Supply Intelligence Is Not Enough

Trusted Advisor Associates published an article about falsely believing that business is fundamentally about competition and that we need to get away from thinking that our competitors, customers, and partners are all distinct entities. Our antiquated beliefs are our biggest obstacle to evolving away from the competitor-centric concept of business. This article originally appeared in Businessweek in 2011, nearly 20 years after the concept of business ecosystems, where companies “work cooperatively and competitively to support new products, satisfy customer needs, and eventually incorporate the next round of innovations” was introduced by James F. Moore.

According to EY, the thinking of business as ecosystem is increasingly viewed as essential and has “become inescapable as global supply chains, online marketplaces for skills as well as goods, and remote work have become the world’s economic infrastructure.” SCIP – Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals, in its 2021 State of Competitive Intelligence report, recognizes the same thinking in today’s business environment: “sales deals are getting tougher, product life cycles are getting shorter, and tomorrow’s competitor is today’s customer or supplier.”

With this understanding, we need to make sure we are evolving in our thinking and clearing any obstacles of outdated thinking around intelligence gathering and analysis. Focusing solely on supply market intelligence does not provide the holistic view of the business environments in which companies now operate. Today, it is not just about supplier and market discovery, but about understanding that as ecosystems evolve, broader ranges of capabilities will be demanded. Due diligence of the future will expand from KYS (know your supplier) to knowing the evolving ecosystems of current and potential competitors, suppliers and partners.

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