Why I launched Groopit and how it changes competitive intelligence
As a leader at Microsoft, I found one of my biggest problems was getting high-quality intel from employees who talk to customers every day. Sure, the loudest and most connected employees were heard, but valuable intel exists beyond the well-connected few. Getting intel from the edges is an issue I’ve seen countless leaders struggle with; one that makes building great businesses harder and slower than it needs to be. The problem is not with the leaders or the employees; it’s with the systems they are forced to use. My frustration turned into an obsession, so I left Microsoft and founded Groopit. This is my story.
At Microsoft, I inherited the design of over 100 internet services and faced this exact challenge. My job was to transform the siloed products to operate as three unified suites known today as the Windows internet services, Bing, and MSN. Each service was designed, built, marketed, sold, and supported as separate products which resulted in constrained resources, adoption, usage, net promoter scores, and ultimately revenue. The only consistent area of growth: frustration.
The challenge was to figure out what to do and how to do it. The data I needed to make decisions existed in the minds of thousands of people working in different departments, locations, and systems. But, even at a company like Microsoft, we were cobbling together the intelligence from employees through email, chats, surveys, shared spreadsheets, meetings, and data already shared in systems like CRMs. The intel was everywhere and nowhere. We were in ad-hoc data collection chaos.
My leadership team and I needed to understand what our key stakeholders and customer-facing employees were seeing in market. And, we needed to understand it with precision. I gathered the data relentlessly.
Once I understood the situation and identified the top ten priorities, I had to get everyone else aligned. Every leader knows this is a new level of pain, largely caused because the data collection process is opaque. My leadership team and I were the only ones learning in the moment and developing a big picture view.
The chaos continued because building great businesses is not an event, it’s a process. There was always a new set of data needed. As we moved into action, I needed to know what was slowing down progress, where were the opportunities for innovation that needed to be resourced, and where were we seeing success.
Ultimately we transformed the silos into three suites that each grew into $1B businesses. Through the process, I found a technology gap for leaders and I left Microsoft to start Groopit.
I built Groopit to be the ultimate way for leaders to get intelligence from the front lines and empower everyone to use it to make better, faster decisions. For competitive intelligence leaders, that means getting real-time competitive intel from employees who talk to customers every day. Groopit replaces data collection chaos and streamlines data sharing into one lightweight workflow, so we can outperform, out-innovate, and outsmart our competitors and build great businesses.
GROOPIT CEO & CO-FOUNDER
FORMER MICROSOFT LEADER
Learn more about Groopit's Competitive Intelligence Solution
Competitive Intelligence FAQs
What is Competitive Intelligence and why is it important?
Competitive Intelligence, often referred to as CI, is the systematic process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about your competitors, industry trends, and market dynamics. It helps organizations make informed decisions, anticipate competitive threats, and identify new opportunities. By understanding your competitors' strategies, strengths, and weaknesses, you can shape your business strategies more effectively and maintain a competitive edge.
What are the different types of Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive Intelligence can be categorized into various types based on its focus:
- Tactical CI: This involves short-term insights, such as tracking immediate competitive moves and reacting swiftly to them.
- Strategic CI: Concentrating on long-term trends, this type helps in shaping your organization's future strategies.
- Product CI: Centered around understanding competitors' products and features to enhance your product development.
- Price CI: Involves monitoring competitors' pricing strategies to stay competitive in the market.
- Marketing CI: Focuses on analyzing competitors' marketing tactics and campaigns to fine-tune your own efforts.
What are the benefits of using a Competitive Intelligence Solution?
Leveraging a Competitive Intelligence Solution offers several advantages:
- Efficiency: These solutions streamline data collection and analysis, saving time and effort.
- Competitive Edge: Stay ahead of competitors by adapting quickly to their moves.
- Opportunity Identification: Uncover new market niches and segments for potential expansion.
- Innovation: Utilize insights to develop new products or services that cater to market needs.
- Effective Marketing: Tailor your marketing strategies by understanding competitors' messaging and campaigns.
How can employees help in gathering competitive intelligence?
Employees are a valuable source of real-time competitive insights due to their direct involvement in the industry. They speak with customers and prospects every day and often hear of competitor moves long before intel hits the headlines. They also often:
- Keep an eye on competitors' activities, product launches, and announcements.
- Attend industry events, trade shows, and conferences to gather competitive information.
- Monitor online forums, social media, and news for mentions of competitors.
- Collabore with colleagues to compile a comprehensive view of the competitive landscape.
What are some best practices for gathering competitive intelligence from employees?
- Defining the type of competitive intelligence you seek is crucial. Be crystal clear, specific, and intentional. By sharpening the definition, you provide employees with a precise target and make it easier for them to deliver high-quality, accurate information.
- Transform qualitative anecdotes into quantitative data by implementing a four-point scale. Avoid the middle-option trap and push employees to provide ratings above or below the dividing line, ensuring more actionable insights.
- Streamline the process of sharing competitive intelligence by making it quick and effortless. Contributing should take less than a minute, removing the burden of extensive time investment. Where possible, use one-tap pick-lists (this will also keep data consistent) and keep the manual inputs to a minimum.
- Meet employees where they work by allowing them to share competitive intelligence from existing platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Salesforce, or web and mobile apps. Eliminating the need for additional steps or disruptions to their workflow increases their willingness to share.
- To build competitive advantage, make competitive intelligence automatically shared and easily consumable. Deliver the information in its raw state, in the most lightweight and consumable form possible, creating an environment where everyone is continuously learning.
- Acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of employees who share valuable insights. Creating a culture that encourages the sharing of competitive intelligence and recognizing the impact of collective contributions serves as a powerful incentive for participation.
- Enlist employees who are already engaged and modeling the behavior you want from everyone. Champions create a ripple effect. Their behaviors can have a profound impact on the entire company.
What features does Groopit's Competitive Intelligence Solution offer?
Groopit's Competitive Intelligence Solution is designed to revolutionize how organizations gather, analyze, and leverage competitive insights. With a suite of powerful features, Groopit equips businesses to stay ahead in the dynamic landscape of competitive intelligence by tapping into the invaluable insights of their front-line employees.
- Competitive Intelligence Data Model: With Groopit, you’ll get high-quality competitive intel by establishing an underlying data model for employee generated insights. It’s the foundation that delivers precisely the right intel and competitive advantage.
- Agility and speed: Groopit makes it easy to adjust the data model on-the-fly. If you need intel on a new competitor or topic, you can start from scratch or with a template, and move fast. You control the intel people share across enterprise systems.
- Streamlined Data Collection: Groopit's solution simplifies the process of gathering data by allowing employees to share competitive intelligence seamlessly. Whether it's from existing platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Salesforce, or web/mobile apps, Groopit ensures a frictionless experience for contributors, making intel sharing quick and effortless.
- Quantitative Analytics: Transform qualitative anecdotes into actionable data through Groopit's four-point scale strategy. This approach ensures that insights are quantified, enabling more precise decision-making. Groopit's analytics offer in-depth quantitative data, empowering leaders to identify trends and patterns.
- Real-time Updates: Stay up-to-date with real-time data feeds delivered directly to decision-makers. Groopit's solution ensures that you receive the latest competitive insights as they happen, allowing your organization to respond swiftly to emerging opportunities or threats.
- Collaborative Environment: Groopit fosters cross-functional collaboration by enabling employees from different departments to contribute their insights. This collective approach ensures a comprehensive view of competitive intelligence and encourages a culture of shared knowledge.
- Easy Data Sharing: Groopit delivers competitive intelligence directly to relevant teams and decision-makers in a lightweight and easily consumable format. Share precisely the right data with precisely the right people, in precisely the right channel, ensuring that insights are put into action effectively.
- Data-Driven Decision-Making: With Groopit's Competitive Intelligence Solution, your organization can confidently make data-driven decisions. By harnessing the power of competitive insights, you can navigate the market with a deeper understanding and strategic advantage.
How often should Competitive Intelligence be updated?
Competitive Intelligence should be updated regularly, ideally on a continuous basis. The business landscape evolves rapidly, and regular updates ensure you have the latest insights to make informed decisions. Set up routines to gather and analyze data consistently, considering factors such as industry dynamics and the competitive intensity.
How does Competitive Intelligence impact decision-making?
Competitive Intelligence directly influences decision-making by providing actionable insights. It enables informed choices about product development, pricing strategies, marketing campaigns, and more. Without CI, decisions are based on assumptions; with it, decisions are rooted in data and market realities, enhancing their effectiveness.