Competitive Intelligence That's Free, Fast & Easy

A key factor for growth and development for just about any company is the need to gather and analyze intelligence about competitors' companies, products and customers. But traditional competitive intelligence (CI) is expensive and time consuming, and it can be frustrating if the results aren't targeted enough to provide an apples-to-apples comparison.

In a bid to prove the value of Virtuapedia and Testapedia as outstanding replacements for traditional CI in the communications industry, I've spent the past seven weeks performing an experiment of sorts, the results of which follow. To summarize the findings quickly, Pedia users can utilize the Pedias for free, fast and simple CI.

Sound too good to be true? Keep reading.

Fact 1: New companies are added to the Pedias daily
The easiest way to prove this is to look back at the last story I wrote about the Pedias (Report Examines T&M, Virtualization). At that time, Virtuapedia had 1,600 companies. Seven weeks later, it has more than 1,730. That's an average of more than three new companies every workday.

Seven weeks ago, Testapedia had about 760 companies, which has grown to more than 850 today. That's an average of more than two new companies added every workday.

You might be asking yourself, "Why does this matter to me?" I'm glad you asked. It's important for every company to know about the trends, companies, technologies and other forces impacting their company. When a new company is added to a Pedia, it's immediately connected to the Taxonomy for that Pedia.

Pedia Taxonomies are extremely valuable tools because you can find out every company in a Pedia that identifies with a particular Taxonomy Category. For instance, if you consider your company the best at virtualization techniques, you can visit the Virtuapedia Taxonomy listing for Virtualization Techniques and see not only your company, but every other company that identifies itself as a provider.

Likewise, if you consider yourself an expert at fixed network testing, you can go to the Testapedia Taxonomy listing for Fixed Networks and see not only your company, but all others that identify as providers.

This is how new companies being added daily to a Pedia is so valuable. Whenever you visit a Pedia regularly, you can find new companies linking under Taxonomy headings that you care about. This kind of competitive intelligence is invaluable in terms of tracking new market entrants, eyeballing existing competitors and determining other established companies that are branching into new technology areas.

Fact 2: New products are added to the Pedias daily
Using the numbers from the same story in May, at that time, Virtuapedia had 1,700 products and services. Seven weeks later, that number is more than 1,820, which equates to more than three new products added each workday. Meanwhile, Testapedia has gained about 75 products over the same amount of time, equating to a little more than two products per workday.

New products are important to learn about in much the same way that new companies are. You can follow what competitors are doing by checking out products in the Taxonomy listings nearest and dearest to you.

But Product listings are unique in that there are no limitations to the number of products a company can include in a Pedia. That's actually a pretty telling piece of information in many cases. Established companies -- those that have been around a while and those that have depth and breadth in their product portfolio -- generally tend to have numerous product listings.

Product listings also can help you discern the competitive differentiations you have and, possibly, the functions you should consider adding. Again, this is a level of competitive intelligence that, prior to the Pedia initiative, would have been considered proprietary and would have cost a great deal of time and money to generate. You can access it for free with just a few mouse clicks and some time to figure out the most important areas of the Pedia for you.

Fact 3: New people are added to the Pedia daily
Two points are important here. First, you can tell quite a bit about the type of employees who work for a company by who has registered on a Pedia and connected to a company. It's a great way to see how engaged a competitor's employees are, the quality of their hires and more.

While the numerical increase in this category is equally impressive, I'm going to focus the last point on who the people are, as opposed to how many there are. Following is a breakdown of how people who register for the Pedias identify their companies:

    Tier 1-4 Service Provider/Carrier/Mobile Service Provider/Other Service Provider (Cloud, Hosting, Web, OTT, Cable, MSO, etc.)

    Virtuapedia: 4,740 (out of a total of 15,000 Virtuapedians registered)

    Testapedia: 745/2,880

    Hardware/Software Vendor/Consultancy/Integrator/VAR

    Virtuapedia: 6,680/15,000

    Testapedia: 1,000/2,880

Those numbers should tell you a few things. First, if you sell widgets of any type to service providers, you should realize that there are a lot of people from service providers who use the Pedias. And they, like you, are reading this column to learn how to use the Pedias to find out how to research the best products for whatever itch they need to scratch. You also should note that there are a lot of your competitors in the Pedias. They're also reading this column, and many of them are learning this information new. But some of them -- and the number is increasing every day, just like all of the other numbers I've written about -- already are using the Pedias as a competitive intelligence tool. They figured out the value without having to be told, and they've already made changes to product lines and company plans to adjust for market trends.

If your company isn't already in Virtuapedia, follow the instructions on Get Listed. If Testapedia is a better fit for your company, use its Get Listed, or feel free to get listed in both, if applicable. You can register for Virtuapedia, as well as register for Testapedia, and both registrations will take under three minutes.

— Denise Culver, Director of Online Research, Heavy Reading

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