04009 Competitive Analysis: Ready When They Are

Competitive analysis is a vital function at a company, especially in the fast changing software industry. Yet it is an activity that is often neglected or haphazard.
Usually, gathering competitive intelligence doesn’t fall squarely in the camp of one department. In fact, like product management itself, ultimate responsibility for competitive analysis may be found in different departments at different companies.
Like many functions that don’t fall consistently into one department or another, competitive intelligence often becomes the responsibility of Product Managers. Product Managers, because of the scope of their jobs, which span sales, marketing, development, and management, make good point people for gathering information on competitors to meet different needs in multiple departments.
Gathering competitive intelligence is like being a scout for an army. You may take some secretive and unexpected pathways in order to spy on the other side and report on its forces and their movements. If your company doesn’t have a good idea of the current and expected moves by the competition, it risks losing sales and market share.
Read on for guidance on gathering competitive intelligence so that when the competition makes a move, your company is ready when they are to counter them effectively.