Competitive Intelligence Report Template

Competitive intelligence found online needs to be copied onto a local hard drive to ensure that it will be available in future. The need to back up any kind of information held on computers is advice that everyone has heard by now; this kind of backup often includes copying data from a local hard drive to an online space. Backing up competitive intelligence involves the opposite – copying information from an online source to a local hard drive. The motivation is that data held online is controlled by someone else, who may be pressured to remove it; or the data may disappear simply because the publisher had no particular reason to keep it live.

The first is that of some new Microsoft Windows logos swot reports and tag line, which were found on YouTube in July 2010. After it was made public that these were publicly available, the videos were pulled from YouTube. Local copies had already been made by bloggers covering the story, so that the information was still available. This is a classic scenario when competitive intelligence is discovered online, and it is essential to make a backup in such situations.

The case of the unannounced Microsoft logos is a reminder of something that happens on a regular basis in competitive intelligence. Online content such as press articles, quotations, videos or photos may be withdrawn with no prior notice, removing valuable evidence. In some cases the removal of this content will be done on purpose because the owner, or the company to whom the content refers, does not want it public. Indeed this was the case with the Microsoft video. At other times, the content may be withdrawn for the same reason that all sorts of content disappears from websites all the time: the website may have restructured its pages, or closed down altogether (archives may be available on the Wayback Machine can help, but usually these are incomplete).

A similar incident occurred in mid 2010 involving personal information about Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google. The blog of an ex-girlfriend made references to her relationship with Schmidt, but she removed those posts from her blog after Schmidt’s lawyers requested that she do so. Another case when having taken a local copy would have been useful.