Competitive intelligence (CI) information is key in making recommendations through the use of analytical tools, according to a new study conducted by research and consulting firm Best Practices LLC.

The study highlights the analytical tools employed by top organizations to analyze CI and make strategic recommendations that will enhance company performance.

Best Practices says its report, “Managing the Competition: Turning Competitive Intelligence into Strategy,” highlights the value of strategic recommendations based on analysis of competitive information.

The Chapel Hill-based firm lists examples of the study’s best practices in analytical tools include:

One benchmarked company that regularly conducts war-gaming exercises to develop contingency plans that handle possible future scenarios. By having a previously developed plan of action, the company can move quickly in response to competitors’ actions.

Another company builds a comparative matrix purchased from an external vendor that allows the group to look at various market drivers and measure the impact on both the company and its competitors.

In addition to information regarding analytical tools used by top companies, the report also details CI structures, roles, responsibilities, and reporting relationships; information collection, communication, and management methods; performance measurement systems; benchmark partner case studies; and a comparison matrix of companies’ CI operations.

The new study is the result of exclusive interviews with 29 competitive intelligence and marketing executives at 18 global companies, Best Practices says.

“During economic downturns, excellent competitive intelligence efforts can be the differentiating factor in the marketplace,” explains Paul Meade, vice president at Best Practices. “In order to pull ahead, companies need to successfully gather and analyze competitive information, and subsequently implement strategic decisions based on that analysis.”

Best Practices: