Business and Competitive Analysis: Effective Application of New and Classic Methods

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Overview

Meet any business or competitive analysis challenge: deliver actionable business insights and on-point recommendations that enterprise decision makers can’t and won’t ignore! All you need is one book: Business and Competitive Analysis, Second Edition . This generation’s definitive guide to business and competitive analysis has now been thoroughly updated with additional methods, applications and examples. Craig S. Fleisher and Babette E. Bensoussan begin with a practical primer on the process and context of business and competitive analysis: how it works, how to avoid pitfalls, and how to communicate results. Next, they introduce their unique FAROUT method for choosing the right tools for each assignment. The authors then present dozens of today’s most valuable analysis methods. They cover “classic” techniques, such as McKinsey 7S and industry analysis, as well as emerging techniques from multiple disciplines: economics, corporate finance, sociology, anthropology, and the intelligence and futurist communities. You’ll find full chapters outlining effective analysis processes; avoiding pitfalls; communicating results; as well as drill-downs on analyzing industries, competitive positioning, business models, supply chains, strategic relationships, corporate reputation, critical success factors, driving forces, technology change, cash flow, and much more. For every method, Fleisher and Bensoussan present clear descriptions, background context, strategic rationales, strengths, weaknesses, step-by-step instructions, and references. The result is a book every analyst, strategist, and manager can rely on – in any industry, for any challenge.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131873667
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 3/13/2007
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 7.16 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Authors Fleisher and Bensoussan are uniquely placed as experts in the field of business and competitive analysis. They have extensive corporate consulting, research, and teaching experience in both strategy and intelligence fields, and have both published and spoken internationally. Their collaboration also brings the book a healthy balance of both theory and application.

Craig S. Fleisher is the Chief Learning Officer and Director of Professional Development, Aurora WDC, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Craig was President of the Board of Directors of the international Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Competitive Intelligence Foundation (Washington, DC), founding Editor of the Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management, and is a SCIP Meritorious Award winner and Fellow. Author or editor of a dozen books and scores of scholarly articles and chapters, Craig is among the top-cited Google Scholars in several fields, and contributes on several scholarly journals’ editorial boards. He was recognized as one of Canada’s top MBA professors by Canadian Business magazine, is named in the Canadian Who’s Who, and has taught university and executive courses in the strategy, analysis, and competitive intelligence areas for nearly three decades.
He was formerly a Professor, endowed research Chair, dean, MBA director and/or Institute Chair at the Universities of Calgary, New Brunswick, Windsor, and Wilfrid Laurier in Canada, as well as the College of Coastal Georgia. Craig holds a PhD in Business from the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, MBA in Human Resources Management and Marketing from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University, and his BSBA (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) from the University of Florida.
A well-traveled speaker, he regularly advises leading corporations, associations, and public sector agencies on analysis processes and insight development. Craig holds a Docent appointment in the Dept. of Business Information Mgmt. at Tampere University of Technology (FI), graduate faculty status at the Universita della Svizzera italiana (CH), and visiting positions at universities in eight countries.

Babette E. Bensoussan is an internationally esteemed leader in the field of Competitive Intelligence (CI) and Strategy. Her credentials are built upon a long-standing series of outstanding achievements, both business and academic. She is Australia’s only awarded CI professional and is one of the most published business authors. Throughout her career Babette has excelled as an entrepreneur, a consultant, a company director, a board member, an author, an academic and a business coach.
In 1992 Babette founded the MindShifts Group, a leading consulting company specializing in Competitive Intelligence and Strategy. As company director Babette has led the MindShifts Group through more than 350 projects with Australian and Fortune 500 companies. Her skills and expertise have been successfully applied to a huge range of industries, and her clients have included (but are not limited to) aerospace, information technology, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and financial services companies. In 2006 Babette was the recipient of the SCIP Meritorious Award, the world’s most prestigious award in the field of Competitive Intelligence.
In addition to providing her talent and experience to her clients, Babette has a strong passion for sharing her uniquely honed expertise with others through mentoring and coaching. Author of six books and scores of articles and chapters, she has taught executive courses and held teaching positions at many of Australia’s leading universities and business schools. She is currently an Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Their books include Strategic and Competitive Analysis and Analysis Without Paralysis.

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Preface

Preface

This is a book about how individuals in organizations can turn data and information into insights that decision makers cannot and will not ignore. This book provides its readers with 24 commonly applied methods for helping generate actionable recommendations for decision makers, as well as a handful of detailed chapters that address the process of competitive analysis itself.

Given the priority of competitiveness in firms today, business managers need to have a benchmark about what business and competitive analysis is and how it works. More importantly, they need to be able to convert the wealth of available data and information into a valuable form for decision-making and subsequent actions. Collected data must be converted into intelligence. This is accomplished through analysis.

Business and Competitive Analysis (BCA) is a book about analysis. Analysis is one of the more difficult and critical roles a manager, consultant, functional specialist, strategist, or intelligence provider is called upon to perform. Although great strides have been made in recent years in terms of planning strategy and intelligence projects and collecting data, the same cannot be said for analysis.

Much of the background research we performed in developing this book was derived from practice and research in the larger field of competitive intelligence (CI). This field is not one most of our readers will have encountered during their formal education, and their current employers may not have anybody with that discipline in their job titles. Nevertheless, nearly every firm performs some of the CI functions, and most of them perform it on a regular basis in advance of making key decisions. Analysis is one of the key roles performed by individuals in the CI field, and it is the one that arguably generates the highest value for executives. In our view, business and competitive analysis can and should be a key weapon in the firm's arsenal for achieving competitive advantage.

Despite many advances and steady growth in the CI field, some areas of this growing field have received more or less attention than others. The growth of digital communication and information technology and especially the Internet has led to much attention being given to processes and techniques of data collection, as well as information and knowledge management. Planning competitive intelligence projects has also received a boost from the ever-present attention given more broadly to strategic planning and strategy development. Despite these areas of popular interest, two areas that have received disproportionately less attention are analysis and its communication. In fact, our own observations, experiences, and several studies underlie the authors' contention that many practitioners have limited understanding of the breadth and depth of the challenge underlying these areas.

We seek to remedy this situation by offering this needed book that is devoted entirely to the process, tools, and techniques for conducting business and competitive analysis. This is our second book in this subject matter area, with our first, called Strategic and Competitive Analysis: Methods and Techniques for Analyzing Business Competition, having been published several years ago and subsequently translated into half a dozen different languages. We received a lot of constructive feedback on that effort, particularly from managers and analysts who were using the techniques described in that book. Based on the feedback and reviews, readers typically found it to be an excellent, one-stop source for reminding and guiding them on the key steps of a particular tool to address a particular problem they were facing, as well as providing them with an enhanced idea of what was supposed to be accomplished by applying the tool. That book was used in many well-known enterprises to help train newly hired analysts and consultants. Finally, the book was used in business school courses in scores of countries to help students learn and apply these techniques to decision-oriented case studies and "real-world" projects.

We took the feedback we received and incorporated it into this book in the form of a wider range of proven techniques and a better background on the process and context of business and competitive analysis. This book is absolutely not a second edition and contains completely new content. Between the two books, we provide lengthy coverage of nearly 50 different techniques, which is surely the most detailed coverage of business and competitive analysis methods ever produced.

We recognize that there are literally hundreds of business and competitive analysis techniques that we could have included in this book. It was not our intention to offer an exhaustive list and detailed description of all these techniques. Instead, we have extensively reviewed the literature in the field, considered survey research and our own experiences in determining those techniques we view as potentially being the most applicable across a broad range of decision making contexts supported by the business and competitive analysis process.

Although we have tried to include both "classic" and evolving techniques, we recognize that some techniques that are being used in consulting and industry may not be included here. One reason for this is that some of these tools are and remain proprietary to the consultancies employing them. Another part of the reason we may not have included a useful tool here is that analysis is a process that requires both technical knowledge and creativity. We recognize and hope that managers and analysts will creatively develop techniques not included in this book that provide for better outcomes in their specific contexts.

The reader should also be alert to the fact that any listing of techniques is bound to run into a variety of problems of semantics and definitional confusion. Some of the techniques included in this book are known by multiple names. This may have occurred because the technique came to be associated with a particular originating organization or particular company's use (e.g., McKinsey 7S), a particular author (e.g., Porter's Five Forces Model), or has retained a generic name (e.g., benchmarking analysis). We recognize that some of the techniques included in this book have seen modifications in use over the years or are derivatives of other closely related techniques. In all cases, we have tried to include and describe the most popularly utilized versions of the techniques, as opposed to all of a technique's possible derivatives. Throughout our methods chapters, we have tried to alert the reader to where there is overlap between techniques by suggesting that the reader refer to the overlapping constructs elsewhere in the text.

Many of the techniques included in this book were created by leading economists, financial and cost accountants, futurists, sociologists, anthropologists, intelligence agencies, business professors, consultants, and other insightful practitioners or theoreticians. They often developed their ideas in an effort to solve pressing analytical problems that they faced. We are grateful to these individuals for enlightening our understanding of business and competitive analysis. We make a sincere attempt to acknowledge the originators of these techniques in the book.

We must also note to our readers that it was not our primary intention to "invent a new wheel" when it comes to analytical techniques. The techniques we have included all have a history, with some having been applied for several decades or longer. This book's techniques have been and are in use in real organizations and do not exist just in theory. However, we have included several techniques that are likely to be unfamiliar or novel to many readers, even those who have gone through graduate business, management, or marketing courses, as well as individuals who have been performing analysis in their enterprises for many years. We believe strongly that unfamiliarity is a particularly bad indicator of a method's value. We believe our readers will find that even some of the new techniques (to them at least) will be of high potential value in helping them make sense of their firm's business and competitive contexts.

How to Use the Book

To assist our readers, the majority of this book is self-contained, with the array of analytical techniques being supported by references for further reading for those individuals who want lengthier treatments. The book is organized into two main sections, with the first providing the reader with an understanding of what the evolving body of knowledge in the field has revealed about analysis in its real-world context and how analysis processes actually are supposed to work.

This book includes five detailed chapters that describe, define, and discuss the basic facts about analysis, how analysis can ideally be performed, avoiding analytical pitfalls, and communicating analysis results. The last chapter in the opening section describes our unique FAROUT method for understanding the application of the various tools. We strongly recommend that readers thoroughly review that particular chapter before progressing into the remaining sections of the book that contain coverage of the analytical techniques themselves.

We have tried to make the book easy for the reader to use. The basic structure of the chapters containing the analytical techniques is common throughout the second part of the book and contains the following format:

  • Short Description—A brief definition of the purpose and objective of the analytical model to provide an analyst with a quick and handy reference guide.
  • Background—To place the model in context of management, this section outlines a broad description of the history behind the development of the analytical technique.
  • Strategic Rationale and Implications—Understanding the strategic thinking and implications associated with a particular analytical technique is important in order to evaluate the appropriateness of a particular tool. This section reviews the strategic issues inherent in each technique.
  • Strengths and Advantages—Each model has its own strengths and advantages that need to be weighed in light of the purpose of the analysis. This section briefly reviews those strengths and advantages.
  • Weaknesses and Limitations—Likewise, each model has its own inherent weaknesses and limitations. The weaknesses/limitations identified in this section need to be taken into account when performing the analysis.
  • Process for Applying the Technique—This is the "how to" of the analytical technique and identifies the necessary steps required to use this tool. Case studies, figures, and tables are also provided to guide the analyst through the strategic thinking required for each model.
  • FAROUT Summary—Unique to this book, the FAROUT Summary allows analysts, at a quick glance, to identify the ease of use, practicality, and usefulness of each model.
  • Related Tools and Techniques—Each model of analysis is related to or supported by a number of other techniques that may aid or enhance the analyst's task. This section provides a useful guide of related tools and techniques that support the objective and purpose of each analytical model.
  • References—For those analysts wanting to delve further into a particular technique, references for additional readings are provided at the end of each chapter.

Readers will benefit by becoming familiar with this template. This book was not designed to be read in one sitting—if nothing else, its length would probably make that an extremely tiring task and practically impossible for most individuals. Instead, we have designed it as a handy comparison and reference source. In this respect, it can be most effectively applied in a "just in time" fashion so as to proactively or concurrently meet an organization's analytical needs as they arise.

The book features conceptual ideas about business and competitive analysis, along with a strong bias toward practical application. Among the unique aspects of this book that readers should find valuable are the following:

  • It provides in one easy location two-dozen of the most common and popular models of analysis used in business. Normally, executives and students would have to go to multiple sources to locate each model. Here, for the first time, the most commonly used models are defined and explained in one book.
  • Every model is also uniquely evaluated using FAROUT—an evaluation process for identifying the ease of use, practicality, and usefulness of each model. FAROUT allows analysts or decision-makers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques.
  • An easy-to-use, consistent format (i.e., template) is utilized to provide the reader with a faster understanding of how to apply the techniques.
  • The book covers both the so-called "classic" strategy techniques, such as industry analysis, along with some of the newer popular techniques, such as business model analysis. Several of these models, such as win/loss analysis, strategic relationship analysis, driving forces analysis, and event and timeline analysis, among others, have never been treated this comprehensively in any other publication.
  • It provides external techniques addressing the environments and industry that the organization competes in, along with the techniques for focusing internally on the organization.
  • It provides references to more comprehensive treatments of the techniques for those who want to investigate them in greater depth.

We expect to stimulate others to begin closing some of the knowledge gaps in business and competitive analysis that we have explicitly and implicitly identified throughout this book's chapters. We also hope that this book encourages practitioners to further share their experiences and observations with researchers and teachers like us in the field. We anticipate that the book will compel our readers to question some, if not a large number, of their current analysis practices and understanding. Our ultimate aim is that this book be viewed as a valuable contribution to the knowledge and practice of business and competitive analysis. Whether or not we achieve our aim is left in your hands, our readers, as it should be. Please feel free to contact either of us if you would care to share your views.

Babette E. Bensoussan Craig S. Fleisher

The Mindshifts Group Pty. Ltd. Odette School of Business Level 6, 8 Help Street University of Windsor Chatswood 401 Sunset Avenue—508 OB New South Wales 2067 Windsor, Ontario, N9B 3P4 Australia Canada

telephone: +(61-2) 9411-3900 telephone: 519-253-3000 x3455

fax: +(61-2) 9411-3636 fax: 519-973-7073

email: babette@mindshifts.com.au email: fleisher@uwindsor.ca

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Preface xxix
SECTION 1: ESSENTIALS OF PERFORMING BUSINESS AND COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS
Chapter 1 Business and Competitive Analysis: Definition, Context, and Benefits 3

Understanding the Terminology 4
Competitive 4
Strategic 5
Analysis 6
Intelligence 8
Analysis as a Component in the Intelligence Cycle 10
Competitive Analysis and Decision Making 11
The Competitive Context Facing Contemporary Enterprises 13
Contemporary Context Facing the Analyst 14
Shifting Organizational Priorities for Analysts and Analysis 16
Summary 17
References 18
Chapter 2 Performing the Analysis Process 22
Understanding the “Customers” of Your Analysis Work 23
Defining the Analysis Problem 25
Identifying the Scope of the Analysis 26
Intelligence Analysis at Differing Organizational Levels 31
Strategic Intelligence Analysis 32
Tactical Intelligence Analysis 32
Operational Intelligence Analysis 33
Micro Intelligence Analysis 33
Evaluating the Inputs to Analysis 34
Making Sense of the Analysis 37
Facts 37
Perceptions 38
Beliefs 38
Assumptions 38
Projections 38
Synthesis 39
Infrastructure to Support the Analysis Process 39
Intelligence Solutions 40
Limitations of Intelligence Solutions 40
Managing the Internal Network 41
Developing and Managing the External Network 42
Proactivity, Efficiency, and Perpetual Learning 43
Summary 44
Fleisher and Bensoussan’s 10 Commandments for Business and Competitive Analysis 45
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Chapter 3 Avoiding Analysis Pitfalls by Developing Analytical Fitness 48
Trade-Offs Made by Analysts 48
Analysis of Failure 49
Failure Location 49
Sources of Failure 50
Four-Level Hierarchical Model of Analysis Failures 51
Individual Analyst-Level Failures 53
Analysis Task-Level Failures 55
Internal Organizational-Level Failures 57
External Environment-Level Failures 59
The Movement to a New Generation of Analysis 62
Overcoming the Barriers and Improving Performance through Developing Analytical Fitness 63
Summary 65
References 66
Chapter 4 Communicating Analysis Results 69
The Art of Effective Communication 69
Packaging the Results of Your Analysis 71
Delivering the Message 71
Face-to-Face Briefings 72
Written Reports and Briefings 72
Presentations in Meetings, Seminars, and Workshops 72
E-Mail/Instant Messaging 73
Web-Based Intelligence Solutions and Systems 73
Exercises and Planning Sessions 74
Common Products and Reports Used by Analysts 74
News Bulletins and Newsletters 74
Assessments 76
Competitor Profiles 76
Battlecards 76
Strategic Impact Worksheets 77
Intelligence Briefings 77
Situation Analysis 78
Special Intelligence Summaries 78
Creating the Report 78
Communication Difficulties Faced by Analysts 79
Effective Listening and Answering the Questions of Decision Makers 86
Conduct Communication Follow-Up and Gather Feedback 87
Pragmatic Considerations 87
Summary 89
References 90
Chapter 5 Applying the FAROUT Method 92
Applying the Techniques 94
An Evaluation Scheme for Assessing the Adequacy of Tools and Techniques: FAROUT 95
Using the FAROUT Rating System 98
References 101

SECTION II: NEW AND CLASSIC METHODS OF BUSINESS AND COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS
Chapter 6 A Better SWOT Analysis 105

Background 105
Strategic Rationale and Implications 107
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 110
Strengths and Advantages 111
Weaknesses and Limitations 112
Process for Applying the SWOT Technique 113
Worksheet 119
FAROUT Summary 120
Related Tools and Techniques 122
References 122
Chapter 7 Analysis of Competing Hypotheses 123
Background 123
Strategic Rationale and Implications 124
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 125
Strengths and Advantages 126
Weaknesses and Limitations 127
Process for Applying the Technique 128
Step 1: Identify the Possible Hypotheses to Be Considered 128
Step 2: List the Significant Evidence in Support of and Against Each Hypothesis 128
Step 3: Prepare a Matrix with Hypotheses Across the Top and Evidence Down the Side 129
Step 4: Refine the Matrix 130
Step 5: Draw Tentative Conclusions About the Relative Likelihood of Each Hypothesis by Trying to Disprove It 131
Step 6: Analyze How Sensitive Your Conclusion Is to a Few Critical Pieces of Evidence 132
Step 7: Report Conclusions 132
Step 8: Identify Milestones for Future Observation That May Indicate Events Are Taking a Different Course Than Expected 133
Summary 133
Worksheet 133
FAROUT Summary 134
Related Tools and Techniques 136
References 136
Chapter 8 Benchmarking Analysis 137
Background 137
Strategic Rationale and Implications 138
Taxonomy of Benchmarking 139
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 143
Strengths and Advantages 144
Weaknesses and Limitations 145
Process for Applying the Technique 147
Step 1: Identify the Processes That Need to Be Benchmarked 147
Step 2: Identify Performance Measures 148
Step 3: Evaluate Your Own Firm’s Capabilities 150
Step 4: Identify Firms to Be Benchmarked 150
Step 5: Conduct Research of Selected Firms 151
Step 6: Analyze the Collected Data and Develop an Action Plan 152
Worksheet 155
FAROUT Summary 156
Related Tools and Techniques 157
References 157
Chapter 9 Business Model Analysis 159
Background 160
Strategic Rationale and Implications 161
The Business Model 162
Classification of Business Models 164
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 167
Strengths and Advantages 167
Weaknesses and Limitations 168
Process for Applying the Technique 168
Step 1: Articulate the Value Proposition 168
Step 2: Specify the Target Segment 170
Step 3: Determine Competitors 170
Step 4: Evaluate the Value Chain and the Cost Model 171
Step 5: Evaluate the Value Network 173
Step 6: Determine the Revenue Model for the Firm 174
Step 7: Determine the Critical Success Factors for the Industry 175
Step 8: Complete an Analysis Grid Detailing Each Element of the Business Model 175
Worksheet 179
FAROUT Summary 179
Related Tools and Techniques 181
References 181
Chapter 10 Competitive Positioning Analysis 183
Background 183
Strategic Rationale and Implications 184
Develop and Build on the Firm’s Position 185
Maintain and Hold the Firm’s Strong Market Position 186
Defend a Dominant Position 186
Withdraw from a Market 186
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 187
Strengths and Advantages 187
Weaknesses and Limitations 188
Process for Applying the Technique 189
Step 1: Identify Current Strategy and Market/Product/Project Parameters 190
Step 2: Conduct Analysis 192
Step 3: Review Results and Formulate Positioning Strategy 193
Summary 195
Worksheet 197
FAROUT Summary 198
Related Tools and Techniques 200
References 200
Chapter 11 Competitor Cash Flow Analysis 202
Background 202
Strategic Rationale and Implications 204
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 206
Strengths and Advantages 207
Weaknesses and Limitations 208
Processes for Applying the Technique 209
Future Cash Flow Analysis 210
Tip Sheet on Cash Flow Analysis 211
Worksheet 218
FAROUT Summary 219
Related Tools and Techniques 220
References 221
Chapter 12 Critical Success Factors Analysis 222
Background 222
Strategic Rationale and Implications 224
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 229
Strengths and Advantages 229
Weaknesses and Limitations 230
Process for Applying the Technique 231
Leidecker and Bruno’s Identification Techniques 232
Determining Critical Success Factor Importance 236
Worksheet 238
FAROUT Summary 239
Related Tools and Techniques 240
References 241
Chapter 13 Driving Forces Analysis 243
Background 243
Strategic Rationale and Implications 244
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 244
Strengths and Advantages 245
Weaknesses and Limitations 246
Process for Applying the Technique 246
Step 1: Identifying an Industry’s DFs 247
Step 2: Assessing the Impact of the DFs 250
Worksheet 258
FAROUT Summary 259
Related Tools and Techniques 260
References 261
Chapter 14 Event and Timeline Analysis 263
Background 263
Strategic Rationale and Implications 264
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 265
Strengths and Advantages 265
Weaknesses and Limitations 266
Process for Applying the Technique 267
Plot the Target Firm’s History of Key Events on a Line 267
Develop a Chronological Table of Events 269
Develop an Events Matrix 270
Event and Causal Factors Analysis 270
Worksheet 278
FAROUT Summary 278
Related Tools and Techniques 280
References 280
Chapter 15 Historiographical Analysis 282
Background 282
Strategic Rationale and Implications 283
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 285
Strengths and Advantages 286
Weaknesses and Limitations 287
Process for Applying the Technique 288
Step 1: Develop a General Proposition About the Analytical Target 288
Step 2: Collect Primary Information 289
Step 3: Collect and Relate Secondary Information 289
Step 4: Cross-Reference and Select the Best Sources for the Third Draft 290
Step 5: Analysis, Validation, and Reporting 290
Worksheet 292
FAROUT Summary 293
Related Tools and Techniques 294
References 295
Chapter 16 Indications and Warning Analysis 296
Background 296
Strategic Rationale and Implications 298
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 299
Strengths and Advantages 299
Weaknesses and Limitations 300
Process for Applying the Technique 302
Step 1: Establish a Set of Indicators 302
Step 2: Establish Meaning Behind Indicators 304
Step 3: Validate and Rank Indicators Against Threshold Levels to Determine When Warnings Need to Be Issued 306
Step 4: Determine and Recommend Appropriate Firm Responses to the Warning 307
Worksheet 308
FAROUT Summary 309
Related Tools and Techniques 311
References 311
Chapter 17 Industry Fusion Analysis 313
Background 313
General Environment 314
Operating Environment/Industry Analysis 317
Internal Environment 318
Strategic Rationale and Implications 318
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 320
Strengths and Advantages 321
Weaknesses and Limitations 322
Process for Applying the Technique 323
Worksheet 330
FAROUT Summary 331
Related Tools and Techniques 332
References 332
Chapter 18 Interpretation of Statistical Analysis 335
Background 335
Strategic Rationale and Implications 336
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 337
Strengths and Advantages 338
Weaknesses and Limitations 338
Process for Applying the Technique 339
Percentage Changes 339
Percentiles and Quartiles 341
Normal Distribution and Bell Curve 341
Summarizing Data with One Value–Central Tendency 342
Standard Deviation 344
Comparing Data 345
Regression Analysis 346
Correlation 350
P-Values 351
Worksheet 351
FAROUT Summary 352
Related Tools and Techniques 353
References 354
Chapter 19 Linchpin Analysis 355
Background 355
Strategic Rationale and Implications 356
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 359
Strengths and Advantages 360
Weaknesses and Limitations 360
Process for Applying the Technique 361
Linchpin Assumption Sensitivity Analysis 362
Process for Using Linchpin Analysis in Assessing Risk 363
Worksheet 364
FAROUT Summary 365
Related Tools and Techniques 366
References 367
Chapter 20 McKinsey 7S Analysis 368
Background 368
Strategic Rationale and Implications 371
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 372
Strengths and Advantages 373
Weaknesses and Limitations 374
Process for Applying the Technique 375
Worksheet 381
FAROUT Summary 381
Related Tools and Techniques 383
References 383
Chapter 21 Product Line Analysis 385
Background 385
Strategic Rationale and Implications 386
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 386
Strengths and Advantages 387
Weaknesses and Limitations 388
Process for Applying the Technique 389
Step 1: Initial Product Audit 389
Step 2: Assess the Product Relative to Its Position in the Product Life Cycle 390
Worksheet 401
FAROUT Summary 403
Related Tools and Techniques 404
References 405
Chapter 22 Scenario Analysis 407
Background 407
Strategic Rationale and Implications 408
Methods for Generating Scenarios 408
Quantitative Method: Computer-Generated Econometric Model 409
Qualitative Methods 409
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 411
Strengths and Advantages 412
Weaknesses and Limitations 413
Processes for Applying the Technique 413
Worksheet 421
FAROUT Summary 422
Related Tools and Techniques 424
References 424
Chapter 23 SERVO Analysis 425
Background 425
Strategy 426
Environment 427
Resources 428
Values 430
Organization 431
Strategic Rationale and Implications 432
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 433
Strengths and Advantages 434
Weaknesses and Limitations 434
Process for Applying the Technique 435
Step 1: Evaluate the Current Performance of the Firm 435
Step 2: Assess the Current Strategy and Discern Whether Change Is Necessary 436
Step 3: Develop and Evaluate Strategic Options and Programs 439
Worksheet 442
FAROUT Summary 443
Related Tools and Techniques 444
References 445
Chapter 24 Shadowing 447
Background 447
Strategic Rationale and Implications 450
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 451
Strengths and Advantages 451
Weaknesses and Limitations 452
Process for Applying the Technique 454
Team Composition 454
Team Structure 455
Performance Goals 455
Shadowing 456
Developing a Shadow Market Plan 458
Mini Case Studies 461
Case 1: Deregulating Utility 461
Case 2: Packaged-Food Multinational 461
Case 3: Ready-to-Eat Foods 461
Case 4: Pharmaceutical Firm 462
Worksheet 462
FAROUT Summary 463
Related Tools and Techniques 464
References 465
Chapter 25 Strategic Relationship Analysis 466
Background 466
Strategic Rationale and Implications 469
Purposes Served by SRs 469
Two Key Strategic Relationship Processes 472
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 473
Strengths and Advantages 474
Weaknesses and Limitations 475
Process for Applying the Technique 475
Studying Your Own Firm’s Relationship Formation Readiness 475
Studying a Rival’s Relationships 478
Worksheet 485
FAROUT Summary 486
Related Tools and Techniques 487
References 488
Chapter 26 Supply Chain Management (SCM) Analysis 492
Background 493
Strategic Rationale and Implications 494
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 496
Strengths and Advantages 497
Weaknesses and Limitations 498
Process for Applying the Technique 499
Rules and Tools 501
Worksheet 507
FAROUT Summary 508
Related Tools and Techniques 510
References 510
Chapter 27 Technology Forecasting 513
Background 513
Strategic Rationale and Implications 515
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 518
Strengths and Advantages 518
Weaknesses and Limitations 519
Process for Applying the Technique 521
1. Expert Opinion 522
2. Trend Extrapolation 523
3. Growth Curves 525
4. Historical Analogy 526
5. Scenarios 526
6. Modelling, Simulations, and Gaming 526
7. Morphological Analysis 527
8. Relevance Trees 527
9. Monitoring 528
10. Creativity Stimulators 529
Using the Information 531
Worksheet 535
FAROUT Summary 535
Related Tools and Techniques 537
References 537
Chapter 28 War Gaming 539
Background 539
Strategic Rationale and Implications 540
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 541
Strengths and Advantages 542
Weaknesses and Limitations 543
Process for Applying the Technique 544
Step 1: Is a War Game the Way to Go? 545
Step 2: Getting a Business War Game Off the Ground 546
Step 3: Who Should Play? 548
Step 4: Preparing for Your War Game 548
Step 5: Playing the Game 549
Step 6: After the Game 550
Worksheet 552
FAROUT Summary 553
Related Tools and Techniques 554
References 555
Chapter 29 Win/Loss Analysis 556
Background 556
Strategic Rationale and Implications 557
Key Intelligence Topics and Questions 559
Strengths and Advantages 560
Weaknesses and Limitations 561
Process for Applying the Technique 562
Step 1: Determine the Target Segments and Identify Prospects 562
Step 2: Understand Internal Cultural Issues 563
Step 3: Develop the Questionnaire 563
Step 4: Prepare for the Interviews 564
Step 5: Conduct Interviews 564
Step 6: Analyze and Interpret 565
Step 7: Disseminate 565
Worksheet 568
FAROUT Summary 570
Related Tools and Techniques 571
References 571
Index 573

The definitive practical guide to business and competitive analysis, now fully updated: all the tools, step-by-step instructions for using them, and expert guidance on choosing the right tool for every assignment!

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Preface

Preface

Preface

This is a book about how individuals in organizations can turn data and information into insights that decision makers cannot and will not ignore. This book provides its readers with 24 commonly applied methods for helping generate actionable recommendations for decision makers, as well as a handful of detailed chapters that address the process of competitive analysis itself.

Given the priority of competitiveness in firms today, business managers need to have a benchmark about what business and competitive analysis is and how it works. More importantly, they need to be able to convert the wealth of available data and information into a valuable form for decision-making and subsequent actions. Collected data must be converted into intelligence. This is accomplished through analysis.

Business and Competitive Analysis (BCA) is a book about analysis. Analysis is one of the more difficult and critical roles a manager, consultant, functional specialist, strategist, or intelligence provider is called upon to perform. Although great strides have been made in recent years in terms of planning strategy and intelligence projects and collecting data, the same cannot be said for analysis.

Much of the background research we performed in developing this book was derived from practice and research in the larger field of competitive intelligence (CI). This field is not one most of our readers will have encountered during their formal education, and their current employers may not have anybody with that discipline in their job titles. Nevertheless, nearly every firm performs some of the CI functions, and most of them perform it on a regular basis inadvance of making key decisions. Analysis is one of the key roles performed by individuals in the CI field, and it is the one that arguably generates the highest value for executives. In our view, business and competitive analysis can and should be a key weapon in the firm's arsenal for achieving competitive advantage.

Despite many advances and steady growth in the CI field, some areas of this growing field have received more or less attention than others. The growth of digital communication and information technology and especially the Internet has led to much attention being given to processes and techniques of data collection, as well as information and knowledge management. Planning competitive intelligence projects has also received a boost from the ever-present attention given more broadly to strategic planning and strategy development. Despite these areas of popular interest, two areas that have received disproportionately less attention are analysis and its communication. In fact, our own observations, experiences, and several studies underlie the authors' contention that many practitioners have limited understanding of the breadth and depth of the challenge underlying these areas.

We seek to remedy this situation by offering this needed book that is devoted entirely to the process, tools, and techniques for conducting business and competitive analysis. This is our second book in this subject matter area, with our first, called Strategic and Competitive Analysis: Methods and Techniques for Analyzing Business Competition, having been published several years ago and subsequently translated into half a dozen different languages. We received a lot of constructive feedback on that effort, particularly from managers and analysts who were using the techniques described in that book. Based on the feedback and reviews, readers typically found it to be an excellent, one-stop source for reminding and guiding them on the key steps of a particular tool to address a particular problem they were facing, as well as providing them with an enhanced idea of what was supposed to be accomplished by applying the tool. That book was used in many well-known enterprises to help train newly hired analysts and consultants. Finally, the book was used in business school courses in scores of countries to help students learn and apply these techniques to decision-oriented case studies and "real-world" projects.

We took the feedback we received and incorporated it into this book in the form of a wider range of proven techniques and a better background on the process and context of business and competitive analysis. This book is absolutely not a second edition and contains completely new content. Between the two books, we provide lengthy coverage of nearly 50 different techniques, which is surely the most detailed coverage of business and competitive analysis methods ever produced.

We recognize that there are literally hundreds of business and competitive analysis techniques that we could have included in this book. It was not our intention to offer an exhaustive list and detailed description of all these techniques. Instead, we have extensively reviewed the literature in the field, considered survey research and our own experiences in determining those techniques we view as potentially being the most applicable across a broad range of decision making contexts supported by the business and competitive analysis process.

Although we have tried to include both "classic" and evolving techniques, we recognize that some techniques that are being used in consulting and industry may not be included here. One reason for this is that some of these tools are and remain proprietary to the consultancies employing them. Another part of the reason we may not have included a useful tool here is that analysis is a process that requires both technical knowledge and creativity. We recognize and hope that managers and analysts will creatively develop techniques not included in this book that provide for better outcomes in their specific contexts.

The reader should also be alert to the fact that any listing of techniques is bound to run into a variety of problems of semantics and definitional confusion. Some of the techniques included in this book are known by multiple names. This may have occurred because the technique came to be associated with a particular originating organization or particular company's use (e.g., McKinsey 7S), a particular author (e.g., Porter's Five Forces Model), or has retained a generic name (e.g., benchmarking analysis). We recognize that some of the techniques included in this book have seen modifications in use over the years or are derivatives of other closely related techniques. In all cases, we have tried to include and describe the most popularly utilized versions of the techniques, as opposed to all of a technique's possible derivatives. Throughout our methods chapters, we have tried to alert the reader to where there is overlap between techniques by suggesting that the reader refer to the overlapping constructs elsewhere in the text.

Many of the techniques included in this book were created by leading economists, financial and cost accountants, futurists, sociologists, anthropologists, intelligence agencies, business professors, consultants, and other insightful practitioners or theoreticians. They often developed their ideas in an effort to solve pressing analytical problems that they faced. We are grateful to these individuals for enlightening our understanding of business and competitive analysis. We make a sincere attempt to acknowledge the originators of these techniques in the book.

We must also note to our readers that it was not our primary intention to "invent a new wheel" when it comes to analytical techniques. The techniques we have included all have a history, with some having been applied for several decades or longer. This book's techniques have been and are in use in real organizations and do not exist just in theory. However, we have included several techniques that are likely to be unfamiliar or novel to many readers, even those who have gone through graduate business, management, or marketing courses, as well as individuals who have been performing analysis in their enterprises for many years. We believe strongly that unfamiliarity is a particularly bad indicator of a method's value. We believe our readers will find that even some of the new techniques (to them at least) will be of high potential value in helping them make sense of their firm's business and competitive contexts.

How to Use the Book

To assist our readers, the majority of this book is self-contained, with the array of analytical techniques being supported by references for further reading for those individuals who want lengthier treatments. The book is organized into two main sections, with the first providing the reader with an understanding of what the evolving body of knowledge in the field has revealed about analysis in its real-world context and how analysis processes actually are supposed to work.

This book includes five detailed chapters that describe, define, and discuss the basic facts about analysis, how analysis can ideally be performed, avoiding analytical pitfalls, and communicating analysis results. The last chapter in the opening section describes our unique FAROUT method for understanding the application of the various tools. We strongly recommend that readers thoroughly review that particular chapter before progressing into the remaining sections of the book that contain coverage of the analytical techniques themselves.

We have tried to make the book easy for the reader to use. The basic structure of the chapters containing the analytical techniques is common throughout the second part of the book and contains the following format:

  • Short Description—A brief definition of the purpose and objective of the analytical model to provide an analyst with a quick and handy reference guide.
  • Background—To place the model in context of management, this section outlines a broad description of the history behind the development of the analytical technique.
  • Strategic Rationale and Implications—Understanding the strategic thinking and implications associated with a particular analytical technique is important in order to evaluate the appropriateness of a particular tool. This section reviews the strategic issues inherent in each technique.
  • Strengths and Advantages—Each model has its own strengths and advantages that need to be weighed in light of the purpose of the analysis. This section briefly reviews those strengths and advantages.
  • Weaknesses and Limitations—Likewise, each model has its own inherent weaknesses and limitations. The weaknesses/limitations identified in this section need to be taken into account when performing the analysis.
  • Process for Applying the Technique—This is the "how to" of the analytical technique and identifies the necessary steps required to use this tool. Case studies,
    figures, and tables are also provided to guide the analyst through the strategic thinking required for each model.
  • FAROUT Summary—Unique to this book, the FAROUT Summary allows analysts, at a quick glance, to identify the ease of use, practicality, and usefulness of each model.
  • Related Tools and Techniques—Each model of analysis is related to or supported by a number of other techniques that may aid or enhance the analyst's task. This section provides a useful guide of related tools and techniques that support the objective and purpose of each analytical model.
  • References—For those analysts wanting to delve further into a particular technique, references for additional readings are provided at the end of each chapter.

Readers will benefit by becoming familiar with this template. This book was not designed to be read in one sitting—if nothing else, its length would probably make that an extremely tiring task and practically impossible for most individuals. Instead, we have designed it as a handy comparison and reference source. In this respect, it can be most effectively applied in a "just in time" fashion so as to proactively or concurrently meet an organization's analytical needs as they arise.

The book features conceptual ideas about business and competitive analysis, along with a strong bias toward practical application. Among the unique aspects of this book that readers should find valuable are the following:

  • It provides in one easy location two-dozen of the most common and popular models of analysis used in business. Normally, executives and students would have to go to multiple sources to locate each model. Here, for the first time, the most commonly used models are defined and explained in one book.
  • Every model is also uniquely evaluated using FAROUT—an evaluation process for identifying the ease of use, practicality, and usefulness of each model. FAROUT allows analysts or decision-makers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques.
  • An easy-to-use, consistent format (i.e., template) is utilized to provide the reader with a faster understanding of how to apply the techniques.
  • The book covers both the so-called "classic" strategy techniques, such as industry analysis, along with some of the newer popular techniques, such as business model analysis. Several of these models, such as win/loss analysis, strategic relationship analysis, driving forces analysis, and event and timeline analysis, among others, have never been treated this comprehensively in any other publication.
  • It provides external techniques addressing the environments and industry that the organization competes in, along with the techniques for focusing internally on the organization.
  • It provides references to more comprehensive treatments of the techniques for those who want to investigate them in greater depth.

We expect to stimulate others to begin closing some of the knowledge gaps in business and competitive analysis that we have explicitly and implicitly identified throughout this book's chapters. We also hope that this book encourages practitioners to further share their experiences and observations with researchers and teachers like us in the field. We anticipate that the book will compel our readers to question some, if not a large number, of their current analysis practices and understanding. Our ultimate aim is that this book be viewed as a valuable contribution to the knowledge and practice of business and competitive analysis. Whether or not we achieve our aim is left in your hands, our readers, as it should be. Please feel free to contact either of us if you would care to share your views.

Babette E. Bensoussan Craig S. Fleisher

The Mindshifts Group Pty. Ltd. Odette School of Business Level 6, 8 Help Street University of Windsor Chatswood 401 Sunset Avenue—508 OB New South Wales 2067 Windsor, Ontario, N9B 3P4 Australia Canada

telephone: +(61-2) 9411-3900 telephone: 519-253-3000 x3455

fax: +(61-2) 9411-3636 fax: 519-973-7073

email: babette@mindshifts.com.au email: fleisher@uwindsor.ca


© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2008

    A reviewer

    Despite whatever is said about it, this book is a handbook at its heart. It covers twenty four different methods, many of which you may have heard about in an MBA program, but most of which will have only been discussed or dealt with in cursory fashion even if you went to a top business school. This book is one of the very best I've ever used and think it is best for consultants who need to either brush up on their analytic techniques, or for those individuals who need to learn them in the first place. I have been pulling it off my shelf on a regular basis, and it has been helpful in supporting some of the consulting work I do. It will probably do the same for you!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 24, 2015

    This book more than met my expectations. I used the prior editio

    This book more than met my expectations. I used the prior edition of this volume in teaching marketing classes for my undergrad and MBA students. I have mainly used it as my "go to" reference for them when doing research papers, case study analyses, and when we send them off to compete in case competitions, which my teams have won for 2 of the last 3 years. This new edition is even better than the older one because it includes several popular methods not in the first edition like a better SWOT analysis, industry fusion analysis, and scenario analysis. The best changes are the new sections that align these methods with key intelligence questions (the authors call them KIQs), which I had not seen anyone do before this, and the addition of worksheets to help organize the data for using the 24 methods. Those are particularly good for my students and I to get the data organized in putting these methods to use. That change alone makes it more valuable and enables me to get my students working without much advice from me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2012

    This is my favorite handbook for analysis methods. It has 24 met

    This is my favorite handbook for analysis methods. It has 24 methods, more than anyone would ever likely use over the course of a year, and explains the origins of the methods, their advantages and disadvantages, the process for using them, as well as other techniques that you can use with these. It also has mini cases that help you to see the kinds of insights that applying the methods should generate. Although I got my business degree in university, I realized how little I actually knew about how to appropriately apply a some of these methods when I learned the right ways from this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2015

    This is an excellent and valuable handbook for anyone who does a

    This is an excellent and valuable handbook for anyone who does analysis work in business. Whether you are a consultant who advises companies on strategies, or an entrepreneur looking to launch, the book has material that will make your jobs and lives easier. This edition is actually two books in one. The first section which is 100 pages long, describes what analysis is, how it is performed, communicated, and fits into the larger decision making process. The authors refer to it as intelligence, but it is what I refer to as a component of decision making. Concepts such as FAROUT, SCRAPE, analytical fitness, and Analysis 2.0 are described, all of which help to sustain analysis as an organizational process. The second section includes 24 different methods or techniques of analysis. Some of these would be familiar to your typical university business student or executive, while others are more esoteric, though no less useful when applied in the right context. The thing I found most helpful in this section were the authors step by step descriptions of how to employ the methods, their advantages and disadvantages, helpful case studies that applied them, and worksheets to help organize your data. Having seen a number of other analysis books, this one is by far the best one out there in terms of scope and practicality. This is an excellent and valuable handbook for anyone who does analysis work in business. Whether you are a consultant who advises companies on strategies, or an entrepreneur looking to launch, the book has material that will make your jobs and lives easier. This edition is actually two books in one. The first section which is 100 pages long, describes what analysis is, how it is performed, communicated, and fits into the larger decision making process. The authors refer to it as intelligence, but it is what I refer to as a component of decision making. Concepts such as FAROUT, SCRAPE, analytical fitness, and Analysis 2.0 are described, all of which help to sustain analysis as an organizational process. The second section includes 24 different methods or techniques of analysis. Some of these would be familiar to your typical university business student or executive, while others are more esoteric, though no less useful when applied in the right context. The thing I found most helpful in this section were the authors step by step descriptions of how to employ the methods, their advantages and disadvantages, helpful case studies that applied them, and worksheets to help organize your data. Having seen a number of other analysis books, this one is by far the best one out there in terms of scope and practicality.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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