IT Technology
The successful company will be driven to increase stakeholder value and
profitability while creating a working environment that encourages and nurtures
the growth of personal creativity and development as well as nurturing a sense
of well-being for all members of the organization. When dealing with the forces
that drive industry competition, a company can devise a strategy that takes the
offensive. This posture is designed to do more than merely cope with the forces
themselves; it is meant to alter their causes. The IT professional\'s role in
competitive market intelligence The IT professional is increasingly being called
upon to be a sleuth in the quest for the competitive market intelligence that is
so necessary to support the enterprise\'s overall business strategy. In today\'s
fast-changing marketplace, it is essential to monitor the techniques of similar
businesses, and IT is being called upon to fulfill that functional need. IT must
provide marketing with answers to vital questions such as: 1. How are
competitors getting business? 2. Where does the enterprise look for new
customers? 3. How are prospects targeted? 4. What services, products, and prices
do competitors offer? 5. What images do our competitors project, and how does
that compare to our image? The combined strength of marketing and IT Enterprises
have depended on marketing for too long to provide competitive intelligence. It
is crucial for IT professionals to contribute their specialized expertise to
successfully adapt to the changing dynamics of the market arena. Marketing
cannot do the job without the cooperation, tools, and willing support of the IT
department. With the combined strength of the two complementary functions, a
winning competitive market intelligence program is within the enterprise\'s
reach. Useful and sometimes surprising insights can be gained from exploring the
terrain of actual and potential competitors. Hardly an academic exercise, sizing
up the competition should become an ongoing, regular, and systematic process of
gathering, analyzing, and acting upon relevant data, which will provide
businesses with two tangible benefits:  It will reveal the steps that
management must take to preempt competitive strikes.  It will signal new
market opportunities. Competitive monitoring enables management to develop
practical strategies and measure the success of their actions. What you should
know Simply knowing who your competitors are is not enough; you should also
ferret out what their strategies and objectives are. You can gauge their
strengths and weaknesses by learning about their products and services (current
and new), pricing, features, and the level of customer satisfaction. How are
your products or services positioned relative to the competition? Do your
customers and prospects see your service as having the highest quality and still
selling at the lower price? Is your product viewed as the low-cost brand, the
premium-priced brand, the old standby, or the leader? After getting some
comments, it may still be neither possible nor desirable to change your
service\'s features. Instead, research could point out what to communicate and
how to communicate to your market. For example, you could tell your marketing
department what potential customers are looking for and highlight the features
that are valued by your customers. Your information will enable the marketing
people to create materials that tell customers what they want to hear and sell
them what they want to buy. Differences can be subtle but they really do matter.

Are yesterday\'s customers and clients being lured away by today\'s competition?

Are they being tempted by the competition\'s siren song? Are they saying yes to
your rival\'s lower fees or discounts? Are they buying new products or services
that your company has not even thought of offering? Who will provide the
answers? IT can, at the very least, provide meaningful data to formulate the
correct solutions. Potential market threats While management understands the
importance of keeping an eye on the competition, some members of management
mistakenly believe that the marketing department alone has the resources to do a
proper job. This is simply not true. Much valuable information exists in the
database mines of the IT function. The IT professional must do some of the
digging in those mines to find it. Most IT professionals are already in an
excellent position to obtain and use primary competitive information and need
only the encouragement or permission of management. Frequently, IT has become
the central repository for this kind of competitive analysis information.

However, using the information can be a challenge when different departments
within the company engage in territorial squabbles, and the company is forced to
dilute valuable resources through unnecessary duplications of effort. In such
situations, management must educate all departments to funnel customer and
prospect data back to a central