Ask the Expert: Q&A with Global Head of CI, Arjan Singh
Our latest Q&A is with Arjan Singh, the global head of competitive intelligence at Endo, a health solutions company. He is also a lecturer at the Paul Merage School of Business at University of California, Irvine, where he teaches strategy & competitive intelligence in their MBA program. Please note that the views expressed here are personal opinions and do not represent any company or organization.
Q1. Do you have any advice for CI practitioners on how best to engage and convince the C-suite?
The easiest way to show value in a CI function is to demonstrate quick wins while building the CI function. A quick win can be defined as action that the company takes, or new insights that either validates or disproves assumptions that might have been previously been made.
Ultimately, you really want to quantify the benefit of CI and to tie it into a meaningful metric for management. We keep records of all the projects we work on – this is the first step in developing meaningful metrics. We then categorize each project and look at the impact that it has had in the company. We try and measure 3 types of impacts - revenue, opportunities and cost optimization.
Q2. What are some of the biggest challenges facing CI professionals working in the healthcare sector right now?
Resources – the healthcare industry is undergoing a huge change. Gone are the days of unlimited revenues and budgets. So a CI professional now has to deliver more with less resources at their disposal. So the key now is to be ‘resourceful’ and to consistently deliver value – this is a huge undertaking. It all comes down to focus – I find it useful to answer questions like – How do we deliver actionable intelligence? Which internal customers do we focus on? How do we minimize the requests for ‘interesting’ intelligence?
Q3. As someone who teaches Competitive Intelligence to MBA students, What's the most important thing you hope to impart to students?
My course at the University of California is all about practical advice – I like to get the students to think for themselves and to develop their analytical thought process – once they have that mindset they can use the skill in a multitude of business and personal settings. Most of what students learn these days in School is theory and I like to share with them practical tips and examples of how the real world of business actually works – how decisions are really made and how they can help and make an impact from Day 1.
Q4. What change(s) would you like to see in the CI industry?
There is a varying understanding of CI across the business world and we really need to see some high profile champions emerging that can explain to the world what CI is all about. A lot of the other key management / business disciplines have some key figures that are driving the profession – the CI industry is lacking that right now.
There also needs to be some control / certification of the vendors – anyone with an internet connection and a telephone now claims to be a ‘CI vendor’ – and it really shows in the varying quality – there are some really good resources out there and a lot of really bad ones. For someone who is new to the industry, it can be a huge undertaking to sort through this and to select the right external partners to work with.
About Arjan Singh
Arjan Singh is the global head of competitive intelligence at Endo, a health solutions company. He is also a lecturer at the Paul Merage School of Business at University of California, Irvine where he teaches strategy & competitive intelligence in their MBA program.
He has over 16 years in international corporate strategy and marketing, competitive intelligence, war games and scenario planning. Previously a consultant, he has worked with leading companies in healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods and business services where he helped global multinational companies take strategic action supported by actionable and evidence based intelligence processes and deliverables.
Over the past decade, he has educated over two thousand people in the concepts of strategy and competitive intelligence at various venues including the Academy of Competitive Intelligence (ACI), Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) and in specific in-house sessions at various companies.
Written by Jerome Maisch
Marketing Manager @digimindci. Passionate about big data & social marketing. Photography, music and hiking lover