Evaluation & Analysis Deliverables

Digitalization solution providers and software developers take full advantage of the evolving possibilities today. There are scores of solutions out there and they evolve all the time. This is where the scope and specifications from before are crucial.

A set of easy to use and easy to compare visualizations like spider web graphics and rating schemes should be designed and agreed upon at this stage. They should visualize and compare key specification and usability features.

 

Solutions short list

Simply a condensed and focused list of software solutions that remain in the race. At this point it should include cost structure and benefits that match the specification.

 

Interdependency map

There might be legacy systems or predecessor tools, technological and redundancy policies and prerequisites that all lend some dependencies to the new competitive intelligence system’s step and function.

In order to fully understand the interrelationship of surviving and replaceable systems and how they ‘talk’ with each other, data flow, formats and file configurations, a visual mapping can create the much needed transparency.

The more complex and fragmented the internal systems landscape, the more important this activity becomes and it might warrant to utilize a skilled IT expert who knows the IT processes and policies of all related systems inside-out.

 

Process mapping

Understanding and supporting decision making processes should be a core preparation when digitalizing competitive intelligence. This can not only make all gathering, analysis and dissemination activities more efficient. 

While evaluating and visualizing where signals, data and information flows through and how it should be used can significantly increase market and competitive awareness throughout the entire organization.

Start with a general agreement of key value actors along the intelligence process. This would establish a company-wide understanding and buy-in of the intelligence function’s responsibility and impact.

In a more detailed step and to make sure all decision makers are served well through the future competitive intelligence system, key business processes should be evaluated to identify their intelligence needs:

Needless to say, every one of those top level processes will have its own sub-processes that need to be understood and followed. Let’s look into the marketing process for instance and it’s tiered structure (see 2nd and 3rd level underneath 1.7. for instance):

  1. Marketing Process
    1. Marketing Strategy & Go-to-Market Planning
      1. .. 
    2. Marketing Communication & Campaigns 
      1. ..
    3. Brand Strategy, Protection & Management 
      1. ..
    4. Sales Support & Leads Management 
      1. ..
    5. Customer Focus & Customer Retention 
      1. ..
    6. Corporate Communications & Image 
      1. ..
    7. Marketing Function Performance & Impact
      1. Structure, Workflow & Alignment 
        1. Function Development Roadmap 
        2. Sales & Marketing Integration 
        3. Stakeholder Collaboration 
        4. Work Flow Evolution 
        5. Organizational Structure 
        6. Mission, Vision & Values 
        7. Knowledge Management 
      2. Talent & Career Management 
        1. Tasks & Skill Profiling 
        2. Internal & External Training 
        3. Job Descriptions 
        4. Career Path Management 
        5. Employee Retention & Talent Support 
        6. Compensation 
      3. Function Value & Performance Measurement 
        1. Marketing Returns 
        2. Marketing Metrics & ROI 
        3. Communications Channel Performance 
        4. Marketing Performance Dashboards

You can find a complete marketing process overview here.

This shows, that a proper process planning can be incredibly cumbersome and it all depends on a robust and intense collaboration between stakeholders and the project team.

The task and simple question for all these process reviews is this:

“Does decision making of this process step depend on external market data, competitive analysis or strategic insights?”.

If the answer is yes, the decision makers should be identified and included in the sources and content project track so they can clearly define their needs.

Failure to this crucial project step will result in an incomplete intelligence process, competing or lacking data, inefficiencies, duplicate spend and workload or worse: blindspots and sub-optimal, wrong or no decisions.

In short: competitive risks.

 

Feasibility Study

A more technical deliverable is the feasibility study made by the IT department and based on technical circumstances and policies that are known internally and also from the short-listed vendors.

This is not a hands-on testing but a clarification of all technical aspects to explore suitability both technically and in terms of the companies preferences.

For example, if the targeted competitive intelligence system required Microsoft Silverlight in the past (Microsoft discontinued Silverlight developments in 2013) for the user interface but the company did not support this technology, there was no use to integrate such a tool without a smooth and transparent migration process to a newer technology platform.



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Marketing EffectivenessMarketing Mix StrategyMarketing Strategy & PlanningCompetitive Positioning & DifferentiationCompetitive Landscape