Strategic and Competitive Analysis: Methods and Techniques for Analyzing Business Competition / Edition 1

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Overview

This book comprehensively examines the wide spectrum of techniques (classic as well as more popular contemporary ones) involved in analyzing business, competitive data, and information. A consistent format for each technique includes a description, background, rationale and implications, advantages, limitations, process, and related tools. Twenty-four analytical tools are discussed and evaluated with examples to illustrate their most effective application. A unique evaluation process for each model identifies ease of use and practicality. Two-part organization covers analysis and its relationship to competitive intelligence and strategy, and the techniques of strategy and competitive analysis.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In an effort to have competitive analysis (CI) share the spotlight with strategic planning, Fleisher (management, U. of New Brunswick- Saint John, Canada) and Bensoussan (The MindShifts Group Pty. Ltd., Sydney, Australia) offer what they contend is the first book entirely devoted to CI management. They detail the background, strategic rationale, strengths, weaknesses, implications, and processes of applying two dozen techniques including GE business screen matrix, blindspot analysis, technology life cycle analysis, and sustainable growth rate analysis. Includes boxed case studies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130888525
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 457
  • Sales rank: 1,358,277
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

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

Craig S. Fleisher is Odette Research Chair and Professor of Business (Strategy and Entrepreneurship), Odette School of Business, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. A member of the Canadian Who's Who and Who's Who in Canadian Business, he has also held positions on the faculties of the University of Pittsburgh (United States), Sydney (Australia), and Calgary and Wilfrid Laurier Universities (Canada). Elected as Canada's first Fellow of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), Craig is an active author and researcher who has written 5 books and over 100 articles, has founded and/or served on the board of regional SCIP chapters, has facilitated workshops or guest lectured on CI around the globe, and serves on the editorial board of the Competitive Intelligence Review.

Babette E. Bensoussan is Director the MindShifts Group Pty. Ltd., a Sydney, Australia-based organization specializing in strategic planning, competitive intelligence, and strategic marketing projects in the Asia Pacific region. For over 10 years, she has undertaken major studies and consulted to Australian and Global Fortune 500 companies in strategic business and marketing planning, competitive intelligence, and strategic analysis in such industries and markets as aerospace, information technology, waste services, pharmaceuticals, utilities, mining, and manufacturing operations—to just name a few. Babette is Vice President of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals in Australia (SCIP Aust), is a member of the NSW Board of Adult and Community Education, a member of the Competitive Intelligence Review editorial board, and was the first international recipient of the SCIP Fellows Award in 1996.

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Read an Excerpt

Given the priority of competitiveness in modern companies, practitioners of competitive intelligence (CI) need to come to terms with 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 action. Collected data must be converted into intelligence. This is accomplished through analysis.

Strategic and Competitive Analysis is a book about analysis. We know that using this term often makes the groups we advise and teach uncomfortable. People often conjure up images of the genius wearing glasses inputting oodles of data into arcane computer programs while simultaneously sifting through reams of paper containing differential equations and advanced statistics. This image does not meet the reality of today's effective analysts who know that analysis does not have to be complicated, complex, or convoluted to be valuable. As we try to remind our audiences, being a good analyst does not require ten years of postgraduate education, just some basic common sense, smarts, and a desire to learn. Nevertheless, analysis is one of the more difficult and critical roles a consultant, strategist, or intelligence specialist is called upon to perform. Although great strides have been made in recent years in terms of planning strategic and intelligence projects and collecting data, the same cannot be said for analysis.

The growth of competitive intelligence during the 1990s was fast paced. More and more conferences, workshops, and university courses in managing competitive intelligence than ever before were being offered around the world by individuals with strong CI research and practice backgrounds. Research in the field became more plentiful and mature as witnessed by the range of original articles appearing in places like Competitive Intelligence Review, Competitive Intelligence Magazine, AGSI Journal, and Long Range Planning. Popular books on the topic also increased in availability as an online search of Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com will quickly demonstrate.

Despite all of these advances and growth in CI, some areas of this burgeoning 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. Planning competitive intelligence projects has also gotten a boost from the recent attention given more broadly to strategic planning. Despite these areas of popular interest, two areas that have received disproportionately less attention are analysis and its dissemination. In fact, survey research underlies the authors' contention that many practitioners have limited understanding of the breadth and depth of the challenge underlying these areas. It is our intention to begin remedying this situation by offering the first book devoted entirely to the management of competitive analysis.

This book comprehensively examines the wide spectrum of techniques involved in analyzing business and competitive data and information including strategic, competitive, customer, environmental, evolutionary, and temporal analysis models. It helps business analysts and decision makers to draw effective conclusions from limited data and to put together information that does not often fit together at first glance.

There are literally hundreds of strategic and competitive analysis techniques that we could have included in this book. It was not our intention to offer an exhaustive listing of the population of these techniques, assuming that it could be accurately done in the first place. Instead, we have extensively reviewed the literature in the field and considered survey research and our own experiences in determining those we view as potentially being the most applicable across a broad range of applications in the analysis process.

Although we have tried to include both classic and evolving techniques, we recognize that some techniques being used in consulting and industry may not be included here. Analysis is a process that requires both creativity and technical knowledge, and we have tried to provide a rigorous and systematic contribution toward the latter with this book. We recognize and hope that analysts will creatively develop techniques not included in this book that will 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 (e.g., the BCG matrix), a particular company's use (e.g., the GE business screen), a particular author (e.g., Porter's Five Forces model), or has retained a generic nomenclature (e.g., environmental analysis). We also 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 known versions of the techniques as opposed to all of a technique's possible derivatives. We have also tried to alert the reader to where there is overlapping between techniques by referring the reader to the overlapping constructs elsewhere in the text.

We must also note to our readers that it was not our intention to "reinvent the wheel" when it comes to the analytical techniques. The techniques we have included herein all have a history. This book's techniques have been and are in use in real organizations; they do not exist just in theory.

Many of the included techniques were conceptualized by leading economists, financial and cost accountants, futurists, 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 strategic and competitive analysis, and we make a sincere attempt to acknowledge the originators of these techniques in this book. Nevertheless, there are times when accurately making this acknowledgment can be difficult, such as when the technique (e.g., SWOT or TOWS) was quickly and widely accepted and now forms the commonly held body of knowledge underlying the domain.

HOW TO USE THIS 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 that want lengthier treatments. The book is organized into two main parts. Part I provides an introduction that establishes the context for the comprehensive selection of analytical tools. As such, it includes several chapters that describe and discuss the basic facts about analysis, and how analysis relates to strategy and competitive intelligence. The last chapter in Part I describes our unique FAROUT(c) method for understanding the application of the various tools. We strongly recommend that readers thoroughly review it before progressing into the remaining sections containing 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 Part II and contains the following format:

  • Short Description. A brief definition of the purpose and objective of the analytical model to allow the analyst a quick and handy reference guide.
  • Background. To place the model in the 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 and limitations identified in this section need to be taken into account when performing the analysis.
  • Process for Applying the Technique. Typically the most detailed section of each chapter, 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 several 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 themselves by becoming comfortable with this template. We did not design the book for the reader to complete in one sitting. Instead, we have designed it in order that it may be frequently used as a handy comparison and reference source. In this respect, it can be applied in a "just in time" fashion so as to proactively or concurrently meet analytical needs as they arise in the larger consulting, strategy, and CI processes.

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

  • 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. This is the first time that FAROUT will be introduced to the market. 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 value chain analysis) along with some of the newer popular techniques (such as functional capability and resource analysis).
  • It provides external techniques addressing the environments and industry that the organization competes in, along with the techniques for focusing internally on the organization.
  • The book provides references to more comprehensive treatments of the techniques for those who want to investigate them in greater depth.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface.

PART 1. ANALYSIS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE AND STRATEGY.

1. The Strategy and CI Process.

2. Analysis and Its Pitfalls.

3. The FAROUT System.

PART 2. THE TECHNIQUES OF STRATEGY AND COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS.

Section 1. Strategic Analytical Techniques.
4. BCG Growth/Share Portfolio Matrix. 5. GE Business Screen Matrix. 6. Industry Analysis. 7. Strategic Group Analysis. 8. SWOT Analysis. 9. Value Chain Analysis.
Section 2. Competitive and Customer Analysis Techniques.
10. Blindspot Analysis.11. Competitor Analysis.12. Customer Segmentation Analysis.13. Customer Value Analysis.14. Functional Capability and Resource Analysis.15. Management Profiling.
Section 3. Environmental Analysis Techniques.
16. Issue Analysis.17. Macroenvironmental (STEEP) Analysis.18. Scenario Analysis.19. Stakeholder Analysis.
Section 4. Evolutionary Analysis Techniques.
20. Experience Curve Analysis.21. Growth Vector Analysis.22. Patent Analysis.23. Product Life Cycle Analysis.24. S-Curve (Technology Life Cycle) Analysis.
Section 5. Financial Analysis Techniques.
25. Financial Ratio and Statement Analysis.26. Strategic Funds Programming.27. Sustainable Growth Rate Analysis.Index.

Read More Show Less

Preface

Given the priority of competitiveness in modern companies, practitioners of competitive intelligence (CI) need to come to terms with 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 action. Collected data must be converted into intelligence. This is accomplished through analysis.

Strategic and Competitive Analysis is a book about analysis. We know that using this term often makes the groups we advise and teach uncomfortable. People often conjure up images of the genius wearing glasses inputting oodles of data into arcane computer programs while simultaneously sifting through reams of paper containing differential equations and advanced statistics. This image does not meet the reality of today's effective analysts who know that analysis does not have to be complicated, complex, or convoluted to be valuable. As we try to remind our audiences, being a good analyst does not require ten years of postgraduate education, just some basic common sense, smarts, and a desire to learn. Nevertheless, analysis is one of the more difficult and critical roles a consultant, strategist, or intelligence specialist is called upon to perform. Although great strides have been made in recent years in terms of planning strategic and intelligence projects and collecting data, the same cannot be said for analysis.

The growth of competitive intelligence during the 1990s was fast paced. More and more conferences, workshops, and university courses in managing competitive intelligence than ever before were being offered around the world by individuals with strong CI research and practice backgrounds. Research in the field became more plentiful and mature as witnessed by the range of original articles appearing in places like Competitive Intelligence Review, Competitive Intelligence Magazine, AGSI Journal, and Long Range Planning. Popular books on the topic also increased in availability as an online search of Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com will quickly demonstrate.

Despite all of these advances and growth in CI, some areas of this burgeoning 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. Planning competitive intelligence projects has also gotten a boost from the recent attention given more broadly to strategic planning. Despite these areas of popular interest, two areas that have received disproportionately less attention are analysis and its dissemination. In fact, survey research underlies the authors' contention that many practitioners have limited understanding of the breadth and depth of the challenge underlying these areas. It is our intention to begin remedying this situation by offering the first book devoted entirely to the management of competitive analysis.

This book comprehensively examines the wide spectrum of techniques involved in analyzing business and competitive data and information including strategic, competitive, customer, environmental, evolutionary, and temporal analysis models. It helps business analysts and decision makers to draw effective conclusions from limited data and to put together information that does not often fit together at first glance.

There are literally hundreds of strategic and competitive analysis techniques that we could have included in this book. It was not our intention to offer an exhaustive listing of the population of these techniques, assuming that it could be accurately done in the first place. Instead, we have extensively reviewed the literature in the field and considered survey research and our own experiences in determining those we view as potentially being the most applicable across a broad range of applications in the analysis process.

Although we have tried to include both classic and evolving techniques, we recognize that some techniques being used in consulting and industry may not be included here. Analysis is a process that requires both creativity and technical knowledge, and we have tried to provide a rigorous and systematic contribution toward the latter with this book. We recognize and hope that analysts will creatively develop techniques not included in this book that will 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 (e.g., the BCG matrix), a particular company's use (e.g., the GE business screen), a particular author (e.g., Porter's Five Forces model), or has retained a generic nomenclature (e.g., environmental analysis). We also 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 known versions of the techniques as opposed to all of a technique's possible derivatives. We have also tried to alert the reader to where there is overlapping between techniques by referring the reader to the overlapping constructs elsewhere in the text.

We must also note to our readers that it was not our intention to "reinvent the wheel" when it comes to the analytical techniques. The techniques we have included herein all have a history. This book's techniques have been and are in use in real organizations; they do not exist just in theory.

Many of the included techniques were conceptualized by leading economists, financial and cost accountants, futurists, 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 strategic and competitive analysis, and we make a sincere attempt to acknowledge the originators of these techniques in this book. Nevertheless, there are times when accurately making this acknowledgment can be difficult, such as when the technique (e.g., SWOT or TOWS) was quickly and widely accepted and now forms the commonly held body of knowledge underlying the domain.

HOW TO USE THIS 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 that want lengthier treatments. The book is organized into two main parts. Part I provides an introduction that establishes the context for the comprehensive selection of analytical tools. As such, it includes several chapters that describe and discuss the basic facts about analysis, and how analysis relates to strategy and competitive intelligence. The last chapter in Part I describes our unique FAROUT(c) method for understanding the application of the various tools. We strongly recommend that readers thoroughly review it before progressing into the remaining sections containing 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 Part II and contains the following format:

  • Short Description. A brief definition of the purpose and objective of the analytical model to allow the analyst a quick and handy reference guide.
  • Background. To place the model in the 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 and limitations identified in this section need to be taken into account when performing the analysis.
  • Process for Applying the Technique. Typically the most detailed section of each chapter, 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 several 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 themselves by becoming comfortable with this template. We did not design the book for the reader to complete in one sitting. Instead, we have designed it in order that it may be frequently used as a handy comparison and reference source. In this respect, it can be applied in a "just in time" fashion so as to proactively or concurrently meet analytical needs as they arise in the larger consulting, strategy, and CI processes.

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

  • 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. This is the first time that FAROUT will be introduced to the market. 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 value chain analysis) along with some of the newer popular techniques (such as functional capability and resource analysis).
  • It provides external techniques addressing the environments and industry that the organization competes in, along with the techniques for focusing internally on the organization.
  • The book provides references to more comprehensive treatments of the techniques for those who want to investigate them in greater depth.
Read More Show Less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    Wordy and dry. Painful to read.

    My experience with this text can only be summed up as annoying. The use of excessive wordiness and abuse of uncommon terminology 'i.e. dearth, usurp, infomediaries' make this a painful and slow read. Pages of text with no visual break make it even more painful to read. Very few examples are used. I'm sure the text has some useful information in it somewhere, but it is lost in the driest delivery possible. I found myself searching on the internet for explanations of the subject matter so I did not need to drag myself over one more page of this horrible text.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2008

    The best source of techniques for strategy development

    This book is one I learned about in my MBA program course in strategy. We used it to analyze mostly Harvard Business cases. It is excellent in providing two dozen techniques to help you analyze a situation. It has step-by-step advice, examples, and even gives you hints about what the techniques cannot do well. That was especially helpful to me since my prof. made it clear that we usually had to use multiple techniques to analyze our cases. This is a great book if you have to do planning for your small business, are a consultant, or a former B-school student who needs to brush up on techniques you may have been exposed to there but forgot. The only thing I would have liked was even more techniques than the 24 in here, but this book is already hefty enough in its current form.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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