Mary Ellen Bercik Introducing the FreePint Topic Series: Next-Generation Competitive Intelligence
Jinfo Blog

Thursday, 1st May 2014

By Mary Ellen Bercik


With the new FreePint Topic Series: Next-Generation Competitive Intelligence launching, series producer Mary Ellen Bercik provides a preview of article topics from data collection to data analysis, and effective communication of insights. She also highlights the upcoming reviews.


The FreePint Topic Series: Next-Generation Competitive Intelligence, running from May through June, examines the three major phases of any competitive intelligence project:

  • Data collection
  • Analysis
  • Communicating insights.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book "Outliers, The Story of Success" made us aware of the "10,000-Hour Rule". The 10,000-Hour Rule states that the key to proficiency, of any skill, is to practise, practise, practise. After investing 10,000 hours presumably one has mastered the discipline.

Mastering Competitive Intelligence

Mastery of all three phases of Competitive Intelligence (CI) requires much practise to refine your skills and develop expert knowledge of your subject.

A desire to constantly improve at your craft, help from mentors and thought leaders, and openness to new approaches is essential to improving proficiency, along with much hands-on work.

In this series, I've gathered together several talented information professionals whom I respect because of the quality and professionalism of their work. I've asked them to share their insights and expertise with you.

Meet the Experts

  • This series will begin with an article on data collection and organisation from Libby Trudell. I've known Libby for over two decades through the Silicon Valley SLA chapter and her work at Dialog and ProQuest. She is a consummate professional, always on top of her game, and one of the smartest and nicest people you'll ever meet. I thought of her immediately for this series because of her many years of working with sources and publishers.

    Libby shares with us her best practices for data collection which include ways to evaluate sources – to ensure that you’re using authoritative sources. She shares top information sources for products and market intelligence, breaking news, financial and corporate intelligence, intellectual property, and more.

  • The second article in this series covers CI analysis - why and how it is accomplished. I met Marc Limacher in 2011 at a SCIP conference for strategic and competitive intelligence professionals. I was working for Cisco at the time leading a research function for one of Cisco's business units.

    I was asked to attend the conference as a SCIP Thought Leader to facilitate roundtable discussions. Marc's company, ISIS, was exhibiting at the conference. I met Marc at the ISIS booth. Following the conference, Marc and I met to discuss ISIS's CI offerings and services. I was impressed by the breadth, depth and quality of the products. As I pondered who has proven expertise at CI analysis for this phase of this series, Marc came to mind.

    He'll discuss leveraging internal sources of intelligence within your company and the use of the "human" network in the practice of competitive intelligence. Early warning systems and how to develop them using a primary source network will be included too. I like Marc's approach because it goes beyond depending on published information to provide a unique competitive edge for your company.

  • Communication of insights is the third phase of CI and critical to success. When competitive intelligence insights aren't communicated effectively, then often they are ignored. If the media and content isn't tailored to your audience, it will lack impact and influence.

    Wayne Jones, software group intelligence champion at IBM, will discuss some state-of-the-art tools that will help you communicate insights and establish credibility in your analysis.

    It is bound to be interesting, smart and energetic - just like Wayne himself. I met Wayne recently at a Technology Market Analysis Group (TMAG) meeting and was impressed with his enthusiasm and professionalism. I'm looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us as he shares new tools and methods for communicating insights.

The articles in this series are designed to give you practical tips on how to upskill yourself to improve your performance as a competitive intelligence professional. We hope you will try out our suggestions and practise new skills to deepen your mastery of the art of competitive intelligence.

Other Insights

Q&A with Jonathan A. Flatow, chief executive officer of Avention, on OneSource becoming Avention. We quiz him on the name change and Avention's new product designed to enable sales, marketing & research users to turn data into actionable intelligence.

Plus - look our for updates on new articles in the series.


Our in-depth reviews will include:

  • Product Review of Avention
  • Product Review of Cipher Systems Knowledge.Works
  • Product Review of Comintelli (see our Q&A with CEO Jesper Martell)
  • Product Review of Cortellis
  • Product Review of Global Intelligence's Intelligence Plaza
  • Product Review of StrategyEye Digital Media.

Editor's Note: Next-Generation Competitive Intelligence

This article is part of the FreePint Topic Series: Next-Generation Competitive Intelligence running from May-June 2014 which includes articles, reviews and expert tips on making the most of evolving technology to conduct competitive intelligence as well as providing valuable refreshers on core knowledge and skills. Register your interest now, and you'll also get a free copy of the FreePint Report: Buyer's Guide on Competitive Intelligence when it's published in June.

Have Your Say

We would love to get your feedback and input on our scheduled topics and reviews - and if there are any other CI-related topics which would be of interest to you, please contact us.

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