Tangible assets have always been a critical prerequisite for the competitiveness and the subsequent continued existence of companies. However, the long-term competitiveness of companies increasingly depends on its ability to identify, sustain and stimulate growth in value adding knowledge assets. Knowledge is the primary asset of the knowledge economy (Stewart 2001).
Knowledge assets include the knowledge of employees on their roles and responsibilities (human capital), knowledge about customers and suppliers (relationship capital), the knowledge embedded in databases, processes, structures, rules, routines (structural capital) and, more importantly, knowledge about competitors (competitive capital) (Bontis 2002; Rothberg and Erickson 2002). The sum total of these knowledge assets equals the amount and level of intellectual capital of companies.
Strategic training preceded by a competitive intelligence (CI) process implies that the necessary emphasis is placed on ascertaining the nature of the emergent strategic environment of companies and the forces at play within the emergent strategic environment of companies. The focus is therefore long term in nature as opposed to the short term and tactical nature of CI that is sometimes found in companies.