In today’s fast changing / global business environment, competitive intelligence strategy (CIS) is playing a favourable role at every stage in the organization and has significance presence in the pharmaceutical industry. Competitive Intelligence (CI), is the process of compiling, analyzing intelligence focusing on competitor products, customers, market environment, and really a efficient method in mapping or knowing the strategy of a competitor on products/services. In simple terms “CI” is a process which gives perceptivities into what might happen in the near future. This process involves stages from data to information to intelligence. Intelligence differs from data and information since it requires some form of analysis. The purpose of this analysis is to derive some meaning from the gathered data and information. The CI analysis, filtering of the data and information helps one to act on it and understand the options, giving an opportunity to make way forward decisions.
Common goals of CI:
- Detecting competitive threats
- Eliminating or lessening surprises
- Enhancing competitive advantage by lessening reaction time
- Finding new opportunities
- Competitive Intelligence is not industrial espionage
- All information is gained through public sources
- CI professionals do not engage in pretexting to obtain information about rivals
- The Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals’ code of ethics states members must:
- Accurately disclose all relevant information, including one’s identity and organization, prior to all interviews
- Comply with all applicable laws, domestic and international
- Avoid conflicts of interest in fulfilling one’s duties
The General objectives of a Competitive Intelligence:
The objective of CI is not to steal a competitor’s business secrets, any other proprietary property, how ever, rather to gather in a systematic, legal manner a wide range of information that when collated and analyzed provides a fuller understanding of a competitor’s structure, behavior, capabilities and their weaknesses.
The Good CI practices in a company may be expressed by the 6 R’s:
The Right information, at the Right time, in the Right place, delivered the Right way, by the Right contact to the Right person. Good corporate CI is the “radar” of a any company, it is utilized to anticipate and identify:
- Product/market/demographic changes
- Activities of competitors, regulatory agencies, customers and etc
- Find out Industry trends
- Provides Acquisition targets, hostile takeovers
- Easily understands the Industry threats and further changes
- Critical factors in bids, proposals and sales tactics
- Entry strategies and marketing plans of competitors
For CI to have the most value in a corporation, it must be integrated into the highest level of executive responsibility and be part of a continuous cycle of data collection, collation, analysis, action and reevaluation.
The few steps of the Competitive Intelligence Cycle that includes are:
- Planning of research in priority subject areas.
- Data collection from a variety of primary and secondary sources
- Data analysis to extract trends, make projections and confirm strategies of competitors
- Executive strategies formulated based on definition of the business environment
- Appropriate corporate tactical action
- Information feedback, further data gathering, analysis and further execution of refined plan
Why Competitive Intelligence is required for the Industry?
- Identifies the various sources for best practices to achieve industrial goals
- Helps in uncovering the latest trends driving the life science segment
- To Identifying increased trends such as mergers and acquisitions and their impact on the industry and in the market
- Isolates performance gaps in relation to the competition.
- Identifies areas for improvement, risks and opportunities.
- For addressing the threat of patents expirations, dry drug pipelines, and strategies / planing of drug manufacturers/innovators are adopting to overcome raised/raising hurdles
- Assessing current, future challenges and forecasting trends for the industry
- Helps for companies to anticipate external threats, challenges and opportunities in a timely manner so companies can make out preventive solutions and strategical plans to succeed
- It help for Research & Development needs to stay abreast of competitors by developing products and services.
- Makes easy life to Marketing team as CI brings insights of competitors offerings, customer lists and their price points.
- Provides insights to drive new customers, new markets and also effective inputs to upside potentials of medicines.
To conclude, Competitive (Market) Insights/Intelligence has an important role to play in the industry strategy development. It is a activity that has negative images of deception spying or unethical practices, how ever, is one that if done in well manner, can have a Influencing strategic impact with in the industry.