I received an email today to ask for my vote to support a merger of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP).
“SCIP Board of Directors has unanimously approved a merger with Frost & Sullivan Institute, another non-profit organization.”
“SCIP’s merger with the Frost & Sullivan Institute is in line with our organizational strategy, and will create financial security, maintain and grow membership value, and expand the visibility of competitive intelligence to a wider range of corporate senior management. This merger will not change any services you currently receive as a member and will allow you to gain additional membership benefits in the future. SCIP, as an institution and brand, will remain an autonomous, member-driven society.”
Why is this happening?
SCIP has been highly dependent on current revenue to pay for its expenses; it does not have a reserve fund or endowment. Its financial health has varied with the economy and the recent annual meeting did not meet projected revenue targets. SCIP had to merge to stay alive; it was running out of funds.
Frost & Sullivan Institute appeared to be somewhat inactive based on a quick web search. The announcement states that SCIP will continue in its current direction, but certain comments stand out:
"-Implementing a shared services structure to reduce the overall cost of operations.
-Establishing financial stability that provides for membership growth and builds financial reserves.
-Developing new revenue streams from related service opportunities, which would be unavailable without this merger.”
So are the existing SCIP staff to be re-deployed to develop these new revenue streams or will they be laid off? How much will our membership and conference fees go up? Frost & Sullivan targets high level executives and prices accordingly.
Frost & Sullivan offers a wide variety of conferences and training so expanding CI-related activities will provide real benefits to it and, no surprise, conferences and training will be incrased.:
“Implement and deliver SCIP certification courses to improve the identification of competitive intelligence as a valuable discipline in corporations. This process will be accelerated immediately after the merger is finalized.”
“Expanding current educational offerings in North America, Europe and in 2010 Asia. This includes additional opportunities for face-to-face meetings and electronic delivery of education and information on more efficient platforms with a dramatically larger base of network participants.”
Economic downturns force serious changes at many organizations. In some cases, the new mode of operation is superior to the old model. Whatever happens with this merger, I hope that CI will continue to be recognized and fostered as a profession. Understanding and planning for competitive activity should be an essential part of the thinking of every executive.