How to Assess the Quality and Value of Your Competitive Intelligence Data - dummies

How to Assess the Quality and Value of Your Competitive Intelligence Data

By James D. Underwood

When you have some information to work with, you’re ready to begin the analysis process in competitive intelligence. The first step is to evaluate what you have, determine whether your information has sufficient quality and value. If you have enough high-quality data, you’re ready to input that data into your system. If you don’t have enough high-quality info, you need to circle back to gather appropriate information.

How to measure quality of competitive intelligence data

Depth and clarity are relative terms and difficult to quantify. One way to test for depth and clarity is to ask the following two important test questions regarding each source:

  • Does the source demonstrate a depth of knowledge related to the topic? If the source seems to merely skim the surface, you may need to rely on other sources to plunge the depths.

  • Does the source demonstrate a reasonable knowledge of the key issues and nuances related to the topic? Comparing sources on a topic provides a pretty good indication of which sources pay attention to details and present a clear picture.

Another way to test for depth and clarity is to use the information you have to craft your own white paper (authoritative report) on the topic. Through the writing process, you discover the quality of the information you have and any gaps — information that’s missing but required to complete the paper.

Nobody has a magic formula for assessing depth and clarity of information. As you conduct your research, you discover different layers of information, each of which helps to evaluate other sources. You may need to eliminate some sources and explore new ones as you work toward developing a comprehensive picture of the issue you’re investigating.

How to measure value of competitive intelligence data

If you watch any stocks, you’ve probably heard experts mention that a future event “has already been priced into the market.” In other words, knowledge of that event has a specific value that investors account for when buying shares. The same is true of competitive intelligence — information has value, and some information is more valuable than other information.

To get a general idea of the value of a certain piece of information, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does it mean?

  • What’s significant about this information?

  • Can it help us sell more product, develop a new product, or implement a change that improves efficiency?

  • Can it help us avoid a costly mistake?

  • What are the potential ramifications on the future of our business?

As you ask and answer these questions, you can begin to assign a value to the information:

  • Low or no value: The information applies to an issue that’s no longer relevant.

  • Medium value: The information can improve the organization, boost profits, or cut costs in some way that’s worth investigating further.

  • High value: Acting on the information is critical for the future success — and possibly even the future existence of your organization — or a significant opportunity exists to boost profits or slash the costs of doing business.

  • Potential value: The information points to something promising, but you need to watch the issue and gather further intelligence over time until the fog of ambiguity clears.

Whatever you deem the value of the information, you now have some idea of what to do with it: Act on it, file it for later consideration, or dump it.