On December 23rd, Arun Jethmalani, Founder & Managing Director at ValueNotes Database Pvt. Ltd. in India, published an article to LinkedIn entitled 5 Debates about Competitive Intelligence that will never be resolved. The article essentially lays out five of the canonical questions that are a constant dialogue in the CI community. I won't share his insights, you'll have to read the article for that, but the five questions he puts forward are:
1. Should CI be strategic or tactical?
2. Where should CI reside?
3. Insight versus information?
4. How to calculate RoI on competitive intelligence?
5. What exactly is competitive intelligence?
I would add two questions, that may be a bit more controversial: Is CI a profession or a set of competencies? And does it even matter?
There are several comments on the article, including one from me where I suggest that the answers to all the questions are blowing in the corporate culture. For law firms especially, I think the existential question of what CI is or should be – a library function, a marketing role, a KM/BD hybrid is fun to think about in your spare time, but analysis paralysis (hat tip to Fleisher and Bensoussan) gets you nowhere. As we usher in 2015, I think the article and its underlying questions is a great reminder to know your clients, know your audience and anticipate their needs – be they intel – or otherwise. The ability to deliver answers, insights, and whatever else is needed on time, just in time, and in advance, is the ultimate factor for CI success and happiness. However you define it.