Introduction (Toni Wilson)
We started CI Week on the FR365 blog with a description of what competitive intelligence is and what it is not, and we are closing the week with the same focus – understanding what CI is and the value it delivers for information professionals and organizations with goals to be future-ready. This blog post offers a graphic and practical description of how CI can be applied in real-world situations.
Picture this: You are stuck in a horror film – a typical B-movie situation that already has multiple people dead or missing. Do you want to go into the woods alone searching for a friend who has run off after a half-werewolf, half-robot-alien creature from the future has killed two of your other friends already? If only you knew something about the Were-Bot. Does it get full on two people or does it want to eat more? Does it sleep after eating? Perhaps it doesn’t like the taste of librarians. All of this information could help you choose a future path, action, or next step. It would be useful in this situation to have a Competitive Intelligence report on Were-Bots, and a librarian would be just the person to put it together. Whether your business is ladders or law, school or screwdrivers, knowing what your competitors are doing, the composition of your clients, or, like our B-movie situation, the eating habits of your enemies, is invaluable. The addition of this in-depth information can allow you to analyze yourself in relation to your partners within the company, and how, as a whole, you can relate to those outside. Competitive intelligence makes an organization future ready by researching, compiling, and analyzing information on THEM, and it is this information that allows the right choices to be made moving forward.
Charles H. Frey has been the Manager of Reference Services at Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP in Chicago for four years. He has been working in law firm libraries for 13 years and got his Library Science degree from the University of Kentucky.