The Body of Knowledge (BOK) for Competitive Intelligence

A Body of Knowledge (BOK) is defined [1] as “the complete set of concepts, terms and activities that make up a professional domain, as defined by the relevant professional association”. While the term body of knowledge is also used to describe the document that defines that knowledge — the body of knowledge itself is more than simply a collection of terms; a professional reading list; a library; a website or a collection of websites; a description of professional functions; or even a collection of information. It is the accepted ontology for a specific domain.


In December 2005 SCIP launched a BOK initiative. Under the leadership of Dr. John Prescott (Chair), University of Pittsburgh, the BOK Task Force was established comprising a core team of 10 members, supplemented by an international team of over 30 Competitive Intelligence professionals.

As a result of this initiative a draft Competitive Intelligence BOK was published in May 2008 [3]. This draft was circulated throughout the wider competitive intelligence community to elicit feedback and to refine the BOK. After this validation phase the final BOK [1] was published on September 19th 2008.

CI Books Goals and Applications

The purpose of the CI BOK is to create a “Compendium of current and leading-edge competencies drawn on by CI professionals and their organizations”[2][3].  Competencies in this BOK are defined as 

  •  "clusters of skills, abilities, and behaviours required for successful performance in the job”. 
  • “Competencies that set Competitive Intelligence apart from related professional disciplines” [3]

Prescott mentioned 4 principal applications for the BOK in CI products and programs [3]:

  1. Competitive Intelligence Careers
    The BOK should serve as the foundation for designing job descriptions, interviewing guides, career paths, etc.
  2. Certification & Training
    The BOK should serve as the foundation for designing a certification program and CI training programs
  3. Academic Curriculum
    The BOK should assist Colleges and Universities in developing coursework for CI programs
  4. SCIP Publications
    The BOK should provide a framework for developing articles for CIM , JCIM , SCIP.Online etc.

Competency Domains

The Competitive Intelligence Body of Knowledge defines 7 knowledge areas, which group together related sets of tasks and techniques. Each of these tasks and techniques describes the typical knowledge, skills, processes and deliverables that the competitive intelligence professional requires to be able to perform those tasks competently.



Professional certification through the Institute for Competitive Intelligence

With the Body of Knowledge established, the Institute for Competitive Intelligence was able to validate its existing certification program. ICI’s modular certificate program became operational in 2004 as a means of training competitive intelligence professionals in the art of CI. ICI’s CPCI™ program is currently the only CI training program of its kind which comprehensively addresses all the areas of SCIP’s Body of Knowledge.
General CI education concepts as well as ICI’s specific training approach were published in 2010[5].


  1.  ↑ WIKIPEDIA Body of Knowledge (Link)

  2.   Prescott, John E., Ph.D., Chair - BOK Task Force; September 19, 2008
        Con­ceptual Framework and Seven Competitive Intelligence (CI) Competency Domains (2008);

        Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals’ Body of Knowledge Project: 

  3.   Prescott, John E. (2009)
        The Competitive Intelligence Professional’s Competency Frame­work;
        SCIP Competitive Intelligence Magazine, Vol 12, Number 1, Jan/Feb 2009
  4.  ↑ Prescott, John E.
        Presentation at SCIP’s Annual Conference April 17th, 2008 (Link)
  5.   Michaeli, Rainer (2010)
        Training to Become a CI Professional in Competitive Intelligence,
    ISBN 978-7-5023-6781-7 (Link)


  1. SCIP: ( ) was formerly known as Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals. In 2009 it merged with the Frost&Sullivan Institute. In July 2010 it was renamed to “Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals”.
  2. International BOK Team: including Rainer Michaeli, Director of the Institute for Competitive Intelligence.
  3. CIM: Competitive Intelligence Magazine
  4. JCIM: Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management - terminated by SCIP in 2009

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