As much as you would like to plan the next steps ahead, sometimes someone or, in this case, “something” simply upsets your plans. This was the case last friday, when our workshop speaker Johannes Deltl got stuck at the Vienna airport and unfortunately landed with a delay in the far north. But as it turned out, the wait was worth it! Johannes is a real professional in the field of “strategic competitive intelligence”. As managing director of the consulting firm Acrasio, he can look back on more than 20 years of professional experience on the client and consultant side. As an author, university lecturer and speaker, the native Viennese explained to us, among other things, about the competitive intelligence process, evaluation possibilities and approaches in very different industries. With a short “hands-on” part from the agile project management area, the method of prioritization was illustrated.

Companies should actively consider who could actually become a competitor in the future.

Foresee the next, but also the steps beyond and after the next steps of your competitors, classify and assess them for your own company and then react appropriately. This is what is important in strategic competitive intelligence. With numerous examples, procedures, evaluation possibilities and practical examples from very different industries, Johannes brought us closer to the topic, so that afterwards (over beer, cider and pizza) there was a lively exchange.

Interview with the workshop participants

Interview mit Philip von DACAPO (Otto Group)

Hi Philip, introduce yourself for a moment.
My name is Philip and I am currently doing a 6-month internship at the Otto Group in the team of DACAPO. There I do data visualization and machine learning.

What are you studying?
I am studying Quantitative Finance in the Master’s programme in Kiel.

What exactly are your tasks at DACAPO?
Data visualization with tableau. That means I access a database that stores data from crawled online shops and create dashboards that our customers have requested. Or I compile dashboards that we think our customers might be interested in or where customers have already expressed the wish that “this and that” should be displayed. The input for the visualization comes 90% from the customers.

This is basically competitive analysis. And you guys answer questions like: What is the price strategy of my competitors, for example?
Yes, exactly. Or assortments, colours and much more.

And you offer them your dashboard and customers can draw the reports themselves? Or do you send the analyses to them proactively, so to speak?
We provide the data and/or the dashboards to the customers.

What did you take away from today’s workshop?
For me, the whole area of planning and also the evaluation was interesting in the end: What did our tool, which we provide, actually bring to the customer’s decision making or would it be interesting to look at other areas in the future? And to put more work into it together, either internally or together with the customer, to think about what is interesting in the end. Instead of running analyses for days, sending them to the customer and not knowing in the end whether the customer is even interested.

Buch über Strategische Wettbewerbsanalyse

Interview with Adrian from bonprix

Hi, Adrian, introduce yourself for a moment.
My name is Adrian, I come from bonprix and I am a project manager in a department that develops software products for the purchasing and supply chain sector. In other words, all in-house products that are primarily related to purchasing. And currently I am mainly involved in forecasting. That is, demand forecasting at product level.

What kind of lead time you have here?
Different. Ideally, it’s over 6 months. But it all depends. We have different types of products, of course. Some products have been around for over 15 years and they have never changed. However, a very large amount of products are only used once for a single collection and never come back.

How many collections do you have per year?
By now we have reached 12 collections per year, one per month.

What was interesting for you? Why did you come to this workshop?
I heard about this workshop from the head of my department. And it actually fits quite well into this forecasting topic, because of course competition details also play a role. Depending on how many products the competition is currently offering in any way, this can have an influence and we don’t take that into account – at least on this technical level.

That means that you are currently forecasting only on the basis of historical stock data?

Is there a topic you find interesting for an upcoming workshop?
Actually everything around product attributes. So which you can possibly also extract from images. After all, these are also responsible for the success of forecasting. So I would be interested to know how much and what you can extract from images.

In other words, at the moment you know what sold very well, but you can’t give a title to it, whether it was the short sleeves or a certain pattern?
No, we also use a lot of attributes, but they are all entered manually and that’s something you could think about to automate. Especially when creating patterns for products, you have to create a lot of attributes for a product that may never see the market. And that is of course
some work. This would also be interesting, for example, that you could get automatic attribute suggestions based on photos.