Competitive Intelligence, a critical part of corporate strategy, and also one of the most misunderstood, has evolved tremendously since it was officially inaugurated in the mid 80’s. Now,clearCi, a company based out of Fort Lauderdale, FL, arrived to transform it by making information simpler and more accessible than ever. The practice, innocently confused by many as ‘spying’, consists of collection, classification and distribution of information about the competition in order to facilitate better strategic decisions.
The Internet changed the form in which secondary intelligence was collected since instead of retrieving it from supermarket aisles, pamphlets, books, and TV commercials, now it’s available online, and for the most part, what Competitive Intelligence (CI) professionals need to do is surf the Internet to gather information from numerous websites; still a time consuming proposition. Recently, with the evolution of search crawlers, some companies simplified the task, but now clearCi is making a big push by simplifying the process to unprecedented levels thanks to patent-pending algorithms and technology.
When asked to explain what the cloud-based SaaS platform does Co-Founder Joe Levy is reluctant to offer complicated explanations, rightfully using one sentence: “We offer software tools that help you keep track of your competition.” How so? The marketing team breaks it down further by saying that the technology works as an automated CI informant hired to monitor any competitor webpage or data source related to products, industries, markets, customers, vendors and even key partners. The tool cuts through the clutter caused by Big Data, and only relevant information is gathered and stored into an online portal that organizes data into channels, sharable folders, and reports, making data more manageable across an entire footprint.