No shrewd business person underestimates the importance of timely data collection and analysis these days. You gauge your competitors and try to have as accurate perception of them as possible to make sure you outmaneuver them and get ahead of the curve.Comparative & competitive analysis — what it is about, for who, and why
In comparative & competitive analysis (CCA) you size up your competitors’ business processes, products and strategies, using a range of parameters. Such CCA techniques as SWOT analysis or Porter’s Five Forces are no news to the market; so we dwell today on CCA’s comparative side which brings the most result — but you have to sweat to get it.Why you must screen competitors:
- Get your bearings among competitors — which helps you outline your product’s competitive advantage and its value for the customer, while spotting its weak points.
- Expand to new markets or launch a new product — you will see your new competition, barriers and risks you have to face, and strategize your resource management.
- Discern ways of improving the product you already have — you will evaluate the best practices other industry players use, and see why your own product is worth upgrading.
In the past three years Innotechnics built enough expertise in CCA and put together a framework that may benefit both corporations and small companies.Here’s a checklist we have prepared for five-step comparative analysis of the digital competition:1) Picking competitors and products for comparison
You sort out a list of companies to be analyzed, and get it approved by your Client. The list could include market leaders, or the most fast-growing innovators, or a range of ecosystem players that develop services in your focal industry. Items to compare may also be the digital products your Client’s customers have, including mobile apps and websites.2) Determining comparison parameters
Depending on what goal the analysis pursues (expansion to a new market, launch of a new product, upgrade of an existing product, etc.), you make a list of parameters
for comparison. These may be numerous and include whether a certain function is enabled and how, what purposes a product serves and how it is positioned, what users write about the product in an app store or the social media, as well as an array of quantitative markers such as website traffic, app downloads count, the price of tariff plans, the number of equipment units to be leased through a rental marketplace or of profiles placed on an expert hiring platform, and so on.
Whenever necessary, each of the parameters can be separately assessed and given a certain ‘weight value’. All the ‘weight values’ summed up bring about a final product value.3) Gauging each target company based on the parameters picked
Depending on specific survey objectives, Innotechnics
collects and analyzes as much data on each company as possible
— which includes mobile apps and websites, press releases, pitch decks, demo day presentations, social media profiles, professional blogs, media publications, rankings, interviews with company management, quarterly and annual financial reports, presentations at industry events, etc.
There are a swarm of methods we use to match a company against parameters you picked. For example, there are special apps which analysts download to their smartphones.
Digital product assessment through free access to data may be limited or impossible. In a case like this, you could request a product demo, tap your network to find clients of this company which use this particular product (e.g., owners of an apartment in a house built by a certain real estate developer, who use that developer’s special app for apartment owners), or peruse media publications and social media for product reviews — a roundabout but doable way of analyzing product parameters. Whenever deemed unavoidable, a certain amount of money may be allocated in the survey budget to cover a subscription to the competing products to be gauged.
You can make the work of your innovation department much easier by placing an order
for methodology development and CCA with Innotechnics.4) Performing comparative analysis
It all comes down to creating a functionality matrix
for digital products across the entire competition spectrum, which comprises entry-level functionality
(standard for all companies), trend-related functionality
(can be found, for example, in 30% of companies), and innovative functionality
(very few have it).
With tech scouting platforms, for instance, basic search by name or by filter is entry-level functionality. Scoring models and start-up rankings are trendy. An investment heat map is still an innovative element for most.
The analysis helps single out leaders and underdogs, and figure out where your Client’s specific product stands in relation to those of other companies.5) Finalizing your end product
It’s not only functionality matrices that your Client expects from you. First and foremost, the Client gets your conclusion as to where his product and company stand in relation to the competition and whether he is ahead or behind the curve in specific areas. In addition, he is advised
on ways of catching up by ‘domesticating’ his competitors’ best practices. In Innotechnics experience, we typically go further and offer our customers support in tech scouting
, meaning search for start-ups whose solutions may best address shortcomings in product competitiveness.
In the past few years Innotechnics completed just about 20 contracts aimed at surveying competition landscapes for our customers in industries such as real estate development, retail, banking, heavy industry, logistics, and more. Take a look at a couple of interesting case studies:Case 1: Competitive analysis of real estate developers’ mobile appsClient:
A sizable Moscow-based real estate developerGoal:
To survey the functionality of the mobile apps owned by the top competitors, identify weak spots to be addressed, and suggest an improvement strategy.Methodology:
- A Top 20 list of players with the highest realty sales proceeds in the given market was put together for functionality analysis.
- A list of 40+ mobile app functions was prepared, highlighting five groups of user requests: “Search and Selection”, “Mortgage”,
- “Purchase”, “For Apartment Owners”, and “Technical Features”.
- The apps were grouped in three categories:
1. ‘Super-apps’ (combined functionality for apartment buyers and owners)
2. Apps for buyers
3. Apps for owners
- Every single function, if available, ‘scored’ a point in each of the user request groups (one function = one point).
- User opinions about each of the apps scrutinized were also analyzed and considered before conclusions were finalized.
- The current level of user satisfaction for the Client’s app was evaluated; ten functions that were missing compared to the competition were found, including a marketplace of goods for apartment owners, 3D tours of realty, views from windows, demo mode, chatbots, and more.
- All the functions perused were grouped into “bare minimum”, “trendy”, and “innovative”.
- App updates the competitors had provided in the previous three months were identified and described.
Case 2: Competitive analysis of tech scouting platformsClient:
- The Client received more than 20 suggestions regarding app development strategies and an increase in a conversion rate, as well as specific examples of how the existing functions could be upgraded.
A government agencyGoal:
To survey the functionality of digital start-up search services, and list the key functions required to develop a start-up search platform.Methodology:
- Fifteen international services, offering free access and relevant functions, were picked.
- A list of 20+ functions was put together; for each service, the availability and the specificity of each of the functions listed were exhibited.
- All the functions came within three groups (entry-level functionality, supplementary functions, and developing functions) based on the number of services that had those functions.
- Digital service development trends were identified; to do so, new functions that had been added to long-existing platforms were reviewed, the functionality of brand new services appraised, and the purposes of introducing those functions clarified.
- Each service picked for study came complete with a detailed description of the functions it had.
- A suite of nine entry-level, five supplementary and six innovative functions to be part of a future start-up search platform was produced (it was actually used later on to make such a platform).
- For each of the functions listed, a description was offered of how a function worked and how data was to be obtained to make it work. At least three full examples of how that function served a competing business were shown.
- At least five basic and three auxiliary value markers for each function were described.
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