Amongst competitive and business intelligence professionals, one of the biggest problems they face is presenting their findings to stakeholders in their organizations. The Outward Insights Competitive Intelligence blog posted a great entry to this effect on September 28th, in which they discuss some of the methods that the professionals in this industry find most effective for showcasing their findings to others in their companies.

Outward Insights
came to the conclusion that executive briefings are the most effective way to get executives to pay attention to and internalize the findings that CI professionals have spent time investigating and creating. These briefings are an important factor in getting the information needed to make decisions and strategies in the decision and strategy makers’ hands.

However, I think it raises a greater point that service providers in the CI community need to consider. Whether you are a business intelligence consultant or a competitive intelligence service provider like Zepol, how you present the information to your users is of great importance. Users should be able to visualize changes in their environments easily and within the user interface. For Zepol, this means providing trends and graphs of aggregate trade information that can easily be exported for the reports that CI professionals will eventually use for hand offs. Even in a face to face situation, stakeholders need quality information to take with them and cement the findings they heard.

If your company is evaluating competitive intelligence service providers, make sure the tools go beyond just searching and exporting data. This is just data and brings nothing to the stakeholders in your company without extensive analysis on the user’s part. Using next generation tools that expose trends and visualize what is happening in your market, takes the next steps by turning the data into information and exposing actionable intelligence that can help drive your company forward.