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Competitive Intelligence Policies, Ethics and Data Collection: Navigating the Gray Zone

ID: SM-179


28 Data Graphics

115` Metrics

44 Narratives

50+ Best Practices

Pages: 55

Published: Pre-2019

Delivery Format: Shipped


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In today’s fast-changing, high-pressure marketplace, the Competitive Intelligence (CI) function helps companies anticipate external threats and opportunities in a timely manner so companies can respond strategically.

World-class companies maximize CI success by providing sufficient human and information resources, encouraging innovation and creativity in data collection processes, and, perhaps most importantly, adopting a clear set of operating guidelines and policies.

Guidelines that establish ethical and legal boundaries, spell out standard operating procedures and detail codes of conduct for CI practitioners increasingly are necessary to protect companies from financial and corporate risk.

CI guidelines also help practitioners to manage end-user expectations regarding what kind of information can be collected. However, rigorous guidelines and policies intended to mitigate risk sometimes can be too restrictive, preventing or hindering practitioners from doing their jobs. Effective organizations operate under balanced guidelines that are neither too limiting nor too loose.

Industries Profiled:
Pharmaceutical; Biotech; Health Care; Medical Device; Diagnostic

Companies Profiled:
Alcon Labs; Sanofi-aventis; Biogen Idec; Centocor; ConjuChem Biotechnologies; EMD Serono; Ethicon; Human Genome Sciences; Indegene Lifesystems; King Pharmaceuticals; PDL BioPharma; Shire Pharmaceuticals; Stiefel Laboratories; Theratechnologies; Vertex; Amgen; Baxter Healthcare; Eli Lilly & Co.; Merck & Co.; Roche Labs; Takeda; Top Five Pharma

Study Snapshot

This benchmarking study was conducted to understand how U.S. pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations can optimize their CI operations while working within defined guidelines. The research examined a number of areas, including CI information sources and what is being collected.
In addition, the study looked at how CI groups work with legal groups to develop standard operating procedures for data collection that are in the best interests of the organization as a whole and to maximize the CI department’s ability to deliver results. Managers and executives in CI and CI-related groups can use this report to compare critical elements of their operations with those of leading firms.

"Competitive Intelligence Policies, Ethics and Data Collection: Navigating the Gray Zone”
provides a comprehensive look at how pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies optimize their CI operations while working within defined guidelines and corporate policies. This report provides benchmarks, insights and best practices in key areas such as:

  • Processes for effective guidelines development
  • Extent of employee training on guidelines
  • Working relationships with legal departments
  • Pros and cons of using third-party vendors to collect intelligence
  • Critical sources of secondary and primary information
  • Data collection practices
  • Rapid response programs
  • Attitudes about information collection practices that may be in an ethical “gray area”
  • Best practices for managing stakeholder expectations
  • Executive insights for building winning CI organizations

Vice presidents, directors and managers at 24 companies participated in this benchmarking research. In addition, selected respondents from eight of the companies participated in individual interviews.

Key Findings

The following are select key findings from the report executive summary. Additional findings are available in the full document.

Multiple Sources are Vital to Effective CI
• Triangulate from multiple data sources to develop the most accurate projections.
• People, Processes and Use of Third Party Vendors are Keys to Optimizing Data Collection
• Hire the right people, utilize advanced Internet search techniques, collect and review data over time to distill relevant, actionable information.
• Talk with employees across functions inside your company to discover information gaps.

Hold Vendors to Strict Standards
• Gain experience with and knowledge of third-party research vendors.

CI Guidelines Enable Success
• Work collaboratively with Legal to protect the company and to obtain Legal’s buy-in and support.
• Involve upper management to prove the value to the company of conducting CI.

Manage Internal Expectations Up Front
• CI must help educate the employees who make inappropriate or unobtainable requests for information.
• Management must stand behind CI to protect the company and ensure the long-term success of the CI function.

CI Executives Advise Emerging CI Functions to Evolve
• Link CI to the financial perspective to gain clout in the company.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary 3

Executive Summary 3
Introduction 3
Research Approach 4
Participant Demographics 4
Definitions and Abbreviations 6
Report Structure and Organization 6
Key Findings 6

Essential Data Sources 9

Data Collection Processes and Practices 14
Innovative Secondary Research 15
Innovative Primary Research 16
Use of Third-Party Research Vendors in Primary Research 19
Collecting Data Within Set Guidelines 25

Development and examples of CI Guidelines 28

Managing Expectations 39

Best Practices and Advice For Building a Successful CI Function 44
Advice From the Field 46
SCIP Vision and Mission Statements 49
SCIP Code of Ethics for CI Professionals 50

List of Charts & Exhibits

Figure 1.1: Participating Companies 4
Figure 1.2: Participant Job Titles 5
Figure 1.3: Scope of Benchmark Companies 5
Figure 2.1: Multiple Data Sources are Vital 10
Figure 2.2: Key Secondary Information Sources 11
Figure 2.3: Most Effective Sources for Small Pharma 12
Figure 2.4: Most Effective Large Pharma Sources 12
Figure 3.1: Key CI Employee Skills 14
Figure 3.2: Internal Information Resources 18
Figure 3.3: CI Vendor Involvement 19
Figure 3.4: Primary Data Sources, Large Pharma 20
Figure 3.5: Primary Data Sources, Small Pharma 21
Figure 3.6:Holding Vendors to Strict Standards 23
Figure 3.7: Eliciting Dos and Don’ts 26
Figure 4.1: Examples of Guidelines Content 31
Figure 4.2: CI Guidelines, Small Pharma 32
Figure 4.3: CI Guidelines, Large Pharma 33
Figure 4.4: Legal creates Guidelines for Small Pharma 34
Figure 4.5: Legal and CI in Large Pharma 35
Figure 4.6: Process for Working Collaboratively with Legal 36
Figure 4.7: Limited Support for Risky CI Practices 38
Figure 5.1: Manage Expectations Up Front 41
Figure 5.2: CI Plays Pivotal Role in Rapid Response Situations 42
Figure 5.3: Early Warning Process 43
Figure 6.1: Leaders Avoid Paying Honoraria for Intelligence 45
Figure 6.2: Developing an Intelligence Function Takes Time 47
Figure 6.3: Guidelines & Legal Relationship Reduce Squeeze on CI 47
Figure 6.4: Balance Risks of Doing CI Against Risks of Not Doing It 48