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What Utilities Should Expect from Competitive Intelligence

Fortnightly Magazine - March 1 1995

will behave very differently than they do today. They will have to be nimble in their actions (em quick and decisive. Today, prudence is still the watchword; tomorrow, it will be risk. This shift will not come overnight, but it must come. Along with this shift will come a different way to use intelligence.

Most of our survey participants predict that the new utility marketplace will reward those companies that can compete on price. The complex economics will demand a far better coordination of internal information than exists today in most utilities. It will require companies to apply all types of intelligence (em regulatory, customer, and competitor (em to solve competitive problems. This coherent intelligence approach requires changes in the way both management and the organization handle vital intelligence.

Unfortunately, no financial ratio exists to measure return on investment for intelligence systems. But for companies that prize competitiveness, intelligence becomes part and parcel of business operations. In their view, intelligence does not add incremental costs, it benefits the bottom line. t

Leonard Fuld is president of Fuld & Company (em a Cambridge, MA-based business intelligence research and training firm (em and author of a new book, The New Competitor Intelligence (Wiley, 1995). Diane Borska, senior consultant to Fuld & Company's utilities practice, has over 14 years' experience in the electric utility industry, including work in generation engineering, rate cases, and regulatory compliance.

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