Competitive Intelligence: Time is of the essence

Part 1 of our competitive intelligence blog series where we take a closer look at how you can ensure your competitive intelligence provides a sustainable competitive advantage. For the second blog click here.

One of the biggest challenges faced by competitive intelligence (CI) teams is time. Not enough time to analyze and respond to the growing amount of information; too much time spent searching through different information sources; intelligence needing to be delivered to stakeholders on time. All very distinct challenges but with one clear and overarching theme.

So, what can be done to help reduce the burden of time? Let’s take a look.


Centralize information sources

Think about how many information sources you need to analyze to get a comprehensive understanding of your organization’s competitive landscape; from competitors’ updates, to industry news, to regulatory information, to medical journals, to press releases, to pipeline databases, to therapeutic publications, to… you get it! Even if this was an exhaustive list of the sources CI professionals need to track (and by no means is it), the prospect of having to search through all of these individually would still be daunting. It is the time taken to search, collate and analyze these disparate sources which prohibits true competitive intelligence.

The solution is obvious: centralize your information sources. Unfortunately, however, that’s often not as easy as it sounds. Not only is CI information vast, it is also disparate in its format. To truly centralize and integrate these information sources requires them all to be integrated, digested and then normalized into a universal format that can then be accessed by the end-users to suit their needs. This is a huge technical challenge, and one that takes a lot of time.

But consider the benefit. Once this information has been centralized, you and your team have only a single location from which you need to seek information, minimizing the risk of missing critical updates as you know where to look – and most importantly, you have more time!


Ensure information delivery is real-time(ly)

Once you know where to look for your information, what’s your next challenge? Making sure you’re receiving that information while it’s still relevant.

Having a real-time view of the landscape is critical when you want to ensure your competitive strategy remains ahead of, well, the competition. If a new drug enters the market, targeting the same therapy area you operate in, then you need to know about it as soon as possible. On the other end of the spectrum, if a competitor molecule gets rejected at the drug approval phase, you’ll want to know about it pretty quickly too. Real-time information delivery enables you to react to news as it happens and (hopefully) before your competitors.

It’s not all about ‘real-time’, though. Timely information is key. What’s the difference, you ask? Real-time is as it happens, timely is as its most useful. Would you rather have a barrage of information delivered constantly, or periodic updates on the critical information, targeted specifically at your needs? Neither answer is correct, and in as many cases as not, real-time wins the argument over timely. It’s not about choosing the better solution, it’s about choosing the right solutions for your workflow and challenges.

This is true of how you, as CI teams, distribute intelligence to your key stakeholders too. Timing considerations for your Compliance teams need to differ from those for your Research teams, and your Market Access teams, and your Senior Leadership teams, and so on. It’s all about identifying the importance of timeliness across the workflows within your organization, and accommodating these as best as possible.


Time spent = time lost

Right; we’ve centralized your CI sources. Information is being delivered in a timely manner (whether that be real-time or periodic). So where else can we save time? Here the focus should be on getting the utmost out of that information without losing too much time in its analysis.

Identifying areas where time is still spent heavily across the team and developing strategies to reduce it is the critical first step.

Information overload resulting in critical competitive insights being missed? Introduce an AI solution that can learn internal needs and strategies to identify critical information from an increasingly overwhelming pool of noise, within a fraction of the time. 

Hours spent trawling through separate information sources only to surface duplicate or irrelevant information? Utilize taxonomy hierarchies and federated search, to return results from multiple sources with a single query that is based on information specific to your organization (or… read our second blog of the series and find out more).

The time taken from information search, to analysis, to distributed intelligence is too long? Augment your information results with human expertise so that the intelligence you are providing to your key stakeholders is exactly what you need, how you need it, when it’s needed, and where it needs to be.

These examples are only scratching the surface of the type and complexity of the solutions that are available for seeking the most value out of your information. But, serve as a means of highlighting the effectiveness of technology in improving these processes across your information workflow.


There will never be more time in the day, but there are solutions available to make the most out of the time that exists. In the second blog in this series, we dive deeper into one of these solutions to highlight the impact a specific solution can make for CI teams.