State of Competitive (CI) & Market Intelligence (MI) in 2023

State of Competitive & Market Intelligence – A 2023 Report

We compiled this report by surveying our TBR client service teams in February 2023 to better understand what is going on within the CI/MI organizations they serve. We captured data inputs on approximately 50 large global technology firms, collectively representing billions of dollars in annual revenue and millions of total employees.
Specific topics we analyzed included:

  • CI/MI function reporting structure
  • CI/MI function size (headcount)
  • Current and future anticipated headcount changes for 2023
  • Alignment of CI/MI team members (e.g., functional, vertical, geographic)
  • Third-party vendors used
  • Changes in third-party vendor usage for 2023
  • Tools used
  • Key MI/CI deliverables
  • Changes in overall demand for CI/MI

In this report, we provide our analysis of the above topics and the overall trends we see in technology vendor CI/MI functions for 2023. We also compare the findings longitudinally to a previous version of this study that was conducted in mid-2019.

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If you are a competitive and market intelligence (CI/MI) professional, stop, take a breath, close your eyes for a minute, and take a sip of whatever trusted beverage is by your side before continuing. Let’s face it, your job is hard. Really hard.
Technology markets are more competitive and evolving more rapidly than ever before. At the same time, technology companies are resetting from the technology investment boom of the COVID-19 pandemic and establishing leaner operations to navigate potential recessionary conditions in 2023 and beyond. This creates a challenging dual mandate for CI/MI teams and professionals. You are increasingly being asked to do more — deliver more insights, with higher quality and faster — with less (e.g., budget, resources, time).
If that sounds like you, or even sounds like a colleague that you know and depend on, there are probably hundreds of questions circulating in your head. How will we expand our deliverables? And how will we ensure coverage with a team that is half the size? How will we perform CI/MI when we do not even have any dedicated CI/MI resources? Did I forget to update that battle card? Did I forget to eat lunch today? Am I alone in feeling like this? What are others like me doing?
Since 1996, TBR has served as a competitive and market intelligence partner for hundreds of the B2B technology sector’s largest and most established firms. TBR’s relationships span Fortune 500 through Global 2000 enterprises across the IT professional services, management consulting, data center hardware, PC and mobile devices, software, cloud and telecommunications sectors.
For nearly three decades, we have served tens of thousands of users across those organizations with subscription and tailored research. Our research and analyst expertise helps those users to better understand the competitive, partner and larger technology market ecosystems in which they play. We go deep on topics such as financial performance; overall business strategy’ go-to-market, alliance and acquisition strategies; and pricing, portfolio and resource management strategies.
In our capacity as advisers to these organizations, we have had the opportunity to work intimately with their CI/MI teams. We often serve as a direct extension of these teams and are responsible for many of their stakeholder deliverables.
This close working relationship, compounded over years, has helped us to cultivate a deep understanding of world-class CI/MI teams. We have seen how they work, how they are structured, who they serve, what they serve them with, and how they adapt to change.
In this report, we endeavor to mine those experiences to share some trends and best practices we are seeing across our clients. It is our hope that we can help CI/MI professionals like you navigate this year, optimize your role and your team for success, and provide clear answers to the questions that are keeping you up at night.

Executive Summary

There is one megatrend that we observed in our study that stands above the rest — change. Change comes in many forms. At the highest level, changes within the markets companies play in place new burdens on the type and volume of intelligence. Teams, budgets and organizational structures change constantly. Change can also be its own challenge; markets and teams change, but the need for CI/MI and the deliverables that CI/MI professionals create does not change.
Change typically requires the most precious resource CI/MI professionals have — time. Time is under constant pressure, as CI/MI professionals are asked to do more with less. In many recent cases, this even means doing CI/MI without the benefit of a shared and centralized budget, resources and leadership structure. As changes continue to disrupt the profession, CI/MI teams and professionals will increasingly look outside for help. They will seek out technologies, third-party analyst and research firms, and other tools that can help them automate and optimize CI/MI and free up available time for the most high-value, impactful projects.