DSS News
                     D. J. Power, Editor
               May 12, 2002 -- Vol. 3, No. 10
         A Bi-Weekly Publication of DSSResources.COM

            Check the Article by Jeff Lipschultz 
            of Attenza, Inc. at DSSResources.COM


* DSS Wisdom
* Ask Dan! - Are there decision support tools for Competitive 
Intelligence (CI) tasks?
* Spreadsheet-based DSS Tip - Pick Fonts Carefully
* What's New at DSSResources.COM
* DSS News Stories


Check Dan Power's new book, Decision Support Systems: Concepts and 
Resources for Managers.  Get more information at .


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DSS Wisdom

Yavitz and Newman argued in their 1982 book that "The temptation to 
prolong analysis of external forces and possible responses is held in 
check by deadlines.  Strategic planning requires give-and-take of ideas 
and information.  No person sees the total picture at first; what to 
communicate and why is ambiguous; mindsets of various individuals have 
to be adjusted.  But this iterative process cannot continue 
indefinitely.  There must be conclusions--decisions--so detailed 
planning and action can proceed.  The planning system stipulates when 
and where each kind of question should be 
raised--resolved--reopened--and who normally participates." (p. 93)

from Yavitz, B. and W. H. Newman.  Strategy in Action: The Execution, 
Politics, and Payoff of Business Planning.  New York: The Free Press, 


Ask Dan!
by D. J. Power

Are there decision support tools for Competitive Intelligence (CI) 

In this Ask Dan!, I've grouped together three related questions: What is 
Competitive Intelligence? How does Competitive Intelligence differ from 
Business Intelligence? and What are examples of Competitive Intelligence 
software packages? The last question about software packages initiated 
my analysis of this topic. But all three questions must be addressed to 
answer the broader question of providing computerized decision support 
for Competitive Intelligence tasks.

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Jean Graef, founder of The Montague Institute (,
argued in a 1995 article at CIO.COM that "Competitive intelligence (CI) 
is a key discipline for IS managers who recognize the importance of 
information content as well as information technology. CI is both a 
product and a process. The product is actionable information -- 
information used as the basis for a specific action (e.g. acquiring 
another company). The process is the systematic acquisition, analysis, 
and evaluation of information about known and potential competitors." 

The Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) website, 
SCIP.ORG, states CI is a "systematic and ethical program for gathering, 
analyzing, and managing external information that can affect your 
company's plans, decisions, and operations. Put another way, CI is the 
process of enhancing marketplace competitiveness through a greater -- 
yet unequivocally ethical -- understanding of a firm's competitors and 
the competitive environment. Specifically, it is the legal collection 
and analysis of information regarding the capabilities, vulnerabilities, 
and intentions of business competitors, conducted by using information 
databases and other 'open sources' and through ethical inquiry." Check for more information.

The Competitive Intelligence Resource Index 
( is another source for background on CI. It 
is a search engine and listing of sites by category for finding CI 

So Competitive Intelligence is a fairly well-established profession 
related to strategic planning and it is a process/task and it is an 
output or product of a process.

How does Competitive Intelligence (CI) differ from Business Intelligence 

A number of Ask Dan! columns have examined business intelligence (cf., 
DSS News 11/04/2001). Some vendors and conference organizers try to 
overlap the terms BI and CI or equate them. The terms are ambiguous. My 
suggestion is that Competitive Intelligence (CI) focuses on providing 
external competitor input for strategic management and planning and that 
business intelligence initially provided analysis of company data. Today 
some vendors define BI more broadly as providing any type of data-driven 
decision support that helps managers understand their business, their 
environment and their competitors.

For example, the Frost & Sullivan Competitive Intelligence conferences 
have moved toward more of a BI focus, but they remain oriented more 
narrowly from my perspective to qualitative aspects of competitive 
intelligence with "a blink and a nod" toward computerized support for 
intelligence gathering and processing activities. You can find out more 
about Frost & Sullivan's 9th Annual Competitive Intelligence Executive 
Summit at It is planned as an "Interactive Forum for 
Competitive Intelligence, Corporate Strategy, Business Development, and 
Marketing Executives Seeking to Drive Decision-Making."

The event summary promises attendees can "Develop a world-class business 
intelligence function by sharpening your skills and
expanding your arsenal of sources and analytical tools. Network with BI 
professionals as well as research and business development executives to 
find out how the business intelligence function can and should influence 
corporate strategy."

Frost & Sullivan's 9th Annual Competitive Intelligence Conference will 
be held at Sheraton World Resort, Orlando, Florida, September 22-25, 

In general, Competitive Intelligence and Business Intelligence refer to 
processes/tasks and the outputs/products of a similarly named process. 
Computerised support can assist staff in completing both types of tasks. 

What are examples of Competitive Intelligence (CI) software packages?

Fuld & Company ( evaluated 13 CI packages in their 
2002 Intelligence Software Report including: Knowledge.Works from Cipher 
Systems at, STRATEGY! Version 2.5 from 
Strategy Software, Inc. at, and 
WisdomBuilder 3.1 from WisdomBuilder LLC at Leonard M. Fuld is a pioneer in the field 
of competitive intelligence.

Competia (, a consulting and training
organization for senior executives and analysts in Strategic
Planning and Competitive Intelligence, lists 25 CI/BI software vendors 
at their website including: Cipher Systems, Evaluate at, Strategy Software, and Vineyardsoft 
Corporation at

Finally, SCIP.ORG in its CI Marketplace of Analysis Software & Tools 
identifies 18 companies/vendors including Evaluate and Strategy 
Software. A complete list of all of the vendors with URLs identified in 
preparing this response is posted on the Bulletin Board in the 
DSSResources.COM Subscriber Zone.  We'll be adding them to the DSS 
Vendor Directory.

In conclusion... Personally it seems to me that the software for CI is 
narrower and more focused than most BI software. Report and query and 
other BI tools are more general purpose and could be used to create 
systems to assist in evaluating data for competitive intelligence 
purposes. Competitive intelligence professionals and decision support, 
marketing and business intelligence analysts can benefit from better 
understanding of what software can be used to create systems to support 
their data gathering, data analysis and decision support activities and 
tasks.  It is my hope that this Ask Dan! column continues us down that 


Competia, Montréal, Québec, H3B 4W8, Canada, URL

FULD & Company, Cambridge, MA URL

Graef, J. L., "Using the Internet for Competitive Intelligence", 
CIO.COM, June 1995,

Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), URL

The Montague Institute, URL


Spreadsheet-based DSS Tip - Pick Fonts Carefully

A large Spreadsheet-based DSS should have consistency from one worksheet 
and screen to another. Use a small set of fonts and font sizes that will 
be available to anyone who uses the application. Avoid unusual or custom 
fonts like Stone Sans Bold or Tempus Sans ITC. Fonts like Arial and 
Times are readable and widely installed with Excel. Most of the time two 
or three font sizes are adequate. Put body text in 12 point, column or 
row headings in 14 point, and titles in 24 or 30 point.  Readability is 
the major issue.


What's New at DSSResources.COM

05/08/2002 Updated About DSSResources.COM Frequently Asked Questions 
page, URL

05/05/2002 Posted article by Lipschultz, J. "CIOs Agree on Key Issues", 
DSSResources.COM, 05/05/2002, URL


DSS News - April 26 to May 9, 2002

05/09/2002 New tool in Connecticut for improving hospital's services and 
competitive position.

05/09/2002 GoldSim Software helps waste management programs build trust 
with regulatory agencies.

05/08/2002 and Workflow Management Coalition announce joint 
standards meeting.

05/08/2002 Brio Software certified as first business intelligence 
partner for Tivoli Enterprise Data Warehouse.

05/08/2002 ProClarity announces support for SQL Server Accelerator for 
Business Intelligence.

05/07/2002 Cognos announces Cognos® Analytic Applications for SAP. 

05/06/2002 Siebel Systems deploys Hyperion Planning to help manage cash 
flow and profitability.

05/06/2002 Intergraph announces GeoMedia 5.0 product suite for mapping, 
GIS, and IT professionals.

05/02/2002 Retailers Praising MicroStrategy’s New Business Intelligence 
Platform, 7i.

05/01/2002 Business Objects and Unisys Partner to Provide Business 
Intelligence to U.S. Federal Government.

05/01/2002 Aspect Medical Systems Monitors Company Pulse with Cognos 
Business Intelligence.

04/30/2002 and Bayshore Community Health Services win 
Health Management Technology's What Works

04/30/2002 NetManage's OnWeb Selected by SunTrust to Leverage Legacy 

04/30/2002 Strategies 2002 conference includes release of instruction 

04/29/2002 EMC introduced Centera, the first content addressed storage 

04/29/2002 Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated Taps Decision Support 
Cross-Platform Data Access Tools to Optimize
Supply Chain Management.

04/29/2002 BI platform dynaSight® now also for handheld devices.

04/29/2002 Feature: "Fixed Content" Marks Next Explosion of Information 

04/29/2002 Feature: TruSecure Expert lists top 10 questions companies 
should ask their ASPs about Information Security.

04/26/2002 SPSS Inc. Integrates Text Mining into its Data Mining 


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