Competitive intelligence is one thing. Comparative intelligence is quite another and if you want to really understand what your competition is up to then you need to have a basis for the comparison. There should be a benchmark.
A benchmark is a basis for comparing data. Your benchmark can be anything that makes logical sense, but it is generally one of two things:
- An internal metric or milestone of which you are proud off or that you would like to test
- An industry norm
Which ever benchmark you choose is up to you, but both of them require that you have a set of metrics in place to test your progress. While you are testing your own progress, you should also be testing your competition. How do they measure up against your benchmark? How do they measure up against you? How do you measure up against the benchmark?
These questions can only be answered with a quantifiable metric tool. Competitive intelligence is your best comparative measure.