Industry Analysis and Competitor/Partner Analysis

During a recent webinar, someone raised the question, “What is the difference between industry analysis and analyzing competitors for potential partnerships?” The answer might be worthwhile to share with our larger audience:

When you analyze the industry, you are asking questions about the work you want to do, where you want to do it, how to do it best, and so on. Who else does it (competitors) is part of the analysis, and interviewing them about their experience with the work is an important step, but the questions are broader than that. What types of organizations succeed at doing this, and what exactly did they do that helped them succeed? This last is called a “key success factor” – and it’s very important. One team this year is planning to operate a primary care clinic at the health department. They know it’s needed in their community, mostly by the uninsured, but they’ve learned through their industry analysis that a key success factor for such programs is to include patients who have insurance (but who may not have a primary care doctor) in the mix of clientele. To ensure that they can include this factor in their program, the team is working on the customer service angle of their organization – making the waiting area more welcoming and time-efficient, and making sure that customer service is considered as their organization builds a new facility in the coming months.

Now, making competitors into strategic partners is the next step. Use your industry analysis to figure out what you bring to the table, what you need from your partners, and how you two can most effectively work together, mutually beneficially, to get the job done in a sustainable way. So, you’ve identified you need clientele from a broad range of “ability to pay,” then think about what partners would help you get there. If you only partner with the local hospital, you’ll get all of their uninsured patients and none that can pay. Is there a health network in your area that works to coordinate care for the under-insured poor? Is there a Community Health Center that has trouble keeping providers, or needs a place to send the overflow of patients? Talk to specialists who will take referrals, and private practitioners who will refer to you or work with you to provide care.

This example may not seem exactly like “public health” work, but unfortunately public health providing primary care is a reflection of the current economic times. And ideally, public health brings prevention to the equation, making the whole community healthier over the long haul, than they would be without your participation in primary care.

More to come.