Sophie Alexander The Importance of an Early Warning Primary CI Network
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Tuesday, 27th May 2014 Sign in to MyJinfo or create an account be able to star items Click for printable version Subscribe via RSS to get updates as soon as Blog items are added Tweet about this item on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

By Sophie Alexander


A reliable primary source network is an essential component of the competitive intelligence process but is all too often overlooked solely in favour of secondary sources. Sophie Alexander picks out some key points from Marc Limacher's subscription article where he reminds us that a company's employees often hold valuable information and shows why it's important for professionals to take the time to cultivate a give-and-take relationship with them.


Companies of all sizes rely on competitive intelligence for many reasons, including:

  • Helping them understand their competition more fully to enable them to pre-empt or neutralise any surprises
  • To improve their own operations through competitor benchmarking
  • To capitalise on their competitors' weaknesses and failures.

Primary Sources Complete the Picture

With the proliferation of online search resources it's easy to overlook one important and easily accessible information source in your own organisation, which is your people.

In any industry, having a reliable internal and external primary source network helps you to anticipate rather than simply react to a competitor's next move. This primary source network is essential to the competitive intelligence process.

Although secondary research is a good place to start your research, professionals who rely solely on these sources are not getting the whole picture.

Cultivating an Internal Network

An often-overlooked fact is that 50% of intelligence needs and Key Intelligence Questions (KIQs) can be answered by a company's employees but companies too often operate in silos or discourage information sharing.

This is why it's important to reach out to these untapped resources and cultivate a give-and-take relationship with them, by exchanging relevant and useful information on topics that may be of interest to them.

Value-added Analysis

In his article Developing & Leveraging Your Primary Source Network for High Impact Competitive Intelligence, Marc Limacher highlights the importance of leveraging this internal Human Intelligence (HUMINT) within your organisation and how best to cultivate and maintain your primary network. He also discusses the importance of analysis to add value to your intelligence and gain visibility from senior management and other stakeholders in order to foster a "CI culture".

Editor's Note

FreePint Subscribers can log in to read and share more in Marc Limacher's article, Developing & Leveraging Your Primary Source Network for High Impact Competitive Intelligence.

This article is part of the FreePint Topic Series: Next-Generation Competitive Intelligence running from May-June 2014. 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.

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