We live in a world driven by hyper-competition where the supply of businesses exceeds the demand. In order for an organisation to survive in such an aggressively competitive environment, a better understanding of its competition and competitive forces that affect its success is required. Companies should know how to remain competitive and how to anticipate and react to changes inside and outside of their industries. In order to manage such an achievement firms should have a process in place for turning data into actionable intelligence, from which strategic and tactical decisions can derive.
Competitive Intelligence (CI) is often defined as knowledge and foreknowledge about the external operating environment of the organization. The purpose of CI is to facilitate proactive decision-making by producing the needed business information into actionable form and making it available at the right time. The orientation and utilization of CI is tactical and to some extent strategic.
Strategic Intelligence is a type of Competitive Intelligence produced for strategic purposes. Customers of SI include individuals involved in strategic decision-making. From the process perspective, Strategic Intelligence can be seen as a part of Competitive Intelligence as it is also a systematic and continuous process with a purpose to facilitate decision-making with needed and timely intelligence input delivered in actionable form.
Figure 1. The process of intelligence
The major difference between SI and CI is that SI actions focus strictly on supporting strategic decision-making by monitoring aspects with strategic significance.
Users of SI are primarily individuals involved in strategy development. Additionally, a SI time horizon is broad and the focus is on all significant events: past, present and future events. In short, Strategic Intelligence can be defined as:
“A systematic and continuous process of producing needed intelligence of strategic value in an actionable form to facilitate long-term decision-making