Volume 9 • Number 2 • March-April 2006 SCIP
2006 www.scip.org 45
organizations. This support is more relevant to small and medium-sized firms that do not have the resources to develop their own CI capabilities. Competitive intelligence use by Israeli exporters is slowly expanding. More Israeli firms are becoming aware of the contribution CI can make to improving business performance, but this awareness does not automatically lead to creating their own CI systems. The absence of previous studies prohibits comparisons to measure trends in implementation of competitive intelligence. Competitive intelligence use in Israeli firms is considered to be high, particularly in comparison with a recent survey of CI performance in Canadian firms (www.ottawabusinessjournal.com, November 24, 2005). The final comment in that survey was that “there is a compelling need for better intelligence, a greater organizational focus and larger budgets.”
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A significant number of Israeli managing directors are working closely with their competitive intelligence directors. This indicates that they are directly influencing the process of prioritizing their key intelligence topics, which direct the effort. From this reporting proximity, we can conclude that competitive intelligence has an impact on strategic decisions, although the extent cannot be verified. The results of this survey may help persuade senior managers who do not yet have competitive intelligence systems of the advantages that firms with CI units enjoy. There are not sufficient data regarding the connection between business performance and the existence of competitive intelligence activity, as this question was not asked specifically. If senior managers become aware of the potential contributions of competitive intelligence, they may improve the internal cooperation between CI units and their firms’ executives. High-tech exporters need to give higher priority to developing the proven contribution of competitive intelligence. According to a recent survey regarding the CI situation in the United States (see “US CI survey” in www.outwardinsights.com, February 2005), CI use in U.S. high-tech firms is much higher than in Israel; in fact, U.S. high-tech firms are the industry group that makes the most use of CI. The change in competitive intelligence implementation in Israeli firms will not happen without strong support by senior managers inside the firms. However, these individuals can be encouraged by outside consultants who will match their accumulated experience with the particular needs of each firm.
The use of targeted competitive intelligence software by Israeli corporations is not satisfactory, particularly when there are excellent examples of Israeli CI solutions. Firms are aware of these tools, but for reasons that are not clarified in this survey, the rate of purchasing and integrating them is still low. It was surprising to find that technology adaptation is lower in Israel than in Asia, where 64 percent of companies use CI technology tools (see the recent CI study at www.globalintelligence.com). Using advanced CI software can provide a vital added value, especially to small CI units. The requirement for better access to open source information (indicated by almost 70 percent of the respondents) can be partially met by using advanced software tools. The improved results through the use of software may convince more executives of CI’s benefits.
Many firms have not yet fully leveraged information known by people. They need to inform their employees of the high value of information that exists internally but is often not used properly. This prominent competitive intelligence resource requires cultivation and training in how to use internal and external human networks to benefit the firm.The small size of CI units may lead to the conclusion that these firms are not sure of its benefits, and even larger corporations are hesitant to increase its use and to grow their own competitive intelligence activity.
• The existence of the competitive intelligence function and the approximate size of the CI unit in each firm.• The place of competitive intelligence in the firm’s organizational structure.
The essential need to improve the collection of information:
• The advantage of using open source intelligence. • The use of human intelligence in the collection process.• The immediate necessity of export firms for government support in information gathering on global markets.
Performance and contribution:
• The overall contribution of competitive intelligence to the business performance of local firms. • The need of internal advanced tools such as dedicated software for gathering, analysis, and dissemination.
TABLE 1: KEY SURVEY TOPICS
CI in Israel