Online Competitive Intelligence By Helen P. Burwell


It was a sunny afternoon here, south of Paris, today. Something we have not had many of recently. So I decided to read a book I bought earlier this summer.

  • Online Competitive Intelligence, Increase Your Profits Using Cyber-Intelligence, by Helen P. Burwell.

Yes, I know it sounds like heavy reading for a lazy afternoon in the sun.  But I have some serious business research scheduled later this month, and I wanted to see if I could find a few new ideas on how to approach it.

And In the beginning, it was just for good conscience…

When I took this book outside in the sun to read, I also had a second “lighter” book with me.

I thought I would simply flip through Online Competitive Intelligence. Highlight a few places to search and then move on to a more entertaining read.

But, I found this book very useful… and full of inspiration.

Ideas were flying around in my head of places to go, angles to look at, questions to ask… every couple of pages.

A “why didn’t I think of that” came out a few times.  And I actually read through the main substance of the book – the lists of resources are for later this week.

I should say that I do have many years of successful international research under my belt. Market research was actually part of my job profile for the first half of my career here in Europe.

Yes, I have done my fair share on online research. But I noticed that although I am very good at quickly getting a certain type of information from online research, I found myself asking a friend who is better at getting a different type of information.

Now, I am not going to give a very detailed review – this book is so full of resources and ideas on where to search that it would be hard to do without copying large sections of the book.

But I would like to tell you who I think needs to read this book.

Well, it’s simple.

Anyone who wants to develop their business abroad should read Online Competitive Intelligence.

Inspiration For Your Own Business Strategy

First, let me go back a bit…

When I bought the book I noticed it was published in 2004.  I thought it might be “old” by Internet’s standards.

I will only be checking through the links later this month.  I might have a few surprise 404′s, but most of the resources here should still be around 4 years later.


Although the book is chock full of web addresses and lists of resources, it does something else very, very well.

Online Competitive Intelligence stimulates your mind with regards to how you can go about getting information.  It shows you how you can use Competitive Intelligence to create better business strategies.

Also For International Competitive Intelligence

There are numerous references to international Competitive Intelligence research.  With comments on translation sources and how to use them.

Non-native English Speakers should also be able to use this book effectively.  It is basically an idea book and a resource book combined.

Foreign market intelligence is vital for international business development.  Online Competitive Intelligence lays out the groundwork, very clearly, for you to get started… and it also takes you along the road a bit further too.

Strategy For Businesses

Helen clearly defines the meanings for:

  • Competitive Intelligence – a broad publicly available information for strategic decision making
  • Competitor Intelligence – for specific company information
  • Business Intelligence – broader information, not necessarily “competitive”, for industry trends for example.

There are a few case studies that show why Competitive Intelligence is important and even vital for any business today.

Helen Burwell goes into the strengths of Competitive Intelligence, and its limitations.  She shows you what you need to know before you go about your research.  And she shows you how to go about your research depending on what type of information you need.

And then there are literally dozens and dozens of ideas on how to get the information you need.  And tips on how to use each type of information in your business strategy.

Competitive Intelligence Made Easy

If ever you feel stuck about how to go about…

  • getting information,
  • how to avoid the paid resources or,
  • how to use the information you find,

…then this is a very good book to read.

And if like me, you have a big project you would like to research a bit more thoroughly than you usually do and need a little motivation to get the job done well, then this is definitely a good resource to have at hand.

What do you think? Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Photos from Shutterstock.

  Filed under: book reviews

Cindy King

  • KrisBelucci

    Very interesting blog post, keep them coming

    • Cindy

      Glad you like it. Let me know what you would like and I’ll see how I might be able to help.