What do I know?
Scoping your comparative advantage is essential.
As a business owner you may be the first to use ICT in your market to increase the competitiveness of your business. This may give you an edge on your competition, for a while. This is called the first-mover advantage. But it may not be long before your competition purchases the same or similar technology. What will distinguish your business from theirs then?
Competing on information
Of all the information that a business can collect and use to gain a competitive advantage, the most valuable will be that which is NOT available to the competition.
For example, a business might gain an advantage by developing much closer relationships with customers thus gaining richer feedback and deeper understanding of their emerging needs/product experience, etc, compared to rivals.
Contemporary examples of organisations that have this type of advantage include Amazon and Google. For example, Amazon’s information about what consumers search for, what they purchase and how this could be used competitively (eg through suggestive selling) could be considered a significant advantage that has been translated into a sustainable competitive advantage.
Of course, having access to superior information does not automatically imply a competitive advantage. The business needs to have the necessary co-specialised capabilities to be able to anticipate the competitive opportunities.
The key questions going forward are:
- What do I know that the competition does not?
- How can I use this to create a competitive advantage?
Comment on how you think a business can compete on information that is generated as a result of its ICT investment.
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