Fortune.com's current article "Gates vs. Google" reveals that back in 2003 when Bill Gates read some of the job descriptions for open positions at Google, he wondered why "were the qualifications for so many of them indentical to Microsoft job specs?" Especially job specifications for Microsoft's staff in its money-making operating system, compiler, and other non-search products. He told his staff "We have to watch these guys. It looks like they are building something to compete with us."
Fast forward to 2005. Google is branching beyond search. To see more of this article, visit www.fortune.com.
Is your CI function the responsibility of a separate group, or is the company as a whole outward-focused on competition and customers? Would your top management pick up on a competitive warning signal such as job postings, or do they depend on you to do so and alert them? The more that the CI thinking is integrated with, and part of the business units, the faster your organization can recognize and respond to competitive threats.