Written by Manuel Alcocer Álvarez
Digitalisation has brought plenty of possibilities and opportunities, transforming our means of communications, our societies and our businesses. One of the most distinguished advantages that fourth industrial revolution has offered is the ability to generate, compile and analyse huge and complex data volume (also known as Big Data) in a more efficient and effective.
This technological advance provides companies the enhancement of one of the most necessary resources to make the difference: information. Thanks to sophisticated data analysis techniques, firms are now able to operate more smartly, creating a value added to the satisfaction of the costumers.
Although this has achieved a democratisation in business world enabling SMEs to increase its impact in their industries, they still are at a standstill characterised by scarce digital skills or limited funding. Nonetheless, SMEs now have the choice to access international markets, innovate in their production processes and improve their competitiveness in an easier and more cost-effective way. This is due to the market intelligence.
How to define "Market Intelligence"?
It consists of a set of techniques, tools and processes focused on data compilation, analysis and management that an organisation gets from its environment. Provides relevant and concrete information concerning factors such as the behaviour of its competitors, consumer trends, market dynamics, geopolitical variables, product prices and evolution of supply and demand.
This is a more specific, more complicated to acquire, more valuable and more useful and, as a result, allows an optimisation and accuracy in the decision-making process of a firm.
The fundamental aims of market intelligence are based in business expansion (whether is inside or outside of their current market), achieve a favourable position with respect to competition and adapt decision-making to the needs and preferences of the clients in a more precise form.
Benefits of using Market Intelligence tools
Market intelligence offers multiple benefits to organisations:
Widens knowledge concerning competitors and clients
Reduces threats and uncertainties in the environment
Facilitates and accelerates opportunities identification
Decrease selling costs and allows investment optimisation
Increase productivity and efficiency
Offer more precise and valuable information
Collaborate with decision-making improvement
Market Intelligence System
It is vital to highlight that data compilation in MI (Market intelligence) is based in the conjunction and relation of information coming from 3 different sources: competitive intelligence (focused on analysing information about the competition), market intelligence (focused on analysing information about the market in which operates and towards what target audience it is aimed) and finally business intelligence (or simply BI, which it analyses information concerning our own organisations).
How to apply Market Intelligence tools to SMEs?
The need of SMEs to enhance their competitiveness in international market is enormous. In order to resist threats and risks in such a turbulent environment, it is crucial to be capable of monitor their operations and use resources efficiently, specially a very valuable one as information.
In spite of so many adverse factors such as insufficient digital knowledge, low budgets and unawareness of the profits of market intelligence, the technology development permits BI tools (Business Intelligence) to be more accessible than ever for medium and small companies.
One of the best BI solutions proposed for SMEs is, by means of use of a Saas (software as a service), which consists of an application based on the cloud, to use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management). CRM is a software that registers interactions and shared data between a company and their clients in only one database, with the objective of improving marketing, commercial, sales and customer service functions. For instance, Hubspot and Salesforce are CRM tools.
The benefits obtained by a SME from this is the easy implementation of this applications, real-time information, low initial costs, high customer loyalty and safety and firmness of solutions provided. Certainly, this can helps SMEs to corporately succeed and become more competitive in the market where they operate in.
One practical case of market intelligence software is our own platform, xNova International. This might be extremely helpful exporter SMEs with respect to their internationalisation processes or those which struggle to improve their global market position, since it provides specific, complete and real-time information to our clients concerning key aspects: finding importers and study their competitors in international market. The goal is to enable internationalisation and increase its competitiveness, which is feasible using a platform such as ours, which supplies graphically presented data and easy to interpret and, therefore, optimising decision-making.