n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Die ontwikkeling van mededingende intelligensie in Suid-Afrika sedert 1994

Volume 45, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


Competitive Intelligence (CI) has long been recognised as a strategic management tool and is one of the fastest growing fields in the business world. CI is rapidly becoming a major factor in achieving competitive advantage. CI can be described as a systematic process involving planning, gathering, analysing and disseminating information on the external environment for opportunities or developments that have the potential to affect a company's competitive situation. In South Africa, CI enjoys increasing prominence as a strategic business tool, although the development and use of CI is not yet on the level of that in countries that are regarded as leaders in CI, such as the USA, France, Japan and Sweden. Several factors have given rise to the development of CI in South Africa since the 1990's to its current level, including the globalisation of markets and with that the increasing intensity of competition, the liberalisation of the economy and re-entry into the global market after the 1994 democratic elections. However, research has found that South African companies still use unsophisticated and ad hoc approaches to monitor competitive forces in their competitive or business environment in order to assess the potential impact in time to react upon the signs. South African companies are still too internally focused. This makes them blind to external developments that could have an influence on their business, such as competitors, clients, suppliers, new technologies and the regulatory environment. Research has also shown a lack of quality training courses in CI in South Africa. Since 1994, short workshops, seminars and CI courses have been presented mainly by conference organisers, consultants and a few business schools, but no real in-depth tertiary CI training courses have been developed or are presented. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the development of CI, especially in the areas of research, consulting, training and the applications of CI in companies after 1994. Unique facets of and challenges to CI in South Africa will also be discussed. The second aim is to make recommendations on how to further entrench MI as an acknowledged strategic business discipline.

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