The best way to gain true acceptance, approval and justification for your competitive intelligence and knowledge management program is to build a solid case you can present—and one that is ultimately bought into by key stakeholders.

Wearing many hats

It is not enough to be hired for the position of CI manager. Management gets impatient with new corporate programs so you must present a solid, metric-based maturity model with built-in quick wins for the program to show immediate success and ensure sustainment.

CI’s remarkable legacy. It is an initiative many companies implement today. Despite this legacy, few companies want to invest the right amount of money to implement and sustain a world-class program. Setting goals, viable solutions, schedules, budgets and solid metrics will give your program a leg to stand on. It is your job to be an educator, advocate, analyst, organizer, change manager, decision supporter and maker. If you want it to be a comprehensive knowledge-building organization with staying power, you will have to do more than build the company newsletters and hire outside consultants via a vendor management program. You will have to detail ROI-supported justification for the following;

Services you will offer

  • Ways in which your services link to organizational processes required to make decisions

  • Metrics to measure program success

  • Timelines and how you will reach full sustainment

In short, you need to develop and win approval for your comprehensive business case. That is correct: Build a solid business case and take the time to do it right.

Sustaining intention

There are many internal functions within a business competing for funds. Functions that are considered ‘bottom line contributors’ are likely to be given the greatest attention by the executive management, so build solid metrics that tie your efforts to the bottom line. Remember that you are developing not only an implementation plan, but also a sustainment plan. Your business case should be able to answer, in detail, the following questions:

  • What is the scope of my program and whom will I support?

  • What are the key drivers and metrics creating the need for CI within the company?

  • What critical internal credible functions should I work with?  

  • What will be collected, why and how will we collect it?

  • How will we analyze information, develop impact analysis and report on it with clear enticing visualizations?

  • What levels of support and supporting organization is needed?

  • What decision, knowledge management and IT tools will be needed?

  • How will we measure and report success?

Success is not guaranteed, but by building a decision support function that is always focused on providing recommendations, you may catch the attention of management and build well-earned credibility, giving your team an executive seat at the table.