Communications firms in Israel and worldwide often use competitive information services. What is the significance of establishing a system for collecting competitive information services in a firm? How does a competitive information service unit operate a
Competitive Information Services for Communications Firms
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Competitive Information Services for Communications Firms


By Uri Shitrit

Private investigators working in the framework of a licensed investigation agency are practiced in the collection of business information. Surveillances, address location services, and financial investigations are the leading areas of activity in a private investigation agency. There are few private investigators, however, that can set up a proper system for providing competitive information services to interested clients. Before choosing to become a private investigator, I set up and directed the system for business information at the communications firm, Barak 013.

The communications companies Internet Zahav and Netvision were recently licensed as international call operators. The new operators that joined the existing ones (Barak 013, Kavei Zahav, and International Bezeq) didn’t waste any time. Internet Zahav’s aggressive campaign and Netvision’s more restrained campaign shook the older competitors who provide a range of communications services (internet and international calls) to both the private and business sectors.

The public began to be exposed to sales and advertising campaigns that tried to convince potential clients to purchase the most economical communications package. The target audience was supposed to benefit from the fact that two new providers had joined the market, thus competing with the old providers. The clients were then in a position to carefully examine the offers presented to them through advertisements and choose the most economical and best suited package for their needs.

Each communications provider, like the private and business clients, had to adapt to the new conditions in the market in order to be able to reach its selected target audience first, offer it the most attractive package possible, and add it to a pool of set clients.  Achieving this goal is possible when a system for business information is set up within each of the communications companies.

The communication company directors had to quickly accept an undisputable fact - that the most strategically important asset to an organization is business information regarding their competitors and about the business environments in which their competitors are operating. It is time that directors give up their old views about conducting business, and accept the contribution of competitive information service employees to their company.

 Subscribing to financial newspapers that provide information about your competitors is a good start, but not enough. Going to conferences in Israel and abroad and collecting countless brochures, watching impressive presentations, and checking the websites of your competitors on a daily basis is also good and important, but still far from acting as a professional and established system of competitive information services whose services are a necessity of the times.

To those company directors with an approach that is not opportunistic, but rather progressive and well suited to the competitive environment, I suggest establishing a cross-company team run by an internal or external director with rich experience and knowledge that can define the needs, goals, and collection destinations to the system of business information collection. This team should be granted an initial budget for its activities. The first action taken by this team should be to locate employees within the organization who have useful information regarding competitors.

Many employees who have worked for competitors in the past come to their new jobs with accumulated knowledge from their previous employment.  It is very important to encourage internal sources of information to cooperate with the team, analyze the data collected, process it, and then fill in the gaps by using other sources of collecting information.

Locating additional sources for collecting information and analyzing and evaluating this new information is the work mainly done by the competitive business information system. There is an abundance of informative sources, most of which are revealed and open to the public, but the information provided by such sources is not always focused. This information needs to be enriched by both primary sources of information and sources in the field.

1.Open Sources
  • Internet sites of competing companies
  • Search engines
  • Director biographies
  • Financial or other specialized newspapers
  • The stock market for banking securities
  • Wanted ads
  • Market studies and statistical data
  • Technical journals
  • Expert forums
  • Financial reports of companies
  • Legal-criminal, civilian, and labor court proceedings
  • The government website
  • Government tenders
  • The exportation institute
  • The institute of standards
  • Non-profit organizations and other such associates that “guard democracy” (e.g. The Movement for Quality Government)
  • The patent registry

    2.Sources in the Field

    Salespeople of the company
    Company employees
    Service providers (advertising, printing, materials, software, etc.)
    Agents and distributors
    Candidates for employment
    Tours of competitor factories or buildings
    Conferences and exhibitions
    Stockholder meetings

    Proper and educated use of a competitive information services unit and the yield that it produces can avert directors and company owners from unnecessary business adventures that could potentially jeopardize the financial and business security of a company in the realm in which it operates. The use of a competitive information service unit via operating an internal or external director must be methodical with an eye towards long term goals.

    Only the planned, controlled, and steady collection of information as defined by a work plan can produce the professional tools necessary in order to make educated decisions.

    Remember: the establishment of a system for quality, professional competitive information collection can contribute positively to the process of decision making, strengthening of financial power, and improvement of competitive abilities of a company against its competitors.

    Yanir Levin Intelligence Advising - A Private Investigation Agency ensures you investigations and information services on a different level!