In SaaS at least, I’ll give you one metric that is fairly reliable:
How many dedicated sales professional do they have, just 100% selling the competitive product?
If it’s > 20 or so, your BigCo is taking it Seriously.
If not, and it’s a sales-driven space … they aren’t.
Building a 1.0 competitor is not that big of a deal.
Dedicated some engineers to it even isn’t that big of a deal. You usually have a lot of those as an SVP in a BigCo.
Throwing another product to sell to existing reps that sell the ‘main’ products isn’t a big deal, either. This doesn’t work well, but doing it isn’t a big deal.
But hiring 20, 50, 100+ dedicated sales reps, reporting to a dedicated VP of Sales? That’s more unusual.
That’s real extra expense, extra complications, and real changes to the org chart. It will impact fiefdoms and budgets and annual planning.
BigCos. only do this once they are at least semi-serious.