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Discern Between the Story and the Truth

by Scot Kim  |  December 3, 2019  |  Submit a Comment

A good competitive intelligence officer should be able to discern between the story and the truth.  The most important skill that a competitive intelligence analyst and/or officer should have is always be inquisitive regarding the competitor’s product.  Many times, the competition will market-specific features and functionalities that may not be entirely true when looking under the hood from a technical perspective.

There is always a “side” of how the truth is being articulated.  Case-in-point, when I worked for a storage company, one of our competitors advocated an “active-active” storage array.  However, when looking at the technical specifications, it really was an “Active-Passive” storage array.  From a technical perspective, the secondary storage array was receiving “rolling” snapshot copies from the active storage array.  So, in essence, the secondary storage array has a “copy” version of the primary storage array.  This particular competitor claimed this to be an active-active storage solution.

The competitive team pointed this out and product marketing was able to articulate what a true “active-active” storage solution would look like.  With active copying between the two primary and secondary arrays.  If an unexperienced competitive analyst took the competitor’s marketing story on face-value, this would have been a big miss.  So how do you avoid making this major pas?

Here are 3 steps to take:

  • Always question what the marketing story tells you.  If it says it can do something, question how it does it.
  • Begin educating yourself about how this particular feature can do the function or task?  Look at technical documentation to figure out how it is performed.
  • Communicate and collaborate with different SME to ascertain the true origin of how a particular feature is worked.

By following these three steps, will help you identify the truth from the story.

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Tags: competitive-intelligence  the-story-vs-the-truth  

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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