Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

An Overview of Information Tools and Technologies for Competitive Intelligence Building: Theoretical Approach

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

An Overview of Information Tools and Technologies for Competitive Intelligence Building: Theoretical Approach

Article excerpt


The source of organization's power has shifted from land, finance and capital to intangible resources (Herschel & Jones, 2005; McGonagle & Vella, 2002; Moss & Atre, 2003; Negash & Gray, 2008). The organizations are governed by information, knowledge, intelligence and wisdom (Liautaud & Hammond, 2002; Davenport & Harris, 2007; Wixom & Watson, 2010). The competitive advantage is based not only on products and finance, but also on intelligence, technology, software, education and culture. Resource-based View (RBV), a well-known theory of strategy argues that organizations with valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable resources have the potential of achieving superior performance (Barney, 1995). In an extended approach of RBV resources implies intangible categories including organizational, human and networks (Ahn & York, 2011). This knowledge-based resource approach of RBV encourages organizations to obtain, access, and maintain intangible endowments because these resources are the ways in which firms combine and transform tangible input resources and assets (Wiklundi & Shephered, 2003). Furthermore, intangible resources are more causally ambiguous and less observable than tangible resources; therefore, it is not easy for competitors to duplicate. To provide sustainable competitive advantage, resources should be (Cosic, Shanks, & Maynard, 2012): valuable (enable an organization to implement a value-creating strategy), rare (are in short supply), inimitable (cannot be perfectly duplicated by rivals), non-substitutable (cannot be countered by a competitor with a substitute).

Business Intelligence (BI) and Competitive Intelligence (CI), the significant research areas in the domain of management information systems, are well grounded in resource-based view theory. BI and CI are focused on the collecting, integrating, analyzing and sharing data that come from different, heterogonous, dispersed sources (Albescu, Pugna, & Paraschiv, 2008; Baaras & Kemper, 2008; Chung, Chen, & Nunamaker, 2005; Venter & Tustin, 2009). What's more, they do not focus exclusively on technology and applications, but also the on the business context and decision-making (Davenport & Harris, 2007; Olszak, 2013). It is worth mentioning, that BI and CI seem to be recognized by many organizations as a valuable tool to reach strategic goals, increase profitability, improve customer satisfaction and ensure regulatory compliance (Howson, 2008; Olszak & Ziemba, 2012; Weiss, 2002; Williams & Williams, 2007; Wixom & Watson, 2010). In this respect, study of BI and CI is highly necessary (Chen, Chiang & Storey, 2012; Clavier, Lotriet & Loggerenberger, 2012; Ishikawa & Nakagawa, 2013). It enriches RBV theory providing new methods and techniques for better and effective management of intangible resources.

Last time the more attention is paid to CI (Teo & Choo, 2001; Venter & Tustin, 2009). CI is usually treated as a subset of BI, providing a balanced picture of the environment to the decision makers (Sauter, 2010). It is believed that CI is a vital tool for guaranteeing victory in a particular market competition (Karim, 2011; Schick, Frolick, & Ariyachandra, 2011).

Although, the idea of CI has been explored for many years, unfortunately the investigations on different information tools and technologies for CI building are only partly addressed by any existing research. The studies are rather rare, fragmentary and do not describe in a comprehensive way the possibilities offered by different information tools for CI building.

The main purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the issue of CI and to explore various information tools and technologies for CI building. This paper will answer the following question: What information tools and technologies should be used to build CI?

The structure of this paper is organized as follows. …

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