Competitive intelligence at the Medical Research Council
The study was conducted to establish whether there is a need at the Medical Research Council for a formal CI function to be implemented. The objective of the investigation was to establish whether the CI techniques and methods, which are traditionally applied in the commercial industry, could be applied to a non-commercial industry, like the medical research industry in which the Medical Research Council operates. The aim is to highlight the benefits that CI could provide to the managerial decision-makers of the organisation. A quantitative study was done. A questionnaire was distributed to the identified target audience to collect empirical data for the study. A combination of random sampling techniques was used, namely simple random sampling and stratified random sampling to identify the potential target audience. Face-to-face interviews were done with the respondents to ensure high quality return due to the small sample size. The survey focused on establishing the needs and the wants of the employees of the Medical Research Council regarding CI functions. A theoretical study was combined with the data collected in the empirical study to achieve the above mentioned objective. By applying the CI techniques the organisation will be able to make sense of scattered bits of data. Data can be collected from the organisation`s surrounding business environments, the customers, the competitors, the market and the stakeholders. The CI Analyst can then make sense of the data by applying different methods of analysis and delivering the information to the decision-makers in a timely manner to ensure that informed decisions are taken. The CI-process should be holistic in nature. The three crucial elements required to perform a successful CI-process are the human intelligence techniques, communication processes and technology. With these elements in place managers will be able to make informed strategic, operational and tactical decisions to ensure competitive advantage is obtained and maintained. It can be concluded from the empirical data of this study that it is possible to apply the CI theory of the commercial industry to the non-profit medical research industry.