Business Intelligence Vs. Competitive Intelligence – A Guide For Beginners

Guest post 22.7.2021. Reading Time: 6 minutes


In the current fast-paced world of e-business, there is a number of strategies and phenomena used. Due to which number of new terms are introduced and beginners often confuse these terms with that of a similar name.

Business Intelligence (BI) and Competitive intelligence (CI) are counted among them. Both the terms are different and have different purposes. But the aim of both the phenomena is the same, to direct decision-making.

These terms have gained popularity because of their effectiveness and efficiency. Around 94% of companies are investing in competitive intelligence. Similar is the case with business intelligence; see the following figure depicting the adoption of phenomena in organizations. 


Let’s discuss both the phenomenon in more detail. 

  1. What is Business Intelligence?

BI is the process of extracting authentic data from the relevant resource and analyzing it. This analysis must lead towards a better understanding of competition, industry, and customers. 

The organizations which are professional in BI collect raw data and turn it into an actionable one. They trace trends and developments from their data and use that to overthrow competitors in the market.

The general elements observed in the BI can be; the effectiveness of the organization’s B2B sales strategies, customer’s demand, or activities that engage consumers. Different tools and strategies can be used for BI, including benchmarking, sales analytics, and reporting.    

  1. Role of Business Intelligence

The role of BI in an organization is significant; it is included as a preamble in all the strategies. Succeeding is the role that BI plays in an organization.

  • Data Collection and Organization: The primary role of BI is to analyze all the data that the organization requires. Moreover, a BI analyst identifies key business intelligent technologies to organize data.  
  • Evaluate and Analyze: The collected data is evaluated, and all the junk is removed from the storage. Next, the analyst analyzes all the data sets that can be useful for the organization. 
  • Usage of Data: The collected data after analyzes is presented in a presentable form. This can be graphical or tabular form. 
  • Storage of Data: The analyzed and prepared big data is stored in a secured cloud-based system. 
  • Briefing Departments: The secondary role of BI is to brief every department regarding the data collected. It is responsible for accurate predictions and future analysis of that department. 
  1. Benefits Of Business Intelligence

The BI is beneficial for the whole business; its impact is not limited to one department or team. Succeeding are the benefits of BI department-wise.

  • Product Marketing: You can increase the efficiency of your product marketing team by the BI. It provides extensive data which facilitates in launching a new product in the market. Along with this, it can also be used to identify sales enablement activities that can lead to a successful marketing campaign.
  • Marketing: The in-depth analysis of marketing campaigns, overall site traffic, and blog post metrics is a matter of a few clicks with BI. The usage of BI excludes the additional file work, outsourcing research, and long discussions. You can now directly discuss based on facts and figures.
  • Sales: The BI is most beneficial for the sales department. Dividing the data related to the sales number can predict the future monetary benefits of any business activity. It can also predict the average sales cycle length and the departments performing the best.
  • C-Suite: The executives of every organization are in search of in-depth information from every department. The BI can resolve their problem and can provide them with a direct source of information. By implementing BI, they can get informed about the; process, hiring, investments, and business decisions. 
  • Product: The overall market condition for the product that includes; usage, active users, and adoption can be identified from BI. It can provide other valuable information for the development of the product. Moreover, it can support beta testing of your future market products.
  • Human Resource: HR can analyze current employees’ performance and track the previous employees. Furthermore, the payrolls, office culture, employee training, employee leaves, and employee stays can also be managed by the BI.
  1. What is Competitive Intelligence?

The CI is generally considered as the competitor’s information. However, it is a broad subject and can cover multiple aspects of a business.

The CI can be defined as the phenomena that facilitate the organization in increasing their revenue options and decreasing their strategic risk. The intelligence and data are used to increase competitiveness in accordance with the business environment and pricing strategies

The whole process is segmented into four different processes. These are; collecting data, evaluating the raw data, disseminating data to stakeholders, and taking action on the basis of the data set. 

  1. The focus of Competitive Intelligence

The number of competitors is increasing rapidly. A single CI department can’t cover all the current and future competitors of the product.

Therefore, it is suggested to prioritize the targets and objectives of your CI program. Conclusively, it can perform well if it is focused on a single department at a time.

For instance, your ultimate motive is to increase the sales of your product. Then you should focus on the sales strategies of competitors. However, if you are willing to launch a new product in the market, the focus must shift accordingly.

In case of multiple priorities, you should increase the number of CI employees and enhance the CI tools usage.  

  1. Stakeholders in Competitive Intelligence

For running a successful CI campaign, it is essential to identify the stakeholders first. The CI will be answerable to all these stakeholders. Therefore, the specific definition of stakeholders should be provided to the CI first.

The stakeholders will be responsible for drafting a CI function and reviewing it regularly under different circumstances. The typical stakeholders may include; product managers, sales representatives, executives, and marketers of the organization.  

  1. Benefits of Competitive Intelligence

Similar to BI, the CI is also beneficial for all the departments in an organization. Generally, beginners get confused that CI is only useful for the sales department, but it is not true.

Following are the impacts of CI on different departments. 

  • Product Marketing: Knowing about your competition is the biggest advantage of CI to the product. This set of information can be used to analyze the market grip of your competing products on the contrary to your current position. Moreover, you can also draft your future marketing strategies based on this data.
  • Marketing: The marketing department can have direct insight into all the marketing strategies utilized by the opposition. Their SEO ranking, social media performance, and even content marketing strategies can be traced by the marketing department. This is the biggest source of information to differentiate your products from that of competitors’ ones in the market.
  • Sales: The sales team works on the positioning of their product in the market. The CI is the best source for evaluating their current position. They are always in search of promotional offers that can beat their competitors; this information is provided by the CI.
  • C-Suite: The executives can fund new campaigns, track new companies for acquisition, and partnerships with newer firms. 
  1. Business Intelligence Vs. Competitive Intelligence

The BI and CI are two different phenomena, but they are interlinked with each other. The CI is even considered as a part of BI. This s because the information collected from the CI is later used in the BI. 

For instance, if an organization is facing a major decline in their sales or monetary losses, they must consider data provided by the CI. It can be either due to the new product launched by the competitor, or they might have taken academic writing services for content marketing. The stakeholders will be able to use BI on the basis of these data sets provided by CI.

However, the skill set required for both phenomena is different. The BI is a more technical field and requires knowledge regarding; database design, data management, and quantitative functions. 

On the contrary, CI is majorly dependent upon strategic analysis and prediction; the numbers are less emphasized in this domain. Still, both the phenomena work parallel to each other and serve major functions in an organization.     

Wrapping it up

The convenient reach to the internet and computing devices are supporting the digitalization of the globe. This rapid movement also creates competitive marketing in every domain, which makes it tougher to stay.

The BI and CI are the two different business phenomena that can be used to maintain your position in the market. The CI provides all the necessary details regarding your competitors. On the contrary, the BI supports taking future divisions on the basis of these statistics.

I hope the details that I have mentioned will be enough for a beginner to grasp the concepts of Bi and CI. 

Author’s Bio

Amanda Jerelyn is currently working as a Content Executive at Crowd Writer. You can take assignment help from her, as she is an expert content editor. She is a dedicated content writer and a passionate business analyst. Her passion and dedication are visible from her blogs.