Controversies in Competitive Intelligence: The Enduring Issues

By Craig S.Fleisher; David L.Blenkhorn | Go to book overview

chapter fifteen

Why Do So Many Firms Fail at Competitive Intelligence?

KESTRA SELF


Introduction

With its relatively recent emergence onto the business scene, competitive intelligence (CI) has quickly become one of the fastest-growing professions in North America and a widely accepted norm within many corporations (Gilad and Smith 1998). The function of the CI team is to gather and analyze information that will provide invaluable insight and knowledge to corporate scenario planners. CI is thus considered by many managerial decision-makers to be critical in acquiring and sustaining competitive advantage.

Even with CI's wide acceptance and proven proficiency, CI efforts in many organizations seem to fall short of objectives at a dissatisfying rate (Bernhardt 1999). The function of CI is to provide accurate, relevant, unbiased, and timely intelligence of critical threats facing the organization (Bernhardt 1999). Unless this information is utilized properly however, its aggregation and dissemination become little more than wasted resources. Table 15.1 outlines several factors that commonly contribute to CI failure.

Perhaps the most important questions to consider when trying to decipher the reasons behind CI failure within an organization are: “How well do the corporate CI policies fit within the context of the organization?” “Are these CI policies congruent with what the firm is trying to achieve?” (Baron and Kreps 1999), and “Are the individual pieces of the

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