understands those concepts, he or she will be better able to choose the appropriate measures (or metrics) that should apply to then- own intelligence operations.

The authors divide CI into two types: active and defensive. The authors posit that there are four types of active CI that an organization might choose to access or focus on: 1. strategy-oriented, 2. target-oriented, 3. tactics-oriented, and 4. technology-oriented. Although each of these divisions has elements in common, each also has significant differences from the others. Because of the differences, it is critical to understand which types of CI are needed by a particular business at any specific point in time, hi support of mat, the authors have developed a method, indirectly based on the concepts included in Michael Porter's classic forces model, to help CI professionals determine which types of CI are needed for their organization in a particular situation. The authors divide the book into three parts as follows: Part I Overview, Part II Active Competitive Intelligence, and Part III Defensive Competitive Intelligence and provide useful chapters in Parts II and III that help the reader choose the right measurements for Active and Defensive CI.

Readability

Seven (7) on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 requires intense concentration. Parts of the book are skimable. However, other parts require some focused concentration in order to understand the nuances being discussed.

Although the authors do not see the book as a basic primer on CI, preexisting knowledge is not necessary in order to read and understand the concepts being presented. …