Change is inevitable, survival is optional
One of my favorite quotes is by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus (who lived around 500 BC) and it goes something like this: "The only thing constant in life is change". I still agree with Heraclitus philosophical thoughts but if I were to apply it to the 21:st century business world, I would have altered the quote to: "The only thing constant in Business is change".
I mean, just look at companies like Uber or AirBnb. They've probably changed the game in their respective markets. Did the taxi-companies or hotel chains see these players coming? Maybe, but it's a little bit too late to dwell on the fact that they are suffering from their presence now.
"The biggest threat is new competitors that aren't yet classified as competitors"
- Piotr Ruszowski
Act on information that is available
Media surveillance, articles, your own or external databases, the list of available datasources is quite long. The possibilities are out there, but face it; both you and I are limited to the amount of information we can process. However, not taking advantage of available information at all is a bit irrational, if not a wrongdoing to your company.
I work with helping companies to utilize information for better business decisions and one of the most valuable sources of information for tech-companies is the great patent database. But did you know that only 30% of the European companies are aware of the fact that patent information could be used as business intelligence? (Source: European patent office).
What does patent information reveal?
The beauty (or maybe the disadvantage) of patent information is that the companies have to disclose quite a lot of information in order to obtain a granted patent. My question is: why not use this as an opportunity to peek into your competitors strategies?
I'll give you a couple of examples of what you can harvest from this type of business intelligence (or "patentelligence" as me and my colleagues like to say):
- Awareness of new competitors entering your market.
- Trends in certain technology areas - the development in the technology.
- Awareness of who is closing in on your technical solutions - who is citing your patents?
- Insight of your competitor's market-, R&D- and business strategy
Running a business shouldn't be like gambling and you should therefore eliminate the guesswork. This might sound like a matter of course but it happens many times to often, let us change that.
You've probably already figured out a couple of benefits from knowing the things the patent documents reveal as listed above, but I'll give you a few more:
- Finding and monitoring competitors to determine if they have freedom to operate.
- Planning a future product development strategy by discovering game-changing technology trends.
- Finding licensing partners and forming sharper sales strategies.
Well, the next question that might pop into your mind is probably like the one above: "how?". There are a couple of ways but the single most important thing to keep in mind is finding a way that suits you and your company.
However, I want to believe that the most fruitful way is letting your company handle this line of work by yourself. You wouldn't outsource other types of business matters, would you? And if you are somewhat like me, hating manual searches and fiddly tools to make use of the data, then have a look at the video below:
Watch the movie
Do you want to thrive in the 21:st century business world? Start utilizing patent information for better business decisions. Get in touch with me through LinkedIn or IAMIP.