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The Spanish business environment associates the function of competitive intelligence (CI) to customer-focused marketing area. The fact that competitive intelligence is not seen as a high value-added tool in terms of security, technological vigilance, and strategic vision makes us ask ourselves if Spanish companies realize that CI is an essential source for improving competitiveness and verify if companies have implemented this function appropriately. This article proposes a review of the CI implementation process in Spanish companies. This research work provides an audit of processes carried out with the objective of identifying areas of improvement not only in the implementation but also in the sustainability of the intelligence programs so the reader can audit a function in terms of sustainability of the program. According to this research, the scope of the auditory work in CI is in initial phases, more centered on the auditing of resources than intelligence, the focus of the audits in CI is based on the measures of product control and usability for clients and the implementation of CI audits in Spanish companies as a way of strengthening and legitimizing CI units. Finally, based on the results and needs of the study, we propose a CI auditing process.
The results gathered through auditing the CI process in Spanish companies respond to the research objectives that were outlined relating to three issues. Firstly, our goal was to determine if CI is being audited correctly in Spanish companies. The results show that the labor of the CI auditing is important to ensure that the implementation of the function in the organization is carried out in a lesser way than is expressed in the following:
● Spain, after China and Italy, became in 2013 the third country in the world by number of quality certificates (NP ISO Survey, 2013). However the majority of the companies do not consider it necessary to be certified in auditing standards of CI such as the Spanish regulation for “the Management of Investigation, Development and Innovation: technological vigilance Systems and CI,” UNE 166006:2011 or another external certification is done by CI professional or strategic consultants. They are not concerned about the issue as they are in other areas. To have certificates and references could be a special help for companies that start to operate in CI to add value.
● External audits are not carried out due to confidentiality and critical aspects of the field, which is why they end up being completed by internal auditors.