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Are Competitive Intelligence SaaS Tools Worth the Money?

by Scot Kim  |  October 29, 2019  |  Submit a Comment

Competitive intelligence is a type of profession that does not sleep.  I recall being a CI analyst for some of the largest technology and service providers and I would work round-the-clock to make sure that I am always in the “know” when it comes to the latest on our competitors.  This can be exhausting due to the tsunami of data we have available on our computer screens today.  There is so much noise out there with social media, opinion writers and bloggers that finding credible and/or useful competitive data points can be more of a hassle than what it was in the past.  As example, people who emotionally post texts instantaneously on social media and later regret it, competitive intelligence analysts are experiencing similar behavior.  CI analysts are starting to get lazy in vetting out the competitive data that was found within the confines of the internet and unfortunately informing decision-makers to making bad decisions.  So how does the CI community mitigate this problem?

Well, many SaaS-based competitive intelligence tools are springing up the last 5 years.  Are these tools worth the money?  The answer is not quite simple.  This has been my experience with CI SaaS tools.  They do a great job aggregating data but do a lousy job sifting the good vs the bad.  Some form of manual intervention must take place.  Now can these SaaS-based CI tools incorporate AI and “smart” algorithms to sift out the good vs the bad competitive data points?  Well, yes but this is more aspirational for these tech companies.  CI tool companies have not pushed the envelope when it comes to having real-time, smart, and automated competitive intelligence when it comes to finding credible and actionable insights.

In a perfect world, couldn’t develop an analytics application that not only can sift through all of the data in the open web regarding a competitor, but also can triangulate, and pinpoint credible and good competitive data points.  Furthermore, can’t these intelligence applications act like intelligent bots where it can collect a large treasure trove of creditable competitive data and begin to hypothesize the competitor’s next moves?  If a CI SaaS that can do all of this, then ultimately the CI analysts do not have to spend all of he/she’s time data mining and scrubbing the data but can focus on informing senior management with sound competitive intelligence insights.

So is it worth spending money on a CI SaaS tool, the answer may not be so easy?

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Tags: ai  ci-saas-tools  competitive-intelligence  

Scot Kim
Senior Research Director
1 years at Gartner
25 years IT Industry

Scot Kim is a member of the Technology and Service Provider research organization. Mr. Kim provides research and advisory services to clients that are in need of performing competitive analysis for all departments like product management, engineering, product marketing, solutions marketing, and sales. Read Full Bio




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