How Can an Organization Gain Competitive Intelligence?

Celina Majka Falck-Jensen & Svend Laurits Læssø Larsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis investigates how a data-provider can facilitate competitive intelligence and how datafication can generate intelligent data. Firstly, by analyzing how a data-provider can collect and search for data in order to facilitate competitive advantage. Secondly, by examining the process of facilitating competitive advantage and competitive intelligence. Lastly, by discussing the differences between being a data-provider and being an insight-provider. We do so, by drawing upon a case company named Meltwater. Meltwater is a media intelligence company that provides data. The incentive for this thesis is how a data-provider can present intelligent data in order to facilitate competitive intelligence. Consequently our research question is: How can a data-provider facilitate competitive intelligence? Moreover our sub question is: How can datafication enable elements of intelligence? We collect our research data through semi-structured interviews, observations and a questionnaire. Moreover, we choose the standpoint of interpretivists, since it allowed us to construct our own meaning to our conclusions. Furthermore, we choose to do a single-case study, since we wish to explore a real-life phenomenon in order to test our assumption. Lastly, the use of both quantitative and qualitative research methods entitles us to be confident towards our conclusions, which also is known as methodological triangulation. In order for us to gain an understanding of how a data-provider can facilitate competitive intelligence, we apply a theoretical framework using Fleisher & Bensoussan’s (2007) notion of the nine forces. This enable us to detect how and where a data-provider collect and search for information concerning the competitiveness of an industry. By doing so, we concluded that Meltwater collects data that corresponds to the nine forces. Moreover, we apply the notion of the generic intelligence cycle by Fleisher & Bensoussan (2007) in order to look into the process of collecting, analyzing and disseminating the data and insights. Lastly, we make use of the Celina Majka Falck-Jensen Master Thesis Svend Laurits Læssø Larsen Business Administration & Information Systems 2 framework concerning how to generate intelligence. We did so in order to discuss the distinction between being a data-provider and an insight-provider. In the light of our analysis we present the conclusions and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of conducting a single-case study. Moreover, we discuss the theoretical and practical contributions of this thesis. Lastly, we point out avenues for further research. We conclude that a data-provider cannot facilitate competitive intelligence but only facilitate competitive advantage, since they disseminate only the required data before the client. However, we present the notion of an insight-provider, since Meltwater disseminate not only the required data, but also unexplored and new insights before the client. Moreover, the process of collecting data corresponds to the concepts of datafication. Consequently, Meltwater facilitate datafication within the collecting process, which in turn creates intelligent data. Thus, we conclude that an insight-provider, such as Meltwater, can facilitate elements of competitive intelligence.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages126
SupervisorsAttila Marton