Competitive Intelligence

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What is competitive intelligence?

'Competitive intelligence is the process of discovering, analyzing and using intelligence from publicly available, non-proprietary information sources for the purpose of becoming more competitive.'  Industry Canada

'Competitive intelligence, or CI, refers to the legal and ethical collection, analysis, and dissemination of information about a business environment, industry competitors, or specific organizations.' University of Texas Engineering Library

See also

Library resources

In Library search, the subject heading for books on competitive intelligence is business intelligence.

Use Advanced search to find books specifically on competitive intelligence. Choose 'in subject' and 'as a phrase' and type in business intelligence.


Business intelligence journal - Seattle
European Journal of Marketing
International Journal of Information Management
Journal of Information and Knowledge Management
Journal of Strategic Marketing


Selected articles

Research strategies : Systematic, gathering, analysing


  • Identify topics you need information on eg suppliers, trends, communication strategies, customers, competitors.
  • List the information resources to search through: books, databases for journal and newspaper articles, working paper sites, internet search engines.
  • When searching databases we recommend you search a number of them.
  • See the Business Information Skills Tutorial for a refresher


  • Look at a company's website
    Use a Search box to look for 'hidden' resources eg type in .ppt or .pdf
    See who else links to the company website [eg use Google advanced search 'Find pages that link to the page
  • Look at a competitors' websites
  • See the company information guides
  • See the industry guides
  • NOTE : There is no one place to look for information. Some likely places to look include
    • company websites
    • annual report - if available
    • press releases and newspaper articles
    • trade journals
    • social media sites
    • patents and trademarks

Analytical methods
The three most useful analytical tools and their effectiveness are: 

  • Competitor profiles 
  • Financial analysis 
  • SWOT analysis

Useful tip: On the Business Source Premier page choose the button labelled 'For industry, company or country profiles'. Select Advanced Search and choose SWOT Analyses on the right side menu.

Use the Advanced search option and click on the SWOT analyses link on the right side menu. Displayed will be a list of companies with SWOT reports.

Freepint (2013). The power of business analysis tools for competitive intelligence (2013). Retrieved from





Copyright©The University of Auckland Library
Comments and suggestions to: Margaret Tibbles
 Last updated: 20 May, 2014