COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE AS A KEY TOOL FOR SMES’ DIVERSIFICATION PROCESS
Mondragon University (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The present paper shows the development and use of the Competitive Intelligence as a key tool for the diversification process, and specifically in the SMEs’ diversification process.
More and more, SMEs need to change, need to do things in a new and different way, and more and more, they feel the need to diversify. They need to define their own strategy to enter into a new market or industry which the business is not currently in, or they may also need to create a new product for their current market or even for that new market.
There is no doubt about the objective, but what do the SME diversify into? How can the SME know whether there is business or not while working on a diversification idea?
There is a hard work to do from the moment a SME decides it is time to diversify to the moment a new market or sector is entered, a new business is started or a new product enters the market. From the very beginning, information is needed. Information when seeking for ideas, information when looking for opportunities, information when contrasting the viability of an idea, information when validating it, information… but, how and where do SMEs look for this information? How do they get all this information? How do they analyse it? And how do they file it away?
In order to answer all this questions, first, the paper makes a literature review making reference to concepts such as Diversification or Competitive Intelligence. Then, the diversification process is analysed, and the role of the Competitive Intelligence within this framework is explained. Finally, the process to implement a Competitive Intelligence tool is described step by step, additional suggestions such as various software that can help the SME to put the process into practice are made, and some preliminary results achieved in the first proof tests developed during the last year are shown.
Keywords: Competitive Intelligence, Diversify, Diversification software, SMEs.