7 keys to choose competitive intelligence software
- Competitive Intelligence
We often hear views that relegate software to a secondary role in a Competitive Intelligence System of organisations. While it is true that a CI System must be supported by an appropriate strategy, a rational selection of people, a process adapted to the dynamics of the organisation and leadership and resources as driving forces behind a successful system, software also plays a crucial role. So much so that a good or bad choice can be key to the success or failure of the project.
Based on our knowledge and experience, this article contemplates the keys to consider to be able to tackle the difficult task of choosing the ideal tool to support our process:
Adaptation to the needs
Certain software may be excellent, but may not be what the organisation needs. Therefore, it is important to have the needs clear before analysing solutions. This will help us to keep on track, and not be distracted by other factors.
It may be interesting to draw up a set of specifications (or requirements) against which to contrast each potential tool, in order to be more impartial in our decision-making.
Long-term trajectory and sustainability
A nightmare scenario for an organisation would be to choose a tool and having to change it shortly after. For this reason, we must value who is behind the solution we are going to adopt, what resources it has and what path it has followed up to now.
Nowadays, technology start-ups sprout up continuously, but to develop a good Competitive Intelligence software you need more than just being able to program; an in-depth knowledge of the CI process (including standards such as UNE 166.006) is required to know which functionalities are key and can speed up the process and make life easier for users.
Evolution and updates
Further to the above, we must look for tools that are alive and capable of adapting to new technologies and ways of information consumption. Looking back, current Competitive Intelligencesoftwares have nothing to do with what they were like 5 years ago, as the Internet has changed enormously and new platforms, databases, search engines and social networks have emerged. Similarly, in the coming years there will be new changes and of course we want our tool to evolve to adapt to these changes.
Obviously, the price is another key factor in choosing a tool, especially if we have limited resources. We may find tools that meet all of our requirements, but the price tag exceeds our budget. Different tools commonly have different versions to suit different needs (or that are even scalable based on different criteria), so that, again, an in-depth analysis of our needs helps us to adjust the price to our possibilities.
Connectivity with our information sources
If our organisation is subscribed to paid information sources, our Competitive Intelligence software should be able to communicate with that source to seamlessly integrate its input into the CI process. Nowadays there are hardly any technical limitations for such integration, and this should not be an obstacle.
Ease of use
Having an extremely powerful but not user-friendly tool or a tool that requires major changes in user habits can be a problem. Therefore, apart from trying to objectively assess the user-friendliness of the tool, we should consult future users about what they expect or need. In addition, ideally these users can try out the tool during a trial period to become familiar with operation and features.
As mentioned above, information consumption habits have changed in recent years (first with PCs, then with tablets and finally with smartphones) and will continue to change in the future. The tool we choose cannot ignore these changes and must adapt to provide the best user experience, on different devices and accessible from anywhere.
If you want to get to know INNGUMA in any of its versions and try it out, you can request a free demo and use it for one month. You can also send us any queries you may have about competitive intelligence tools or about INNGUMA.