Thirty Year Perspective: Looking Forward

As we draw to the end of 2018 and move into the 31st year for Fletcher/CSI, it’s time to look to the future. If the past 30 years have provided any insights, it is that change will be a constant in the following 30 years, and likely beyond as well. As CI professionals, we are used to change. A core function of any effective CI is to both anticipate and understand change.

Which brings to the question: What is the Future of CI?

CI professionals will often apply Scenario Planning to anticipate the future. Starting with current trends, and extrapolating into the future, a set of scenarios that describe the future are created. Companies then develop strategies that will allow them to thrive in the various scenarios. Finding common elements in the scenarios become the basis for strategies that are robust enough to survive in the future.

So, what are the key trends in CI? Here are my thoughts:

  • Increasing volumes of data mean that over time there will be more information available
  • More sophisticated data analytics software tools will be able to sift and filter through larger and larger data sets
  • Competitive differentiation will become harder as the fast followers proliferate
  • Global distribution will increase competitive pressures as fewer markets remain “local” only
  • Privacy advocates will push to have more personal data protected
  • Remote workforces will become a more common feature and workers will communicate more by text/IM than any other tool
  • Job hopping will increase at more senior levels as companies poach high performing talent
  • Job hopping will decrease at lower levels and employees start to settle down and build lives outside work

These trends suggest that over the next few years, the way CI is performed will change:

  • Higher data volumes combined with more sophisticated data analytics software means more people will have access to the same information. This will reduce the value of secondary derived data and increase the importance of primary sourced data, which is not accessible using secondary data search tools
  • Fast followers will quickly copy unique features and force companies to innovate at higher rates. Understanding how competitors will innovate, and what their innovations will be, is likely to be a key task for all CI professionals
  • Differentiation will more and more be in the service area, and companies will add in a geographic localization as a further tool to differentiate from competitors
  • Increasing demands for privacy will make it harder to connect a person’s professional persona to their personal life. This will decrease the effectiveness of social media as a CI tool and require that the CI professional become more proficient at interpretation and inference
  • Frequent job hopping will increase information sharing between companies in the same industry, which in turn will bring about a conformity of strategy as the people who set successful strategies are poached from competitors. Truly innovative strategy will become rarer, and the practitioners of such strategy will be in high demand

These top of mind trends and scenarios all suggest that the coming years will place a higher value on CI that is truly differentiated and that brings insights to the decision process. Companies that rely on only secondary derived data will quickly find it fails to deliver unique insights. Those unique insights require primary data collection, which will be both harder to get and more valuable.

Fletcher/CSI produces insights that secondary data derived CI can’t, and we help drive decisions that produce differentiated strategy to succeed in competitive markets.

To learn more about Fletcher/CSI, Inc. and our highly effective primary CI please contact us at: or

– Erik Glitman, CEO