The technology industry is characterized by short product life cycles and the constant need to innovate. It ranges from information technology to telecommunications, from biotechnology to robotics. It’s an incredibly diverse field, and a genuinely global one. However all sectors share a key common factor – they are all innovative industries that rely upon staying ahead of the competition.
A startup or a new technology can destroy a business overnight. The technology company that uses competitive intelligence to understand the market has more than a business advantage - if those working within these industries don’t employ competitive intelligence strategies, they are far less likely to thrive or even survive.
Building a picture of the competition
You need to know as much as possible about the competition – those you hope to emulate, and those who aspire to be you. Obviously, the nature of the competition varies greatly depending on which sector of the technology industry you are in. With some markets, emerging Asian companies pose the greatest risk. With more niche sectors, there has been less competition - but never assume it will stay that way. Are there any existing companies diversifying into your field, for example?
We want to identify your competition then build a complete picture of them. We collate huge amounts of secondary research to tell you as much as possible about the internal organisation, the technology they use, their finances, their partners, their customers...
What is the competitor’s environment?
Where do your competitors fit into the business ecosystem? This is the network of organizations involved in a specific field, product or service, and includes competitors, collaborators, and customers.
We will take a detailed look at the competition’s ecosystem, which can give a valuable qualitative insight into their operations and business relationships. By giving you information about the environment, you are better positioned to make decisions about any new product. We look at the current landscape and what opportunities could be available within this. We assess the competition and what products they have on offer and how they are marketing them.
What products are in the pipeline?
Emerging technologies can marginalize and really damage existing technologies. For example, think of the different ways we’ve listened to music over the last three decades: vinyl, cassette, CD, portable media players, iTunes, streaming, the increased use of the smartphone as a music player...
How do we find out what products are in development? We look at recruitment, any organizational restructuring, any expansion of premises or into new geographical areas. Trade fairs, conferences, articles, and interviews with previous employees can all help build a picture of any development plans.
Your rival’s product roadmap or pipeline is one of the most valuable tools you can have. What are they producing, and what is the timeframe? The timing of a new launch enables you to respond, react, or adapt your own pipeline.
If you’re in competition over a similar product, the product’s price is also essential intelligence. By talking with current and former salespeople and customers, among other sources, we can get a full picture of the pricing structure. This will give you a great advantage with setting prices and pitching.
We’ve helped all manner of tech businesses from major international companies to small startups. If you work in a technological industry, and you’d like to find out how competitive intelligence can give you the advantage, please contact us.