This article is the latest in our questions respected Competitive Intelligence professionals. This week we speak to Professor Fumiyuki Takahashi of the Japan University of Economics. At the end of this series of questions, we will analyse the answers and publish a report.

1. In your view, what’s Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive Intelligence is the action of identifying, gathering, analysing information, and then distributing Intelligence to support strategic decision making.

2. In your view, what’s the true benefit of CI?
CI’s real benefit is understanding competitive environments, tracking industry trends, and making better business decisions.

3. How would you advise a company with no experience in Competitive Intelligence to get started?
Start to set their own goals, identify competitors, and use the right tools.

4. What analytical tools do you recommend?
It depends on the company’s situation. I think Competitor Analysis, Competitor Value Chain Analysis, Benchmark, Gap analysis, and Scenario Planning etc., are useful tools.

5. Competitive Intelligence is becoming too much about risk mitigation, copying the competitor and the last dataset. And not enough about growth, exploration and creation. It can stop people from being original, risky and creative enough. Do you agree?
I partially agree that CI is becoming too focused on avoiding risks. Indeed, CI has been conducting information gathering and analysis activities with competitive strategy in mind. However, CI activities are also evolving according to the demands of the times. Currently, the fusion of external information and internal knowledge is constantly changing with the aim of corporate growth.

6. Without giving away anything confidential, what’s the best result you have achieved with CI?
It contributed to the decision-making of the company’s medium-term strategy through the intelligence activities in which I was involved.

7. Artificial Intelligence and platforms will transform CI, and there will be no need for human input in the future. The longevity of the job of a Competitive Intelligence analyst is limited? Do you agree?
I’m not at all convinced that there will be a time when human input is no longer needed. No matter how much AI has evolved, it cannot replace human Intelligence providing the most accurate strategic information directly.

8. Finally, what’s the one piece of advice you would give a CI analyst?
A CI analyst should cooperate with consultants, marketing, as well as professional data analysts.

Competitive Intelligence expert Professor Fumiyuki Takahashi of the Japan University of Economics
In this article, Competitive Intelligence expert Professor Fumiyuki Takahashi of the Japan University of Economics answered our questions. This article is part of a series where we ask great people who really understand Competitive Intelligence their thoughts on the subject.

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