Dr Lilit Axner , pp. 62. MAM/Sektionen för Management, 2009.
Competitive Intelligence (CI) has been defined by many authors. These definitions do have certain differences but all of them have a main common feature: They put the accent on the analysis. The most precise definition is given by the Society for Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP): “A systematic and ethical program for gathering, analyzing, and managing external information that can affect your company’s plans, decisions, and operations”.
Business Intelligence (BI) is much broader concept than CI. It has rather technical meaning while CI is more about managerial perspective of intelligence. BI includes activities such as data mining, market analysis, sales analysis, and analysis of customer and supplier records and behavior (Bouthillier et al., 2003). However, in some European countries, such as Sweden and Denmark, BI and CI have the similar meaning (Bouthillier et al., 2003). Either way, the main feature of both concepts is the ability to analyze data and information and to deduct intelligence out of them.
Currently, a large number of BI and/or CI software is available, and being developed worldwide. A simple search of the “Business Intelligence software” term in Google gives about 548.000 results. Most of these software are quite enhanced and well developed but only a few of them have a good analysis tool, and even fewer give a choice of analysis tools to their users.
An extensive work has been done on BI software evaluation by Amara et al. (2009) to classify the top BI software vendors according to the extent of their analysis by using the SSAV (Solberg Söilen, Amara, Vriens) model. A number of analyses for Business Intelligence have been summed up also in Solberg Söilen (2005). The conclusion of both works was the same: BI software need robust analysis tools.
In this research we pursue two goals: First we investigate what are the major obstacles for making a better analysis function in the Business Intelligence (BI) software and second we examine how those obstacles can be solved both technically and from a managerial perspective.
The intention in this study is to investigate how the analysis module is functioning in the BI software and see how it could be implemented more effectively. This means that the study has two sides one Competitive Intelligence (CI) for the managerial approach and one Business Intelligence (BI) for the more technical approach.
First we present a comprehensive literature review and pin point the problems and obstacles defined by many authors. Then we propose a method to solve the identified problems and finally we concentrate on advantages and disadvantages of the proposed method.
The proposed technical solution is under construction in the BI software called Subsoft developed by Dr. Klaus Solberg Söilen. We investigate to what extent conclusions here can be used to develop the software further. The managerial perspective of the solutions is explored in close collaboration with two other BI companies: Sentient and Crystalloids, both based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.