Competitive Intelligence Technology – Intelligent Agents | OnCompeting

Competitive Intelligence Technology – Intelligent Agents

Celeste Bishop

Competitive Intelligence Technology is an emerging area that has really exploded over the past several years. What’s the big deal? Well, for one thing, it is increasingly making the “grunt” work of gather competitive data and information easier. If you don’t have these tools, your competitors might … and that is a competitive advantage for your competitors that you should own.

There are several flavors of Competitive Intelligence Technology, including:

  • Knowledge Management
  • Conversation Trackers
  • Intelligent Agents
  • Invisible (Deep) Web
  • Cross Language Text Retrieval.

Within these categories there are dozens of players with widely divergent capabilities and levels of customization to suit your needs. Some represent significant investment … and some are free for the asking. Additionally, there are other promising areas of Competitive Intelligence Technology on the horizon, such as Internet Competitive Price Trackers.

Intelligent Agents (IAs) are proactive, customizable online search, retrieval and notification agents. IAs are sometimes referred to as Push Technology. Some monitor competitors’ websites; some monitor the entire Internet for specified information. Think of them as your first line of defense for Internet-related competitor activity … and great time savers.

There are many kinds of IAs out there … one for every sized budget, including one originally developed as part of grad school projects, such as TracerLock was at Dartmouth. One thing is sure about most IAs … you have to be careful what you ask it for or you’ll soon be buried in data and information that makes it tough to get to the real gem – actionable competitive intelligence.

So, what’s the downside to Intelligent Agents? Information overload for one. Inaccurate, out of context and downright wrong information is another. And mostly we’re dealing with historical data and information, which is valuable but not invaluable.

The tendency we have in the Age of Internet is to fire up the old computer to get all of our answers. For the most part, however, what you find on the Internet is history. As I said, very helpful and a necessary foundation to being truly competitive … but not invaluable. Some things never really change … and the need to rely on human discovery networks to deliver invaluable intelligence about things that are yet to happen is yet another great example of why we humans still matter. We’ll cover that subject another time.

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