To survive and thrive, an organization must create a competitive advantage. A competitive advantage is a product or service that an organizationís customers place a greater value on than similar offerings from a competitor. Unfortunately, competitive advantages are typically temporary because competitors often seek ways to duplicate the competitive advantage. In turn, organizations must develop a strategy based on a new competitive advantage.
When an organization is the first to market with a competitive advantage, it gains a first-mover advantage. The first-mover advantage occurs when an organization can significantly impact its market share by being first to market with a competitive advantage. As organizations develop their competitive advantages, they must pay close attention to their competition through environmental scanning. Environmental scanning is the acquisition and analysis of events and trends in the environment external to an organization. Information technology has the opportunity to play an important role in environmental scanning.