SMEs: Tools for achieving sound strategic intelligence

SMEs: Tools for achieving sound strategic intelligence


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Business strategies
Published on 12 October 2018
Reading: 3 minutes

SMEs: Tools for achieving sound strategic intelligence

With Quebec PME manufacturers, wholesalers, science and tech firms, contractors and even retailers operating in a globalized, highly competitive market grappling with ever-shorter cycles of technological change, continuous market intelligence is a key line of defence to stay in the game.

To anticipate future changes, product developments or even business opportunities that appear in a new market, strategic intelligence has become an essential ability. The process brings with it its share of challenges. Besides identifying relevant information for their purposes, companies need to determine their preferred sources for information gathering and how data streams are to be processed. In a world where everything is a potential data point, producing valuable strategic intelligence requires well-presented and summarized data. Quebec PMEs can compile data from a number of channels: business weekly Les Affaires, dailies La Presse and Le Devoir and news magazine L’Actualité, but also Constructo and aggregators like Google News and Google Alerts, offering pre-programmed keyword-driven alerts. Social media can be another strategic tool by subscribing to specially themed pages or groups.



Economic and regulatory indicators

But available tools don’t stop there. To keep abreast of sector-based trends, monthly economic indicators from Statistics Canada (for the wholesale and retail business, in particular) and the Institut de la Statistique du Québec (ISQ) provide a reliable snapshot of current market conditions. The Conference Board of Canada also publishes a series of useful data for decision-makers who are looking to appraise the state of the economy. Depending on your line of business, you can also refer to Quebec’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ), which provides retail and wholesale food trade indicators. More locally, institutions like the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM) also provide a series of indicators (such as annual inflation rates, construction starts, GDP, employment rates, revenue per capita, etc.) which can deepen your understanding of a market. And don’t forget regulatory indicators, which can also affect a company’s future: Quebec’s Ministry of the Economy and Innovation publishes a regular newsletter, as do more specialized organizations such as Quebec’s Régie du bâtiment for the construction industry, or the Conseil québécois du commerce de detail (CQCD).

Using more specialized resources

There are some more specialized resources, depending on the industry being targeted. Science and tech firms can consult the Organisme de recherche et d’innovation (CEFRIO), which specializes in the digital transformation of organizations, or the Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec (CRIQ), which focuses on innovation, productivity and exports. For industrial companies, there are organizations like Trans-Tech, which brings together all the applied research centres of Quebec’s colleges and CEGEPs (known as the College Centres for the Transfer of Technology, or CCTT), and the Pôle de recherche des Innovations et matériaux avancés au Québec (PRIMA Québec), as well as Sous-traitance industrielle Québec (STIQ), a multi-sector association aiming to improve the competitiveness of manufacturing companies, or the Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec (MEQ) network.

Lastly, in industries such as construction involving regulated professions (such as engineers, architects and surveyors), the appropriate professional order can also be a dependable source of information.

A portion of strategic intelligence can be outsourced to external providers (such as consulting firms or specialized organizations), who will conduct a custom study based on your criteria.