In today's digitally transformed business world, keeping up with how your competitors are leveraging the latest trends and technologies is crucial for your survival. Most of your competitors are embracing digital initiatives to develop a competitive edge over you.
Your most formidable competitors are leveraging the latest technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), data analytics, and more to transform their entire organization including operations, customer success, sales, and marketing. In addition to saving time and money, it makes them agile and competitive by enabling them to respond to rapidly changing customer demands and market trends.
To compete in this environment you need to stay on top of the strategic digital transformation initiatives of your competitors.
By including this “Key Intelligence Question” in your market and competitive intelligence program - “What digital transformation initiatives are our competitors implementing and how can we leverage this information to stay one step ahead of them?”
The source of this information could be anywhere across the open internet - it could be in a quote by a senior executive in a news article or press announcement, it could be a social post by their marketing team, it could be in a job posting description, or even hidden inside the updated terms & conditions on their website.
It is impossible to manually monitor all the public internet sources on a daily basis and capture only the relevant updates. To do this, you need a market and competitive intelligence platform that is specifically designed for this use case.
The role of Market & Competitive Intelligence platforms in monitoring competitors’ digital transformation initiatives
Market and competitive intelligence (M&CI) platforms are powerful tools that allow you to monitor your competitors' digital transformation initiatives in near real-time. By leveraging the data and insights provided by these platforms, you can gain a deeper understanding of your competitors’ initiatives, connect different activities to identify trends, and figure out the strategies behind your competitors’ digital transformations.
For example, by tracking seemingly trivial changes in their product offerings or pricing on their websites, you can discover new insights and adjust your own digital transformations to prevent them from gaining a competitive advantage.
Furthermore, M&CI platforms provide a centralized repository for market and competitive intelligence data, making it easy to access and share such insights with your internal stakeholders. The configurable features, such as dashboards, taxonomies, and newsletters in these platforms help you discover trends in your competitive landscape and align them with key stakeholders’ priorities.
Let us explore how to use one such market and competitive intelligence platform that we know the best - Contify - to track the digital transformation initiatives of your competitors.
Identify areas to monitor based on the strategic priorities of your organization
Digital capabilities can enable differentiation in several ways: by helping organizations execute more efficiently, offer new and better customer experiences, create new products and services, and adapt their entire business models.
But before businesses can begin implementing digital transformation initiatives, they need to determine which aspects of digital transformation they want to focus on, e.g., supply chain optimization, digital customer experience, new products or services, organizational changes, or marketing strategies, to name a few.
Your competitors’ key initiatives in digital transformation could be available in different kinds of publicly available sources, such as
Press releases, news, and social media updates
Sometimes your competitors announce their digital transformation strategies as press releases, news, and social media updates, that can provide valuable insights into their digital transformation strategies. Companies often announce their digital transformation initiatives, such as adopting new systems, launching innovative products or services, or forming strategic partnerships.
For example, a press release announcing a partnership with a leading technology provider may indicate a focus on enhancing digital capabilities.
Regularly monitor your competitors' websites to identify new technologies, partnerships, or investments that could indicate their digital transformation efforts. A company's website is often a key touchpoint for its customers, and changes to the website can signal important shifts in the company's strategy or priorities.
By monitoring your competitors' technographics or tech stack, you can gain a better understanding of what their website is built with, and the tools and platforms they are using to enhance their digital capabilities and improve their customer experience. There are a number of web technology information profiler tools available that you can use.
Tracking your competitors' job postings can provide valuable information about the new software technologies they are implementing. Look for positions related to technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, or data analytics. To identify trends over a period of time, you should categorize job postings by technology, skill sets, location, and seniority.
Analysis of these job postings can offer insights into your competitors' strategic digital transformation priorities.
Organic/inorganic growth initiatives
Your competitors' partnerships, acquisitions, and collaborations with technology providers, startups, or other companies can indicate their efforts to enhance their digital capabilities.
Tracking these events can help you understand which technologies and capabilities your competitors are seeking to acquire and which areas they are prioritizing in their digital transformation journey. Analyzing these events can help you identify new players in the market, emerging technologies that could impact your business, and potential collaborators for your own digital transformation initiatives.
Online reviews and customer feedback
Analyzing online reviews, customer feedback, and industry forums can help understand the digital experiences and solutions offered by your competitors to support their customers.
For example, by monitoring reviews of competitors or industry leaders, you can identify common areas of frustration for your competitors’ customers. These issues could be related to the digital interfaces, support response time, and limitations of features such as difficulty in tracking transaction history, poor mobile optimization, lack of personalization, etc. This information can be used to inform your own digital transformation initiatives and offer user-friendly and effective digital products and services.
Sales and marketing collateral/efforts
Monitor competitors’ sales collaterals, conferences, presentations, and webinars where your competitors might be showcasing their digital transformation initiatives. Analyze forward-looking statements, thought leadership articles, or analyst interviews to gather triggers around digital transformation.
By analyzing this information, you can gain a better understanding of their competitors' differentiation and key value propositions, which can then be used to inform your own digital transformation strategies.
Tracking macro/regulatory changes can provide insights into the external factors that may affect your competitive landscape and might require you to implement digital transformation to meet the new regulatory conditions. Staying up-to-date on regulatory changes is essential to identifying potential risks and opportunities for your own digital transformation initiatives.
E.g., changes in regulations related to data privacy or cybersecurity may influence your competitive landscape and investments in those areas. Similarly, changes in macroeconomic conditions may impact the budgets for digital transformation initiatives.
Analyst reports and market research
Tracking analyst reports and market research can provide valuable insights into your competitors' digital transformation, including industry insights, emerging technologies, and customer insights. But remember, not all market research reports are equally important.
These reports can help you benchmark your competitors' strategies against industry standards, identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and gain insights into their performance and market share.
Please note that there are several syndicated research report providers that offer no insights. They repurpose content from reputed publishers and sometimes even fabricate market numbers to be able to sell the report. You should be careful in filtering out such reports and consider only reports from reputed market research publishers.
Annual reports and regulatory filings
Tracking competitors' annual reports and regulatory filings can provide additional insights into their digital transformation initiatives.
Annual reports can give an overview of a company's financial performance and investment in technology, while regulatory filings can provide information about mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships, which can give a glimpse into their efforts to enhance their digital capabilities. This can help you benchmark your own digital transformation strategy against your competitors, identify areas for improvement, and stay ahead of the curve.
Next, we will illustrate how to use Contify to monitor your competitors' digital transformation initiatives in these key areas.
A guide to tracking the digital transformation initiatives of your competitors using Contify
Now that you’ve defined areas to monitor, the first step in tracking your competitors’ digital transformation strategies is to build a framework to structure the information for analysis. The key to uncovering your competitors’ digital transformation strategies is this framework that is the foundation of your trend analysis.
Your taxonomy should have tags in a hierarchical structure with categories and subcategories based on insights that you expect to drive, which are based on your strategic objectives (key intelligence questions). This taxonomy is the representation of your competitors’ digital landscape.
Contify’s Taxonomy Builder allows users to define such a taxonomy to track, monitor, and to analyze digital transformation initiatives.
Using Machine Learning models, and advanced query based tagging-rules, the Contify engine tags the captured information according to your custom taxonomy. Clean and structured information on digital transformation is then available to the users on the platform for analysis and distribution. Here’s what the taxonomy builder looks like.
Your taxonomy will be available in the curated newsfeeds as “Smart Filters” to narrow down search results or discover new information.
For example, to discover your competitors’ digital transformation initiatives, select the appropriate Smart Filters, and get relevant updates such as new product launches, organizational changes, and marketing initiatives.
You can further refine the information based on the type of content using Smart Filters. For example, you can select the type of marketing resources such as press announcements, blogs, videos, webinars, case studies, white papers, etc.
Similarly, if you want updates regarding your competitors' organic/inorganic growth initiatives, just select topics such as M&A activities, new offerings, funding activities, and business expansion from the Smart Filters.
Contify also allows users to capture and analyze website changes granularly, using the Website Change Tracker. By monitoring website changes on pages such as support, products, solutions, services, team/ leadership, and pricing, companies can gain unique insights into their competitors’ digital transformation initiatives. Here’s what it looks like on the Contify platform.
Analyzing customer feedback such as customer reviews, comments, and testimonials can reveal important insights about your competitors' digital initiatives, including strengths and weaknesses. These can be accessed as updates through the Curated Newsfeed and analyzed through Contify’s dashboards.
Contify dashboards are designed for deeper analysis of aggregated information, such as the timeline of different events, or to benchmark your digital initiatives against your competitors.
For instance, analyzing your competitors’ job postings is an effective way to gather insights. If your competitors are hiring for positions related to the implementation of digital products, it indicates that they are investing in new digital transformation initiatives. Similarly, if they are hiring for positions related to data analytics or artificial intelligence, it can indicate that they are focused on leveraging technology to improve their operations and customer experience.
Another way of using dashboards is to track geography-wise key developments such as partnerships, M&As, geo-specific technology adoption, demography-wise CX strategies, hiring strategies, and regulations/response to regulations.
Or, you can analyze regulatory updates in different formats, such as by creating a timeline of key updates, where they take place geographically, and of course, as newsfeed updates within dashboards.
The role of the CI analyst
As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, you must stay abreast of the digital transformations adopted by your competitors to remain relevant and competitive. However, simply tracking these initiatives is not enough. Competitive intelligence (CI) analysts play a vital role in transforming this information into actionable intelligence that can guide the decision-making process of various teams within the company.
CI analysts act as strategic advisors, bridging the gap between information and competitive insights. By analyzing and interpreting the information in the intelligence platforms, CI analysts can generate actionable intelligence that can be utilized by internal stakeholders, such as executive leadership, product, sales, and marketing teams.
For leadership, the CI analysts should provide insights into the digital landscape, enabling them to make informed decisions about resource allocation, investment in new technologies, and strategic partnerships. It helps leaders understand the competitive landscape and identify potential threats and opportunities that arise from competitors' digital transformation strategies.
Product teams should leverage this intelligence to identify technologies and features that your competitors are implementing. Product teams should incorporate them into their product roadmap and create innovative solutions that meet or exceed customer expectations.
Sales teams should benefit from these insights to differentiate their value proposition and better position their products or services against those offered by competitors. They can identify unique selling points and develop tailored strategies to highlight their advantages, ultimately increasing win rate and market share.
Marketing teams can use the intelligence provided by CI analysts to refine their messaging, targeting, and campaign strategies. By understanding the digital transformation initiatives of competitors, they can effectively communicate their own company's value proposition, differentiating themselves in the market and capturing the attention of prospective customers.
In conclusion, monitoring competitors' digital transformation strategies is no longer a luxury but a necessity in today's hyper-competitive environment. However, it is the role of CI analysts to go beyond mere tracking and transform this information into actionable intelligence that can be utilized by various teams within the organization.
By analyzing information aggregated by M&CI platforms and converting it into strategic insights, CI analysts enable leadership, product, sales, and marketing teams to make informed decisions, stay ahead of the competition, and navigate the dynamic digital landscape successfully.
Embracing competitive intelligence as a strategic function is thus crucial for companies to survive, thrive, and lead in this digital age.
Interested in knowing more about how Contify can help you drive your own digital transformation initiative? Schedule a demo with our solutions expert.
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