oa South African Journal of Information Management - Effectiveness of the Web as a competitive intelligence tool

Volume 6 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2078-1865
  • E-ISSN: 1560-683X



Competitive intelligence (CI) refers to the legal and ethical collection of information about competitors' activities in the market place. To stay competitive in the business world, a company must pro-actively formulate competitive strategies, be aware of the product and business information of its competitors to market its products competitively and identify new products for development before entering into new business areas. The World-Wide Web (Web) is one of the latest media for sharing information and provides another emerging and important avenue and source of CI for companies, but this information should be properly evaluated. CI is critical if companies are to stay competitive in the market place and to discover Web information, CI users need to constantly access Web sites and Web pages for related information. CI is problematic in developing countries. In this study, several factors contributing to this aspect of business were investigated. A literature review was conducted together with empirical research using a survey to determine the seriousness of the problem in South Africa. Some salient results showed that the Web was an effective information-gathering tool but was not being used as a CI tool; the information on the Web lacks accuracy, as the information cannot be verified; there was a lack of CI knowledge and practice; and there was an inadequate CI culture in most organizations.

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