Managing Global Strategy Through Competitive Intelligence Practices Commerce Essay


Globalisation is a complex phenomenon that have been swept by the winds of reform. The changing dynamics of the business environment has made leading difficult and organizations today are finding out ways to link future with a well defined strategy. In Indian economy the situation of is just so reverse, organizations need to develop the look of leadership. Organizations need to redefine their style of working and be more open and transparent in strategy and innovation. The main objective of this paper is to advocate the prophecy of Strategic Management to develop benchmarking strategies and realize the importance of Competitive Intelligence (CI) especially in an economy like India.

This paper gives a clear insight on the usefulness of these two subjects and how their knowledge and application can transform the face of our economy globally. Information in India is not given much importance therefore both Strategic Management and Competitive Intelligence is misunderstood. Strategy is always devised and constructed on the basis of data which is source of information but the problem lie in our own system not the economy, our own statistical machinery is at fault and is burdened and overloaded with vested interests. Competitive Intelligence is the ethical process of gathering information to be able to transform it into actionable intelligence.

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The premise of this paper is to advocate the importance of the Competitive Intelligence as a practice. It is high time organizations realize the importance of it as both organization and its strategy go hand in hand and its practical implementation in organizations will not only help these organizations in achieving competitive advantage but also Sustainable Development in the economic perspective. Innovation is the need of the hour "Globalize or Perish" and our economy needs to revive itself by the mere application and implementation of the niche discipline. I truly believe that there should be an introduction of a formal training program at a MBA or Post Graduate level so that our youth of today can be future torch bearers of economic prosperity and sustained business growth.

Keywords: Strategic management, Benchmarking, sustainable Development, Transformational Leadership, Competitive Intelligence

Objective of the study

To study the importance of Competitive Intelligence in strategic decision making and planning, extrapolate ways in finding out how CI can help the Indian economy towards sustainable business growth.

To study the various approaches of these two broad subjects(Competitive Intelligence and Strategic Management) in the light of Innovation. Advocating it as tool of Strategic innovation and not a tool for corporate spying or rather Industrial Espionage.

To advocate the introduction of combination of Competitive Intelligence and Strategic Management at MBA and Post graduate level through formal training program.

Limitations of the study

To highlight that this research is not meant for immediate application and implementation in organizations and is just to provide the readers the insight on the usefulness of the CI in SM.

This study is just to highlight that our Indian economy can benefit in terms of productivity, income growth and managerial effectiveness through the immediate realization of the subject of Competitive Intelligence and Strategic Management but does not totally and mandatorily advocate that this study is the ultimate indicator of transformational leadership development, there are lot many factors apart from these.

Literature Review

"Achieving competitive advantage requires a firm to make a choice…Being 'all things to all people' is a recipe for strategic mediocrity and below average performance, because it often means that a firm has no competitive advantage at all….A firm that is 'stuck in the middle' will compete at a disadvantage because the cost leaders, differentiators, or the focusers will be better positioned to compete in any segment". -Michael Porter

In order to lead in these hard and turbulent times it is very important for organizations to develop the look of leadership and master the art of Corporate Warfare. The scenario is more like a business battlefield where there is a definitive rule of strategy. This not only helps organizations to achieve superiority but also attain a strong defensive position in the business battlefield.

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Competitive Intelligence is the right instrument for managing the taxonomy of globalization. Nick Skellon in his book on Corporate Combat wrote that War….is not the action of a living force upon a lifeless mass,….but always the collision of the living forces. Hence, these forces are the external actors, the competitors, therefore it is important to know who are the competitors and how can an organization position itself to meet any challenge. Readers should carefully note that CI has nothing to do with Industrial espionage and Corporate spying, as this form of intelligence breeds on open and ethical sources. Cris West in his book on Competitive Intelligence highlighted that Competitive Intelligence is the systematic process of gathering and analyzing information to outwit and outperform your competitors. Larry kahaner defined Competitive Intelligence as the dynamic process of gathering information and tansforming the collected information into intelligence which is both usable and actionable. Competitive Intelligence in India is still in its nascent stage and not really known but it is interesting to note that it is the most innovative and advanced tool to win any economic war. Larry kahaner the leading authority in the field of creative thinking and Competitive Intelligence(CI) emphasized on the fact that transformational leadership can be sought from today's youth(managers) who are future leaders of tomorrow and the time to come and thus leadership can be developed only when they are made aware of the subject of CI so that they are market ready and thus have a raiding strategy to outmaneuver any external character. The fact remains that strategy is incomplete in its implementation if there is CI involved.

Hence, the discipline of SM(Strategic management) is extremely important to analyze not only the market situation through scanning the business environment but also induce and inject strategic thinking and planning to achieve sustainable business growth. There are various authors who have defined Strategic Management. According to K. Aswathappa Strategic management is the process of formulation and implementation of policies and procedures in an organization keeping in mind the paradigm changes in the macro and micro environment in other words the paradoxes of change. Phil Harkins, Linkage CEO, GILD co chair outlined that smart action oriented leaders(organizations) who make good strategies prudently and adjust quickly can thrive in bad times in other words proper and well defined strategy can change bad situations and turbulent times to winning and more action oriented movements. According to laura stock who is a productivity expert outlined that organizations should lead by the defining the right strategy and thus cultivate the culture of excellence. Hence Competitive Intelligence is the cutting edge management tool of the 21st century that can inject dynamism and positive strength in organizations which will not only make these organizations " Transformational Leaders" in today's global market scenario but also make the Indian economy more sustainable and self reliant.

Research Methodology

The research is mainly conceptual and descriptive .The study is done on the basis of secondary data. However, investigation of the impact and implications of CI in SM has been done through references taken from journals, magazines, internet, contribution by various renowned authors in the field of Competitive Intelligence and Strategic Management and lastly my own self perceptions and knowledge.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

As this study mainly focuses on secondary data hence the data chosen as per this research comprises of factors and approaches in the form of variables that constitute the relevance of this research. The variables studied are A, B, C, D, E and F. Due to size constraints these variables have been defined briefly, hence available with the author on request. However, this research throws a light on naked approach of innovation as today's organizations does not think out of the box and if organizations require fast growth they must have the knowledge about Competitive Intelligence practices and its true benefits. Be naked in your approach to transformation means change not only in terms of organization but also the economy as it also needs to rebuilt and be robust to face the cut throat competition.


In today's dynamic and ever changing environment where markets are fast emerging, Innovation is the need of the hour. What is more required for organizations is respond to changes appropriately and timely by envisioning what are objectives and goals. Indeed, Competitive Intelligence is the most important management tool that can help formulate right raiding strategies and help organizations lead transformation. This study has been done not only to realize the importance of the two subjects but also to extrapolate few other approaches of transformational leadership which can set the economics of Benchmarking.

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The way of looking at transformation and change has to change, why I typically named my study to be having a naked approach is because organizations should be welcome to face vulnerable situations and hard times and taking a new direction and step towards implementation of this tool of CI and its successful application in SM may well generate cynicism as organizations do innovative and niche thinking therefore adopting this tool will always be a right step towards strategic planning and direction.

Components of Strategic Management Process

Components of Strategic Management Process

A. Competitive Intelligence as the strategic tool for organizational sustainability and the knowledge Economy

Competitive Intelligence owes its genesis from the cold world war era. It has its roots from the Military Intelligence. Just like the army fights the battle on the war front which is the territorial fight, it is exactly the same way as the cut throat competition amongst various competitors that compel organizations too face the business battlefield. the only similarity between the two situations is that they have both used some intelligence technique. In the former case there is Military Intelligence and in the latter case Competitive Intelligence but both concepts are related and thus fighting your competitors like your enemy in the battlefield can only be through effective CI.

The rules of Corporate Combat and Competitive Strategy say that Competitive Intelligence is the main ingredient to fight any level of competition and analyze external characters. Information has to be given importance which I undoubtedly admit that the Indian economy does not realize the importance of information. Hence this process of extraction of information through primary and secondary sources can be transformed into usable intelligence, filtered and thus can be made actionable and tactical to outmaneuver, outwit and outperform competitors by having Competitor awareness, Competitor Sensitiveness and by following the intelligence cycle wherein it collects information from various open sources, analyzed, organized and disseminated to departments where it can be of possible use against competitors. CI follows a cycle known as the intelligence


Figure Intelligence Cycle for SWAT(Superior Weapon and Tactics) to outflank the competitors


Official Company filings

Stock exchange and SEC filings

Annual reports and documents

Company financial reports and documents

Filing an application with RTI

Regulatory authority reports


Trade journals and periodicals

Interviews and advertisements on media

Directories, buyer's guides



Broker's reports

Published media

The process of CI is done through planning the source of collection of information which is further gathered from the sources relevant and then organized through filtering and funneling the raw information adulterated and non adulterated into intelligence which can be made both actionable and usable by mere dissemination of information to domains which it needs accordingly to act against the external actors and to position themselves more effectively. CI was first developed in United States of America in the year 1980, through the efforts of few companies who realized the importance of information gathering with the changing scenario.

Hence, with passage of time a Society for Competitive Intelligence was set up (SCIP) which now has more than five thousand members worldwide. The society is now known as strategy for Competitive Intelligence professionals. There are number of countries that use CI or have full blown CI units established in organizations these include Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland and China. In India CI has a very disappointing state hence the penetration of CI in India has been considerably less. Indian economy gives very little value to information and our own statistical machinery is faulty with vested interests. CI has not been popular in our country due to reasons like:

Low penetration of Competitive Intelligence in small industries and industries in the rural areas as CI in India finds its implementation and full blown CI units only in Large Scale organizations.

Faulty Statistical Machinery which covers the urban areas and not much emphasis is laid to tap the rural markets .Hence the data derived from selected sources are incomplete and thus do not add to the leadership development off the economy.

Lack of access to Information Technology especially in the rural areas due to several reasons.

Inadequate financial reporting.

Immature CI market and presence of large informal sector

Markets under researched

B. Application of Competitive Intelligence for Strategic positioning in Competitive Marketplace through Market Research to outwit, outmaneuver and outperform competitors

Our competitors are often presumed to be enemies in the business battlefield just like the trenches. Infact, the lessons from trenches and the tenets from WW2(World War-2) has influenced and taught organizations of today to seriously use the language and the study the lessons of Corporate Warfare. The lessons of field leadership can be learnt through applying it in organizational tactics and secure transformational leadership. Leadership excellence is possible if organizations follow the six prong approach:

Draw perpetual maps to identify competitors and analyze Competitors strengths and weaknesses, segments serviced by other market players and Competitors own product positioning.

Taking customers as a source of valuable information because the chunk of information collected through this standalone source can be highly productive and can thus converted to intelligence.

Conducting market surveys or resorting to qualitative modes of forecasting will help organizations to know your own position in the market and thereby watch the countermoves of your competitors. CI can be greatly useful in both quantitative and qualitative market research as it may impend possible threats and avoid surprises.

Customer satisfaction surveys, loyalty surveys, Image surveys and Awareness surveys can help organizations with data that has the ability to transform its positions from less important to extraordinarily more important.

Resorting to mediums like "Mystery shopping" which is a method now adopted by many organizations to know about the strength of the competitors and test the sales performance of the of a competitor.

Conducting research through media which covers various aspects like:

Analysis of the advertizing done by the competitors

Analysis of the contents used in advertizing the product of the competitors.

Total expenditure made by the competitors on advertizing

C. Leading transformation through Competitive Intelligence by the use of lessons from the trenches and securing Field leadership

Transformational leadership is the art of igniting the spark of leadership through commitment to learning, gaining traction and momentum and thus continues to help organizations to set a bar higher. The yardstick to leadership excellence and the cornerstone to transformation is only through developing the look of leadership and cultivate the culture of excellence. Competitive Intelligence is the management tool to help your businesses to move to the top. it is the only guide to transforming organizations and provides assets like:

Strong defensive position in times of extreme threat

Strong strategy and mechanism for organizational momentum

SWAT(Superior weapons and tactics)

Adopt 'Head to head strategies' and 'Raiding strategy' one has know which strategy is right for you to apply and implement.

CI owes its genesis and evolution from the military history and lessons from the trenches dating back to cold world war era are adopted and applied to secure win-a-win situation in competitive marketplace. CI is a tool which is like battering the enemy (competitors) into submission. Nowadays, organizations use the language of the military, infact Military Intelligence influences organizations in defining strategies and applying suitable, high force tactics to beat their competitors. In this competitive scenario lot of companies use words like " Burger War" this defines competition between Mc Donald's and Burger King, 'Cola War' defines competition between Coke and Pepsi. Lot of other words related to military or defense studies are used in our day to day life. As far as tactics are concerned the tactics or strategy used are similar to the ones used in Military Intelligence like the way organizations focus on :

Attacking the opposition

Defending the market share

Superior weapon for example a well-defined strategy

War unit to analyze the competitors

Corporate Warfare often termed as Market warfare

Business Battlefield

Business Strategy from Military strategy

War games -Simulation exercises for training and team building

Hence, Competitive Intelligence is indeed the strongest driver for developing a competitive landscape and a strong mechanism by which companies compete thus following the ethical guidelines for practicing it. Organizations need to follow certain norms and ethics, they need to aware of the changes in the ethical guidelines every now and then as CI is a systematic process of gathering, analyzing and using information but this entire process of Intelligence cycle can be practiced only through ethical means. One should not ignore laws and Legislations relating to:

Criminal Law

Copyright Law

The Economic Espionage Act

Competition and Antitrust Legislation

Data Protection Legislations

Company code of ethics


Market Intelligence and Competitive Intelligence Ethics

E. Measuring the effectiveness of Competitive Intelligence in Strategic thinking, Planning , Direction and positioning through Competitive Landscaping

Competitive Intelligence practices are of utmost importance today especially in this changing business environment. The key indicators of effectiveness of CI are:

Growth in the market share

Excellence in the quality of the intelligence provided

Whether or not the information collected has been of ample use to enable organizations in securing competitive advantage and Balanced Score Card.

Event analysis before and after the implementation of Competitive Intelligence

Development of culture for a adoption of CI and establishment of full blown CI units as victories over Competitors are strongly celebrated

Introduction of formal training for Competitive Intelligence to executives and managers for Strategic Management

Formal introduction of CI at MBA and post graduate level to pump in more and more industry ready candidates who would be able to understand the external actors and act against them through an intelligence unit.

Compulsory establishment of full blown CI units in almost all organizations in India to secure both inclusive and exclusive growth and sustainability.

Figure 2: Competitive Intelligence as a tool for securing Balanced Scorecard through Competitive Landscaping


Interpretation: The above diagram was developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton for organizational sustainability and is known as Balanced Score Card. The diagram is a representation of a benchmarking procedure for organizations to secure not only market leadership but also achieve the rising horizons of "Quality Excellence".

Measuring the effectiveness of the CI is only possible in India if this practice is taken seriously and if the economy understands the applicability of the system towards sustainable business growth. Organizations facing tough competition or facing a larger opponent in terms of a local brand image. In that case Competitive Intelligence is the tactical primacy of the defense and hence can win over weaker situations by studying the paradoxes, in other words the micro and macro environmental factors.

F. Managing Competition: Transforming Competitive Intelligence into Strategy to secure Sustainable Development and HOPE- Higher order purpose of existence

With the emergence of LPG (Liberalization, privatization and Globalization), the business environment has undergone a rapid change. Keeping this in mind we have tried to explain sustainable development (SD) of the economy not only in terms of Social, Environmental & natural and Health sciences that form the founding pillars of the theory of SD but also Management as the fifth pillar. In this domain Competitive Intelligence plays a very important role in our economy and thus this tool is a valuable tool that only knowledge workers and organizations can use to advance the economy towards self fulfillment and economic development. I advocate Competitive Intelligence to be taken as a serious subject in India as it has a lot of potential to outsmart competitors. If our organizational revenue and strength is healthy, the taxonomy of sustainable development and inclusive growth will be possible in our economy only when we give importance to this subject. Although till date no research has been carried out linking CI with SD but we believe if innovation is the need of the hour then Competitive Intelligence is the only solution to the problem of under development.

India is a developed economy which talks only about maintaining the ecological balance, grow more trees, reduce carbon footprints, use organic food substances, don't use plastic bags. All these measures are taken to save the economy, give direction ,promote self consciousness and earn healthy revenue but these benefits can be had by having a very healthy organizational well being, Whatever advancements has taken place is due to the availability of correct information which can be made usable and actionable thereafter.

Figure-3 Competitive Intelligence and Sustainable Development- A key ingredient to transform organizations in terms of knowledge workers, productivity and Global leadership for sustainable future

Key findings from the study :

Competitive Intelligence is a requirement today for every growing organization and the economy

To realise organizational strategies one needs to emphasize on the quality of the intelligence used

There needs to be set up proper full blown CI units in almost all organizations to realize not only the company objectives but also to innovate and strategise.

This study just gives a snapshot in time about the impact and usefulness of CI in today's organizations

This study is not meant for immediate implimation or application in organizations and is done to provide its readers just an insight about the subject

CI has nothing to do with Industrial espionage, subotage or subversion neither is it related to the act of spying. It is practised legally and ethically through open cource hence known as " Open source Intelligence"

This subject is ideal for today's managers who are the nation builders and these knowledge workers are poised to bring in sustainable business and inclusive growth in the economy.

Conclusion and Recommendations

This study was completed in one month wherein all possible research was done to triangulate the findings to a fully drawn conclusion that CI is required in India and it is high time that organizations in India should rise up to the occasion of commaradarie between CI and Strategic Management. If organization are to use tactics or plan a strategy to outsmart competitors or external characters, it can do so by using this great tactical tool, the cutting edge management tool of the 21st century.CI is such a tool which can never be ignored.

This study has ultimately reached its final point where is advocates that in this changing scenario and dynamizm, Competitive Intelligence is the strongest weapon to award leadership, Goodwill and Recognition to any organization. This will infact change the face of our Economy. Hence, this subject should be taught as a Management descipline may be at an MBA level or through a formal training programme. The revolution to bring about this change has already begun with Amity Institute of Competitive Intelligence & Strategic Management(AICISM), Amity University Noida having launched a full fledged two years full time MBA course. Our economy needs to develop aggressively and this can happen if our organizational base is strong, this base can get stronger and deep rooted through this management tool.


Type of Change


Organizational Motivation


Improvement of existing skills, methods, performance standards, or conditions

Do more, do better with what exists. The organization believes that its current processes can be developed, strengthened, and/or honed to meet the recognized current organizational needs.


Replacing one work approach with another. "Old" approach to work needs to be dismantled and a new approached formed. The integration of the new approach is usually perceived as a "project" with a start and finish date.

Organizational leaders recognize that a problem exists and that something needs to be created or changed to better serve current or future customer demands. Often the organization tries to fix a series of problem symptoms with a new product or work process to meet customer demands.


Radical shift from one way of "doing business" to another where the new state is uncertain until it emerges and is better able to meet the demands of the environment.

This forced transformation is largely the consequence of leaders not wanting to recognize or accept the need for organizational change. The motivation that normally catalyzes the change is the actual threat to the organization's survival.


A conscious change where leaders proactively participate in the process, crafting as much of a "journey" and outcome as possible. This type of approach is fostered by organizational leaders who prefer to design their future and that of the organization.

Leadership recognizes the maturity the organization must attain to maintain a competitive advantage and meet the demands of the marketplace. Often the organization recognizes that problem resolution or change requires systemic intervention to be successful over time.


Radical shift from one way of "doing business" to another where the new state is uncertain until it emerges and is better able to meet the demands of the environment.

This forced transformation is largely the consequence of leaders not wanting to recognize or accept the need for organizational change. The motivation that normally catalyzes the change is the actual threat to the organization's survival.


Interpretation: The table above clearly explains that CI is the need of the hour and as companies are growing and changing, the table describes the organizations desire for change. The slogan today is "Globalize or Perish". If organizations seek to achieve leadership then more and more companies should resort to establishing CI units.


Type of Change

Organizational Strategy

CI Role & Duties


Improve what already exists through identification of problem areas and performance barriers.

Improvement of CI skills, methods, processes, performance standards, and/or conditions within the department and organization as a whole. Educating the CI customer on what CI is and how it can help them.


Replaces what exists with an entirely new business structure, technology, or business practice. Leadership designs, implements, and manages the "changes" within specific guidelines and according to a timetable.

Often this involves major technology upgrades to make CI more effective or efficient. It could require the replacement of one CI approach with another. The new "product" is implemented at a specific time. Training usually needs to take place for current customers. New customers are solicited and integrated into the CI process.


Leadership reacts to organizational "crisis" by grasping at methods and practices on a trial-and-error basis. There is more chaos than strategy, and problem resolution may not address the entire organizational system or even the entire problem.

Sometimes some systemic gains are made in adapting CI methods and practices, although during this state there is much uncertainty around CI roles and responsibilities. Often the organization reacts to the crisis role and expects all components of the organization to figure out what "weight" to pull. Many disparate demands are placed on the CI department. It is semi-recognized as a resource that can possibly assist in leading the organization "out of the woods."


Leadership consciously evolves their company and themselves through a joint venture with all stakeholders in the design, development, and implementation of new practices and behaviors that will lead to the total transformation of the organization.

CI proactively participates in the transformation of the organization. Its role and duties are defined by the needs of the whole organizational system with the CI department charged with crafting the methodology of meetings those needs. CI is accepted as an integral part of the organizational


Interpretation: The table above shows the linkage between organizational strategies and CI units role and duties. Therefore CI is the most important tool which finds its existence in Strategic Management.