Competitive Intelligence Rescue

Getting It Right

by Carolyn M. Vella and John J. McGonagle


Many businesses fail to use competitive intelligence (CI) to their advantage, despite studies that indicate that business success is directly linked to a strong CI program.

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Cover image for Competitive Intelligence Rescue

July 2017


Pages 177
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Business/Strategy

A powerful "how-to-do-it-better" book, this is the first guidebook on competitive intelligence that uses case studies to provide behind-the-scenes insights into how professionals improve competitive intelligence processes.

All organizations need to stay competitive in their respective fields to ensure success. Competitive intelligence (CI) is an established discipline that focuses on giving businesses and nonprofit organizations the advantage of staying fully informed about what their competitors are doing, are capable of doing, and will likely do. CI is a particularly valuable and powerful tool that supports everything from strategic planning to marketing and new business development to human resources—if it's executed properly. This groundbreaking book uses real-world case studies to expose common CI challenges and present a simple methodology for spotting problems, understanding how to rectify each problem, educating others in order to bring about improvements in a process, and testing and validating that the changes are working.

Competitive Intelligence Rescue: Getting It Right provides invaluable insights from Carolyn M. Vella and John J. McGonagle, two of the most prolific authors, recognized experts, and in-demand speakers on the topic of competitive intelligence worldwide. Any manager, executive, or owner of any organization—including medium-sized and large enterprises such as businesses, law firms, hospitals, nonprofits, and universities—as well as anyone inside or outside of a firm who provides competitive intelligence to managers or executives will benefit from reading this book, regardless of previous experience with or knowledge about CI.


  • Provides readers with practical tools and strategies to immediately identify and address their CI problems
  • Enables businesses to realize discernible improvements in performance, planning, competitiveness, and agility
  • Offers helpful checklists and other easy-to-use aids to make improving CI operations a straightforward process
  • Serves leaders in any organization—for profit or nonprofit—charged with the challenge of maintaining a competitive edge in their industry
Author Info

Carolyn M. Vella is founding partner of The Helicon Group, a global competitive intelligence research, analysis, and consulting firm. In 2003, she was the recipient of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals' Meritorious Award, the highest award SCIP can bestow. Vella has written numerous articles on business and competitive intelligence topics for publications including Senior Exchange and Mergers & Acquisitions and has been interviewed by Business Digest. She is coauthor of eight books on competitive intelligence, including Praeger's Bottom Line Competitive Intelligence, Improved Business Planning Using Competitive Intelligence, and The Internet Age of Competitive Intelligence.

John J. McGonagle is managing partner of The Helicon Group. He is coauthor of eight books on competitive intelligence, including A Manager's Guide to Competitive Intelligence and Praeger's Protecting Your Company Against Competitive Intelligence. He also served as the research editor of the Arthur Andersen European Community Sourcebook. McGonagle received the prestigious Fellows Award in 1998 from SCIP, and in 2007, he received its highest award, the Meritorious Award. He has been an adjunct professor at Kutztown University and an adjunct lecturer at Lehigh University and Allentown College, teaching competitive intelligence (a course he developed) and business policy. McGonagle has served as a member and chair of the Association for Strategic Planning's Goodman Awards Committee for innovation in strategic planning.



"Conscientious decision makers in large multinationals and/or do-it-yourselfers will glean valuable insights from Vella and McGonagle's workbook/thinkbook. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals."Choice

"This is a must read for strategic planners who want to understand why and how competitive intelligence is done, and how it enables smart decision-making."
The Strategic Edge

"Any knowledge producer—researcher, practitioner, or manager—will learn something valuable here. Likewise, the user of intelligence—business owner, executive, or investor—will benefit by becoming an 'educated consumer' of intelligence work products and by seeing what is possible, even with limited resources."Knowledge Value Chain


"I have worked with John and Carolyn for many years. Their meticulousness shines on every page of this very real approach to solving competitive intelligence problems. In this book you get to listen in on real conversations and solve real issues. I will definitely recommend it to the managers attending our certification program."—Benjamin Gilad, PhD, President, FGH-Academy of Competitive Intelligence

"In a complex global economy, doing competitive intelligence well is difficult. Screwing it up is easy. Long experienced in competitive intelligence, Vella and McGonagle provide insightful lessons for those who need intelligence to compete, profit, and succeed. They answer such questions as how to set up a competitive analysis effort and how to tell whether an existing effort is contributing as it should. This is a practical 'go to' book for executives who need competitive intelligence, may not know how to employ it, or may be perplexed about how to manage it."—Peter C. Oleson, Editor, Guide to the Study of Intelligence (Association of Former Intelligence Officers, 2016)

"Vella and McGonagle's practical, real-world guide to CI provides wonderful evidence that traditional corporate librarians are especially well suited to practicing CI because of our research skills and inherent curiosity. When corporate librarians embrace the transition from 'question-answerer' to 'question-asker,' we open up new career paths. This is an essential addition to every librarian's shelf."—Lora Bray, 2017 Chair, SLA Competitive Intelligence Division

"Vella and McGonagle's conversational style brings you directly into the narrative through engaging, thought provoking questions. As such, it felt as if I was doing the CI project with them. Anyone involved in CI, or trying to rescue their CI program, will find Vella's and McGonagle's book informative, insightful, practical, and executable."—James D. Stockmal, President, Association for Strategic Planning

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

The Entrepreneur's Guide to Market Research cover imageCompetitive Intelligence and Global Business cover imageBottom Line Competitive Intelligence cover image
The Manager's Guide to Competitive Intelligence cover imageThe Internet Age of Competitive Intelligence cover imageNavigating an Organizational Crisis cover image

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