Building a competitive intelligence group

The company Edgar On-Line launches its own service giving subscribers access to a comprehensive set of XBRL data Extensible Business Reporting Language-. The easy availability of this information makes it practical for corporations to use it for competitive analysis, operational benchmarking, sales intelligence, and so forth.

XBRL Extensible Business Reporting Language- is an open specification that uses XML-based data tags to describe financial statements for both public and private companies. Its purpose is to use accepted financial reporting standards and practices to simplify the preparation, exchange and analysis of financial statements. XBRL substantially increases the speed with which data can be acquired and analyzed, extends the depth of financial analyses with which organizations realistically can work and significantly reduces the chance of errors from mis-keying or mis-classifying data. XBRL could have a significant impact on companies ability to gain deeper insight into competitors and customers operations. This information can be used for competitive assessments, operational benchmarking, sales planning and other activities. While the United States Securities and Exchange Commission SEC- has allowed companies to take their time adopting XBRL reporting, Edgar On-Line, an information provider, will shortly launch a product, I-Metrix, which will provide XBRL-tagged information from all 12,000 or so SEC filers, including widely held private companies and private firms with public debt instruments. Initially, Edgar On-Line intends to offer about 80% of the line-item information contained in the 10-K annual and 10-Q quarterly filings, a substantial increase in the depth of data currently accessible from third party information services. Within a year, the company intends to incorporate all line-item information, as well as certain common types of information included in the text of the reports or its footnotes. Once acquired, companies will be able to use the XBRL data directly in Excel spreadsheets for analysis. Users can work with the original data, tagged with XBRL taxonomies. Other data services, which are not nearly as comprehensive, usually aggregate data using their own methodology to achieve comparability across companies. This approach can be useful for high-level analysis but not for the sort of detailed, apples-to-apples examinations one expects competitive intelligence units would want to perform at all levels. In research on management and financial reporting companies do a good job of tracking basic internal financial data and, to some extent, operations data. However, they lag in collecting information about competitors performance. They may have access to third party market research or use market data services such as McGraw Hill s Dodge Database for US construction projects-, but only a limited number collect actual data from that competitive intelligence goldmine, SEC filings. Research shows that a substantial majority of managers and employees believe the information they receive about competitors is inadequate. This is understandable, since in the past it was difficult to do consistently on an ongoing basis. The availability of easily accessible comprehensive data sets changes this and makes it imperative that companies learn how to use this information more effectively. Source and full article: www.bizintelligencepipeline.coma>