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AI for market and competitive intelligence: promising, but not there yet

September 06, 2018

Home Blog Research & intelligence AI for market and competitive intelligence: promising, but not there yet

The need for human curation is still there, whether done internally or outsourced.

ShiftCentral’s Vice President of Content and Editorial, Merrell Moorhead, answered some critical questions in relevance to AI’s role in market intelligence, and the agency’s view of the technology.

Listen to the podcast version of the interview.

The transcripts of the interview 

What is AI?

That is a deceptively simple question! For our purposes, and without wading into the technological – or philosophical – depths, artificial intelligence means a digital agent or application with the capacity to:

1.    Review data;
2.    Identify the important elements within that dataset; and
3.    Report those key elements in a strategic context

Taking it further, our ideal AI would have the ability to learn about the issues it was reporting on in order to make it more efficient – but also more agile in finding data points that are relevant to answering important strategic questions – but wouldn’t necessarily be captured by a more rigid search string or algorithm.

Does ShiftCentral use AI?

No, we don’t. Our intelligence analysts use an array of technological tools in order to find the essential nuggets of information our clients need, and create the insights that generate value and competitive advantage for those clients. These can vary depending on tasks and the topics involved. We don’t believe in a “one-solution-fits-all approach” to delivering market and competitive intelligence insights. We select the best tools for the job, whether that’s a daily executive briefing on private equity or a deep dive into future healthcare solutions. And, we’re proactively restless on our clients’ behalf – we know that technology is evolving and capabilities are increasing, and we are constantly evaluating the tools we use and looking for better, faster and more cost-effective ways to serve our clients.

Why doesn’t ShiftCentral use AI?

Simply stated, the technology is not there yet. I believe AI holds great promise – though, like most new technologies, I also believe the “hype cycle” has outrun the development of real-world capabilities in this field. At the same time, there are many products coming to market that include “AI” in their name or description…which only muddies the water, in my opinion. We’ve looked – and we’re still looking – for an AI solution that would help us deliver the insights our clients demand. But so far, we haven’t found one.

Why does ShiftCentral consider human intelligence more capable than AI?

We put our client’s needs first, and the most basic principle of competitive intelligence is that it must be precisely aligned with an organization’s strategic priorities. I believe that our strongest asset is our team of trained and dedicated analysts who deliver timely and tailored answers to our client’s most pressing strategic questions on a daily basis. They know their client’s needs; they can use a range of technologies, and they can apply what they learn to generate new insights.

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This article was originally published on ShiftCentral, now part of LAC Group.

Mario Thériault

Mario Thériault

Mario Thériault is Chief Business Development Officer and oversees all aspects of LAC Group’s growth strategy, partnership and alliance programs. Prior to LAC’s acquisition of ShiftCentral, Mario served as CEO and continuously evolved the company to emphasize the importance of strategic, curated intelligence to solve clients validated business needs.
Mario Thériault
Questions? Send me a message on our contact us form.

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