CONFIRM YOUR UNDERSTANDING
What is Competitive Intelligence and Competitor Analysis?
What is business intelligence? What is market intelligence?
Sometimes the language of competitive intelligence can be confusing. We are indebted to eminent CI professional and SCIP Fellow Vernon Prior of Prior Knowledge for his work in putting this Glossary together.
We reproduce his wonderful work here in his memory and as a testimonial to the depth of his knowledge and expertise. Vernon Prior was a renowned and generous competitive intelligence professional and a SCIP Fellow. This glossary is an extract from ‘The Language of Competitive Intelligence’ which was first published by the Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals.
After Action Review (AAR) is a presentation or discussion following an event or activity by those involved with, or interested in, that event and whose purpose is to learn from it. An AAR should describe what was intended to happen, what was actually accomplished, what mistakes were made, what lessons were learned, and how participation in similar events might be improved in the future. They may be recorded in a variety of media as a form of reference for future use. Briefings and AARs (also referred to as Debriefings) are excellent learning tools and help to instil an information-sharing culture. Their effectiveness depends to a great extent on accurately identifying the most appropriate audience.
See also: Briefing, Debriefing, Intranet, Knowledge management.
Ambush Marketing occurs when a company that does not directly support a specific event attempts to present itself as a marketing partner. This is usually achieved through the use of misleading advertising or promotional activities. See also Disinformation.
Analysis involves the examination of complex Information in order to ascertain its constituent elements and to more easily understand the meaning. The fundamental forms of analysis are: Deduction, Induction, Pattern recognition, and Trend analysis. See also: Intelligence analysis, Predictive analytics, Synthesis.
Analysis paralysis is a colloquial expression that implies that one’s decision-making ability is severely impaired by exposure to overwhelming volumes of Information; it is a symptom of Information fatigue syndrome. See also: Information overload.
Automatic indexing uses a program to select words or phrases to identify content. It often employs several Indexing languages (Classification scheme , natural language, Controlled vocabulary, Standard Industry Code, Country Code, etc).
Balanced scorecard is a performance measurement system that, in addition to financial measures, quantifies items that had previously been considered as Intangible assets, such as brand image, customers, reputation, Human capital , Information , Innovation , and Corporate culture.
See also:Customer relationship management, Intellectual property, Knowledge assets, Knowledge management.
Benchmarking is a continuous, systematic process for evaluating and comparing an organisation’s activities, products, services, and work processes with those of organisations that are recognised as representing best practices for the purposes of performance improvement. A secondary purpose is to reveal useful practices or ideas that may be adopted or adapted with advantage. See also: Reengineering, Reverse engineering.
Bibliographic reference is the Information necessary to identify a Document. It normally includes: author; title; place of publication, publisher, and date (in the case of a book); or author; title; name of journal; volume/edition, page number(s), and date (in the case of an article). Additional details may be included for clarification. See also: Annotation, Bibliography, Bibliometrics, Citation, Metadata.
Blog is a direct means for an individual to share ideas, thoughts, opinions, and Information concerning a particular topic with an audience, using the Web as the medium. It usually takes the form of a diary or chronological narrative (in reverse chronological order) initiated, and frequently updated, by the blogger. Its main value lies in the establishment of networks and the Social capital created as a result, and usually comprises ephemeral material. See also: Corporate blog, Wiki.
Boolean algebra refers to an abstract system of symbols and operators that apply to logical problems. Boolean operators most commonly used for manipulating search terms in information retrieval include: AND, OR, NOT. Less common are: IF, NEAR, BEFORE, AFTER, THEN, EXCEPT. The results of employing Boolean operators may be illustrated using Venn diagrams . The term is derived from the British mathematician George Boole (1815-1864) who devised the original system. See also: Nesting, Proximity operators.
Brief is either an abridged memory aid for presenting arguments in a legal case, or a set of instructions concerning a specific task, operation or project. See also: Briefing, Report.
Briefing is the oral or written disclosure , before the event, of information or instructions concerning an operation, project, or visit. The term is derived from military practice. See also: After action review, Debriefing, Intelligence Briefing, Narrative, Report.
Business Intelligence is any combination of Data, Information, and Knowledge concerning the Business environment in which a company operates that, when acted upon, will confer a significant Competitive advantage or enable sound decisions to be made. Thus, for practitioners, the term encompasses both Competitive intelligence and Knowledge management. Involvement in Competitive Intelligence operations will enable the organisation to, inter alia:
- Anticipate and manage risk;
- Seek Opportunities and new markets;
- Take action before competitors;
- Exploit competitors’ weaknesses;
- Improve Planning and decision-making.
The term is also widely accepted as being concerned with Information technology solutions for transforming the output from large Data collections into so-called Intelligence ; usually through the integration of sales, marketing, servicing, and support activities. Also loosely referred to as Customer relationship management, it covers such activities as Data mining and Enterprise reporting , and the associated software. Those involved in this form of Competitive Intelligence tend to regard it as simply one aspect of Knowledge management . Systems based on such software have replaced the term Executive information systems. See also: Competitive intelligence, Competitor, Competitor intelligence, Intelligence analysis, Market intelligence, and Technological intelligence.
Business plan incorporates a detailed study of the current and anticipated future activities of an enterprise, and of all factors (such as marketing, development and production, and financial aspects) that will have a bearing on those activities. Since it is also the normal mechanism for attracting investment, it should provide potential investors with the information they need in order to evaluate the risks and the potential returns on investment (ROI). Often used as a generic term covering marketing, operational, strategic, tactical, and other forms of corporate plans. See also: Planning, Venture Capital.
Business process outsourcing (BPO) is a long term contractual delegation of management and operational responsibility for an IT-enabled business function, or process area, to an external services provider. BPO covers three broad areas of activity: sales, marketing and customer care; administration and finance; operations processes (which may include materials management, procurement, distribution, or manufacturing). BPO may be partial (management or operation only) or complete (management, operation, and ownership).
Case-based reasoning is a technique for deriving solutions to problems through a reasoning process using Artificial Intelligence to produce analogies with similar problems where solutions are already known.
Caves and Commons is a colloquial term for the two main types of working area: caves represent private areas used for concentrated thinking; commons refers to open spaces designed to encourage discussion and the exchange of information and ideas. See also: Work spaces, Working Environment.
Cipher is a way of producing a document whose content may be understood by the intended recipient but should be unintelligible to others. This is usually achieved by substituting computer-generated random numbers or letters for the symbols making up the content of the document. Since the same sequence must be used to set up the system for both enciphering and deciphering, no cipher system is entirely invulnerable. See also: Code, Steganography.
Citation is a reference or footnote to a Document which contains sufficient Information to identify and locate the work to which it refers. It usually takes the form of a Bibliographic reference. See also: Annotation, Bibliography, Citation Analysis.
Classify is to assemble or group items in a rational and consistent manner. It is based upon a preconceived plan, with the whole field of interest divided into categories, classes, and sub-classes. It also means to designate a Document as an official secret or as not available for general disclosure. See also: Classification scheme, Classified information, Directories, Hierarchical classification, Index, Keyword, Ontology, Taxonomy, Thesaurus, Trade secret.
Classified Information refers to military or national secrets. It is normally available to unqualified individuals only by means of clandestine human or technical (imagery or signals) Intelligence. See also: Classify.
Clickstreaming enables a Web site to monitor a user’s movements while on site and when moving to other links from that site.
Cluster consists of several enterprises that have entered into a formal, continuing association in order to pursue some activities in common and derive maximum benefit from such synergy. These shared activities may include: Research, Development, and Innovation; Marketing, promotion, labelling and publication of Trade Literature; imposing minimum standards of quality; arranging the supply of equipment, components, or materials; and sharing Information gathering and Analysis. See also: Alliance, Joint venture, Lead-firm network, Networking, Production network, Service network, Strategic alliance, Value chain.
Colloquium is an informal academic Conference or group discussion. See also: Seminar, Symposium and Workshop.
Combination, one of the four basic Knowledge Management processes, is a technique for combining items of Explicit knowledge to form new explicit knowledge. See also: Externalisation, Internalisation, and Socialisation.
Commercialism is the imposition of business principles and full-cost accounting techniques on government enterprises.
Community of interest is a network of people who are committed to the mutual exchange of ideas and Information. The focus tends to be on learning about areas of common interest, rather than producing practical results. See also: Community of practice.
Community of practice (CoP) is an informal, self-organising, interactive group that develops in response to a specific, work-related activity, subject, practice, or problem of mutual interest. Membership is determined by participation and may transcend hierarchical and organisational boundaries. It provides a means of developing best practices or solutions to problems through Communication, that is, through participation in the exchange of Information and the creation of Knowledge . A community of practice may use a variety of media for this purpose, including face-to-face meetings, reports, email, instant messaging, collaborative workspaces, and intranets. Communities of practice can sometimes make a major contribution to Social capital in organisations. A CoP may sometime be called a Community of purpose or commitment. Large, geographically dispersed communities tend to be referred to as Networks of practice. See also: Community of interest, Electronic mail, Groupware, Intranet, Knowledge management, Networking, Report, Team.
Competency modelling involves identifying superior performers and creating profiles that specify their expertise, skills, personalities, values, and other attributes as a basis for general organisational improvement. See also: Expertise profiling, Knowledge map, Mindset.
Competitive Advantage is gained by exploiting the unique blend of activities, assets, attributes, market conditions, and relationships that differentiates an organisation from its competitors. These may include: access to natural resources, specific location, or skilled workforce. See also: Competitive Intelligence, Competitor and Critical success factors.
Competitive intelligence is a systematic and ethical programme for gathering, analysing, and managing Information about the external Business environment that can affect a company’s plans, decisions, and operations. Although narrower in scope, it is commonly employed as a synonym for Competitive Intelligence.
Competitor intelligence is a subdivision of Business Intelligence that concerns the current and proposed business activities of competitors. See also: Competitor, Strategic group analysis.
Competitor profiling is the systematic Analysis of competitors in order to learn from their strengths and exploit their weaknesses. The knowledge acquired is used to gain and maintain a Competitive advantage. See also: Competitor, Intelligence analysis, SWOT analysis.
Confirmation bias refers to our tendency to seek evidence that will confirm our own opinion, or ignore or devalue that which does not. See also: Analysis, Intelligence Analysis.
Contact management system(CMS) allows organisations and individuals to record relationships and interactions with customers and suppliers.
Content analysis describes the technique of identifying keywords and descriptors from a given document in order to facilitate Information retrieval . See also: Descriptor, Keyword,Indexing.
Content Management System (CMS) separates the management of content from that of its presentation. This allows segments of content to bear Metadata and other attributes and be handled as building blocks in putting together web pages, thus simplifying the task of updating. See also: Information architecture.
Contestability is the extent to which provision of a good or service is open to alternative suppliers.
Contingency planning differs from Scenario planning in that it usually takes into account only one probably future event. See also: Planning, War gaming.
Controlled vocabulary is an Indexing language; that is, a standardised – yet dynamic – set of terms and phrases authorised for use in an indexing system to describe a subject area or Information domain. Ideally, the terms that are used to represent subjects, and the process whereby terms are assigned to particular documents, should be both controlled and executed by one individual. It can vary from a simple alphabetical list of terms to a complex annotated Thesaurus . Also known as a Controlled indexing language. See also: Classification scheme, Classify, Content analysis, Descriptor, Document, Index, Keyword, Natural indexing language, Ontology, Taxonomy, Topic map.
Corporate intelligence is a broad term covering both Competitive Intelligence and Competitive intelligence as well as those elements that are inherent in global operations, such as Corporate security and Counterintelligence.
Corporate culture is the set of values, beliefs, and relationships between individuals and functions that guide the decisions of the company in order to achieve its objectives. It results in behaviour that has been learned within a group or transferred between individuals over time. Also known as Organisational culture. See also: Meme, Mission statement, Social capital, Vision statement.
Corporate governance is the framework of rules, relationships, systems, and processes within and by which authority is exercised and controlled in corporations. See also: Stakeholder.
Counterintelligence refers to those activities that are concerned with identifying and counteracting the threat to security posed by hostile intelligence services or organisations, or by individuals engaged in Espionage, sabotage, or subversion. See also: Corporate security, Intellectual property, Knowledge assets.
Countertrade is the exchange of goods or services free of monetary consideration.
Crawler uses existing Internet search engines to carry out automatic search and retrieval of selected Information on behalf of a user. Also know as Web crawler. See also: Bot, Intelligent agents, Search engine, Spider.
Critical success factors are the limited number of activities that need to succeed and be effective if company aims are to be achieved; or, are the few key areas of activity in which favourable results are absolutely necessary for a particular manager to reach his or her goals. Knowing the critical success factors helps to determine information needs. Also known as Key success factors. See also: Competitive advantage.
Current awareness services make available Knowledge of what is being done in specific fields of endeavour through Documents (such as notes, abstracts, clippings, email, Selective dissemination of information , and Database records) or orally (such as face-to-face or telephone conversations). See also: Electronic mail, Indicative abstract, Informative abstract.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a software-based technique designed to select and manage customers in order to maximise their long-term value to an enterprise. The term covers several aspects of customer relationships, such as: campaign management systems, call centres, interactive voice response systems, e-commerce, point-of-sale, and sales automation. The intention is to understand and anticipate the needs, preferences, and buying habits of existing and potential customers. To that end, it usually employs some form of Data mining designed to exploit large customer databases. Seen by some as the most important aspect of Knowledge management. See also: Database, Electronic commerce.
Cyberspace is the notional environment in which communication over computer networks occurs. The term is currently used to describe the whole range of information resources available through such networks. See also: Browser, Internet, Network, World Wide Web.
Dashboard is a Visualisation tool that provides graphical depictions of current key performance indicators in order to enable faster response to changes in areas such as sales, customer relations, performance assessments, and inventory levels.
Data consist of unconnected facts, numbers, names, codes, symbols, dates, words, and other items of that nature that are out of context, and that only acquire meaning through association. See also: Competitive Intelligence, Code, Information, Knowledge.
Data mart is a focused collection of operational Data that is usually confined to a specific aspect of a business. A number of stand-alone data marts are often referred to as Islands of data.
Data mining is the systematic computer Analysis, through the use of statistical techniques (often employing Neural networks) , of large volumes of collected Data with the aim of revealing previously unidentified patterns, trends, and relationships about customers, products, services, and other activities that can lead to new and profitable business opportunities. As with any Database, the critical aspects are to do with accurate, up-to-date content, and with the means used for locating and matching that content to user needs; that is, with the level of intellectual input. For these reasons the procedure is complex and protracted, calling for specialised expertise and imagination. Also known as Database tomography, Discovery Informatics, or Knowledge discovery. Examples of data mining include: identifying new customers, predicting customer buying habits, confirming suitable loan applications, revealing fraud, indicating potentially rewarding investments, managing equity portfolios, diagnosing medical problems, inventory management, and conducting certain aspects of Marketing. See also: Data warehouse, Predictive analytics, Text mining, Visualisation.
Database is a collection of interrelated Data stored together without harmful or unnecessary redundancy and structured in such a manner as to serve one or more applications. The data are stored so that they are independent of programs that use the data.
Debriefing is an alternative term for After Action Review. See also: Briefing, Knowledge management, Narrative.
Deception is the use of fraud, subterfuge, or false or misleading information in order to conceal the truth or to gain an advantage. See also: Pretexting, Social engineering.
Decision diary records decisions made, together with any assumptions made and the reasoning employed. It is used to derive lessons to assist future decision-making.
Decision tree is a graphical representation of the Analysis of sequential decisions and their likely outcomes. See also: Predictive analytics.
Deduction is based on theory and logic. It involves reasoning from the general to the particular, that is, drawing specific conclusions from general premises; to infer. For example, to ascribe to one member of a class the properties generally observed in other members of that same class. In general, scientific laws are established in this way. From a number of observations, a generalisation (or law) is drawn: the greater the number of observations, the more reliable the conclusion is likely to be. See also: Analysis, Induction, Intelligence analysis.
Demography is the scientific study of human communities, including size, composition, distribution, density, movement, rate of growth or decline, and other characteristics, and of the causes and consequences of changes in these factors. See also: Census, Market intelligence, Market segmentation.
Derived-term indexing is where the Indexing terms are extracted directly from the record or Document. See also: Assigned-term indexing, Enrichment, Index.
Descriptor is a term attached to a Document to permit its subsequent location and retrieval. See also: Indexing.
Diffusion is the process whereby new Knowledge, Know-how, and innovations spread from an innovation organisation to other potential or actual users; or is the spread of innovations into general use. See also: Commercialisation, Creativity, Development, Extension service, Innovation, Intellectual property, Networking, Social network analysis, Technology transfer.
Directories are primarily lists of names and contact details of people and organisations, together with descriptions of their projects, activities, products, and expertise arranged in a variety of ways; mainly in alphabetical, subject, or classified order. Online directories provide lists of subject headings that are arranged hierarchically, from broader to narrower terms, and are compiled by human editors. They are more suitable for browsing and easier to navigate than Search engines. Be aware, however, that online directory compilers usually rely on descriptions submitted by site creators. See also: Classify, Hierarchical classification.
Disinformation may be of two kinds. Active disinformation is that which is promulgated with the intention to deceive others in the expectation of benefit. It is designed to change people’s perceptions of reality and persuade them to accept certain desired conclusions by the use of exaggerated, false, or misleading Information. Passive disinformation is when possibly detrimental information is deliberately ignored or concealed. See also: Misinformation, Social engineering.
Document contains recorded human Knowledge, in any format; or is Information structured in such a way as to facilitate human comprehension. See also: Explicit knowledge, File, Report, Surrogate.
Duopoly market is one in which the combined share of the top two companies is more than 73.9% of the market, and the leading company has less than 1.7 times the Market Share of the second company.
Embodied knowledge is that Knowledge which is incorporated in a product although not explicitly identified. It is integral to equipment or materials; for example, the technological knowledge contained in a modern household appliance, a vehicle, or a recording device. Embodied knowledge can often be deduced through Reverse engineering. It is sometimes loosely referred to as Implicit knowledge. See also: Knowledge.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP), also know as Enterprise performance management (EPM) or Professional services automation (PSA), is a software-driven technique that is intended to optimise the use and application of resources (project management) and manage mission-critical processes (such as workflows, time and expense reporting, collaboration, and Knowledge capture.)
Enterprise systems aim to overcome problems with incompatible Information storage and retrieval systems by introducing a common format for databases within companies. Proprietary processes need to be tailored to meet the needs of the enterprise systems, necessitating management and structural change. See also: Database.
Environmental scanning involves continuous monitoring of the whole Business environment, primarily in order to identify Opportunities and Threats resulting from change. See also: SWOT analysis.
Espionage is the use of illegal means (spying) to collect Information, more particularly secret or unpublished information. Offences may range from trespass and theft to treason. See also: Counterintelligence, Knowledge assets, Trade secret.
Experiential modelling is a sophisticated technique for converting Know-how and judgement into mathematical formulae that can be used to sove complex puzzles and help to predict the future.
Expertise profiling is a technique for identifying and classifying personal Knowledge and expertise for use in a Knowledge map. Often achieved either through manual completion of standard forms, or by inference from the content of documents produced by the individuals concerned. See also: Classify, Competency modelling, Document.
Explicit knowledge consists of anything that can be codified, or expressed in words, numbers, and other symbols (such as plans, marketing surveys, customer lists, specifications, manuals, instructions for assembling components, scientific formulae) and can, therefore, be easily articulated, usually in the form of documents, processes, procedures, products, and practices. See also: Document, Know-how, Knowledge, Knowledge management, Tacit knowledge.
Finger is a software tool for locating people on other Internet sites. It is also sometimes used to give access to non-personal Information, but the most common use is to verify that a person has an account at a particular site.
Five forces industry analysis helps to assess and manage the long-term attractiveness of an industry. It is designed to explain the relationship between the five dynamic forces that affect an industry’s performance; these are the:
- Intensity of competitive rivalry;
- Threat from new entrant;
- Threat from substitutes;
- Bargaining power of buyers;
- Bargaining power of suppliers.
Fuzzy logic is a software program that operates at a high level of abstraction and is able to handle conflicting demands. Typical engineering applications may be found in automatic transmission systems that are able to run more smoothly, and in subway trains that are able to start and atop without jerking. Other applications include Text mining and Case-base reasoning. See also: Artificial intelligence.
Gisting is the art of concisely reducing complex material to its absolute essence for intelligence reporting purposes. See also: Intelligence briefing, Report, Summary, Synopsis.
Grey literature refers to material that is not formally published, such as institutional or technical reports, working papers, business documents, conference proceedings, or other documents not normally subject to editorial control or peer review. It may be widely available yet difficult to trace. Trade literature comes under this broad heading.
Groupware refers to a broad selection of software that is designed to enable collaboration, networking, and information-sharing activities through computer networks. Sometimes referred to as Collaboration software. Groupware may be designed to execute some or any combination of the following:
- Electronic mail;
- meetings management;
- project management;
- Team scheduling;
- Distance learning;
- discussion groups.
See also: Community of practice, Networking, Networks.
Hard information is quantitative in nature and generally consists of facts, statistics, and other formally published Information . See also: Fact .
Hierarchical classification is a method of grouping in which terms are arranged from general to specific; that is , in which the structure is initially arranged in broad groups that are then successively subdivided into narrower groups. See also: Classify, Directories, Explode.
Horizon scanning is a form of Scenario analysis in that it is devoted to the systematic search for potential developments over the long term, but with the emphasis on those changes at the periphery of current thinking, and primarily in the fields of science and Technology. It tends to look at those key areas where science may hold the promise of a solution, or offer potential applications and technologies that have yet to be considered and articulated. See also: Scenario planning.
Horizontal organisations seek to reduce the number of layers of management and facilitate the development of a flatter, more responsive and productive organisations. Teams are allocated to, and made responsible for, specific business processes. This ensures that decisions are made more quickly and in a manner more consistent with business objectives. The technique is particularly useful in multinational organisations, because it helps to link disparate and geographically dispersed operations. See also: Team.
Human capital is the combined ability, Knowledge, skills, expertise, competencies, know-how, and innovativeness of an organisation’s members to conduct a specific activity, operation, project, or task. It also includes that organisation’s values’ culture, and philosophy. See also: Competency modelling, Corporate culture, Expertise profiling, Innovation, Intellectual capital, Knowledge map.
Humint is an abbreviation for human Intelligence; that gathered directly from people rather than from published sources; hence Soft Information.
Implicit knowledge is that which is not directly expressed; that is , where the meaning is inferred from the context and , therefore, relies on existing knowledge. See also: Explicit knowledge, Knowledge, Tacit knowledge.
Index is a systematic guide to the content of one or more documents arranged in some chosen order (usually alphabetically), together with associated location elements (for example, topic description and page numbers in a book, or File titles and identification numbers in a filing system). See also: Classification scheme, Document, Classify, Controlled vocabulary, Ontology, Taxonomy, Thesaurus.
Indexing provides a means of labelling documents using freely selected keywords or phrases (natural language) or authorised descriptors from a Taxonomy or Thesaurus ( Controlled vocabulary ), or any combination of those, together with some means of indicating its location in the system. See also: Assigned-term indexing, Content analysis, Derived-term indexing, Descriptor, Document, Keyword, Ontology.
Indicative abstract is one that describes the type of document, the subjects covered, and the way in which the facts are treated, that is, what it is about). It is only intended to alert readers to the existence of a document of possible relevance and help them to decide whether reference to the original is necessary. Written in the present tense and passive voice, it should discuss the article that describes the research. See also: Abstract, Fact, Informative abstract, Report, Summary, Synopsis.
Induction is based on experience and experimentation. It involves reasoning from the particular to the general; for example, reaching a conclusion by ascribing identical properties to all members of a class of things by examining only a limited number of those things. Any conclusion must be based on a particular set of observable facts. Possible techniques include:
- Illustration by example;
- Enumeration of particulars and details;
- Elaboration by comparison and contrast;
- Any combination of these.
See also: Analysis, Classify, Deduction, Fact, Intelligence analysis.
Informatics is the systematic study of Information and the application of Research methods to the study of Information systems and services. It deals primarily with the human aspects of information, such as its quality and value as a resource. Also referred to as an Information science.
Information consists of Data arranged in some sort of order (for instance, by classification or rational presentation) so that they acquire meaning or reveal associations between data items. Information may also be defined as a physical surrogate of Knowledge (for example, language) used for communication. See also: Competitive Intelligence, Classify, Document, File, Intelligence.
Information literacy is the ability of individuals to recognise the need for specific Information , and then to identify, locate, evaluate, organise, present, and effectively apply the needed information. Agreed competency standards are that an individual who is information literate should be able to:
- Determine the nature and extent of needed information;
- Gather the needed information effectively, efficiently, ethically, and legally;
- Critically evaluate information and its sources;
- Incorporate selected information into a knowledge base;
- Use information to accomplish a specific purpose;
- Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information;
Information management is the means by which an organisation maximises the efficiency with which it plans, collects, organises, uses, controls, stores, disseminates, and disposes of its Information, and through which it ensures that the value of that information is identified and exploited to the maximum extent possible. The aim has often been described as getting the right information to the right person, in the right format and medium, at the right time. Sometimes referred to as: Enterprise information management, Information resources management, or Competitive Intelligence , especially in connection with relevant software. See also: Information literacy, Information scientist, Information system, Knowledge management.
Information scientist is one whose role is to assemble and evaluate Information (in whatever from it happens to be, and from whatever source it comes), to interpret it, and to communicate it to whoever wants it in an appropriately packaged form. See also: Information management, Knowledge management.
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage, and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual, or numerical Information using computers and telecommunications. It is mainly concerned with the flow of information through networks. Primary criteria for business performance are ease of use, reliability, and responsiveness. See also: Mociology, Network, Technological fusion.
Information warfare consists of those actions intended to protect, exploit, corrupt, deny or destroy Information or information resources in order to achieve a significant advantage, objective, or victory over a Competitor. See also: Disinformation, Social engineering.
Informative abstract is an abbreviated, objective, accurate condensation indicating work done, assumptions made, methods used, observations recorded, results obtained, and conclusions reached. Usually applying to a technical or scientific report or paper, it would not normally incorporate either interpretation or comment and is written in the active voice and past tense. See also: Abstract, Indicative abstract,Summary, Synopsis.
Informetrics is the application of mathematical and statistical techniques to a broad range of social and organisational activities in an attempt to analyse trends and developments in society and in business. The term incorporates Bibliometrics. See also: Market Intelligence, Predictive analytics.
Innovation, a major focus of Knowledge management , incorporates all those activities necessary to adopt or diffuse an existing Technology , or transform an idea or Invention into a problem-solving or marketable device, process, product, service, or technique. It usually occurs as a result of the combination of Explicit and Tacit Knowledge . Sometimes referred to as Knowledge conversion. It has been shown that successful, innovative firms have certain characteristics in common; these include:
- Excellent communications (particularly with the outside world);
- A willingness to seek Information from the most profitable sources and share it, both internally and externally (through, say, joint ventures or licensing agreements);
- The provision of appropriate rewards for identifying and using new ideas.
See also: Commercialisation, Creativity, Development, Diffusion, Extension service, Intellectual property, Social network analysis, Technology transfer.
Intellectual capital refers to the total Knowledge within an organisation that may be converted into value, or used to produce a higher value asset. The term embodies the knowledge and expertise of employees; brands; customer information and relationships; contracts; internal processes, methods, and technologies; and Intellectual property. It equates, very approximately, to the difference between the book value and the market value of a company. Also referred to as Intellectual assets, Intangible assets, or Invisible assets. See also: Human capital , Knowledge management, Structural capital.
Intellectual property refers to the definition and recording of a novel device, product, process, or technique so that it may be bought, sold, or legally protected. The main forms of protection take the form of Copyright, licenses, patents, registered designs, trademarks, and trade secrets. It is that portion of Intellectual capital that can be protected by law. See also: Creative industries, Corporate security, Counterintelligence, Design, Human capital, Innovation, Invention, Knowledge assets, Knowledge base, Patent, Patent specification, Registered design, Trademark, Trade secret.
Intelligence is high-level, processed, exploitable Information. See also: Competitive Intelligence, Competitive intelligence, Intelligence analysis, Knowledge, Knowledge management, Market intelligence, Synthesis, Technological intelligence.
Intelligence analysis is the systematic examination of any combination of relevant Data,Information , and existing Knowledge for applicability or significance, and the transformation of the results into actionable Intelligence that will improve Planning and decision-making or enable the development of strategies that offer a sustainable Competitive advantage . The most profitable or beneficial Analysis calls for Creativity and insight; an ability to look beyond the obvious. Sometimes referred to as Strategic analysis. See also: Competitive Intelligence, Competitive intelligence, Knowledge management, Strategy, Synthesis.
Intelligence audit is an examination of an organisation’s current level of Intelligence activities with the objective of improving those operations in order to gain, and maintain, a significant Competitive advantage. It involves:
- Identifying those people engaged in intelligence or related operations;
- Locating collections of Information concerning the organisation’s Business environment;
- Establishing a set of Key intelligence topics or ascertaining management intelligence needs.
Intelligence briefing may be either an oral or written presentation designed to provide accurate, impartial, and timely Intelligence – together with an indication of its implications and recommendations for action – in a concise and easily assimilated form. See also: Briefing, Debriefing, Report.
Intelligence library may be either a separate entity or housed in a War room. In contrast to the more usual in-house libraries, it should act as a directory, not a repository. In other words, it may contain such items as Directories and Professional association membership lists; a collection of major competitors’ Trade literature ; Competitor , Market , or country files; Seminar and Conference brochures; lists of Internet sources; and a Thesaurus or Taxonomy together with a glossary of terms.
Intelligent agents are software programs that are capable of assisting their users by performing predefined tasks on their behalf. They may, for example, automatically, and simultaneously, monitor a number of Web sites in order to identify, filter, and collect relevant Information; and subsequently recognise patterns or other significant combinations of information; report the results to the user; and offer suggestions to solve a specific problem, draw inferences, or determine appropriate actions. See also: Artificial intelligence, Search engine, Spider, Web site.
Intelligent network is programmed to allocate a priority rating to, and the subsequent handling of, Information on that net.
Invisible Web is that portion (estimated to be between 60 and 80 per cent) of total Web content that consists of material that is not accessible by standard Search Engines. It is usually to be found embedded within secure sites, or consists of archived material. Much of the Information may, however, be accessed through a Library gateway, a Vortal, or a fee-based Database service.
Just-in-time knowledge is a concept for delivering Information to an individual at the time it is needed to perform a specific task. It may be initiated by means of a program that identifies the contents of the documents currently being produced or contributed to by the individual concerned. See also: Document, Knowledge.
Key intelligence topics (KITs) are those topics identified as being of greatest significance to an organisation’s senior executives, and which provide purpose and direction for Competitive intelligence operations. Key intelligence topics are invariably derived from a series of interviews. They are then grouped into appropriate categories and allocated a priority, usually by the same, or a representative, group of people. The basic categories are:
- Strategic decisions and actions (including the development of strategic plans and strategies);
- Early-warning topics ( eg, competitor initiatives, new technology developments, and government actions);
- Descriptions of key players (including competitors, suppliers, regulators, and potential partners).
See also: Competitor, Intelligence audit, Strategic planning.
Keyword is a substantive word in the title of a document or a record in a database that can be used to classify or index content. A keyword provides access to the item when it is used as a search term. See also: Classification scheme, Controlled vocabulary, Indexing.
Know-how consists of accumulated practical skills or professional experience that permit tasks to be performed effectively but is difficult to codify, express, or articulate. See also: Tacit knowledge.
Knowledge is a blend of experience, values, Information in context, and Insight that forms a basis on which to build new experiences and information or to achieve specific goals. It refers to the process of comprehending, comparing, judging, remembering, and reasoning.
Knowledge is Data that has been organised (by classification and rational presentation), synthesised (by selection, Analysis, interpretation, adaptation, or compression), and made useful (by presenting arguments, matching needs and problems, assessing advantages and disadvantages, and so on).
Knowledge is the uniquely human capability of interpreting and extracting meaning from Information. It may be thought of as a structured (inter-related) set of concepts in the mind. See also: Classify, Cognitive science, Concept, Educational technology, Embodied knowledge, Explicit knowledge, Implicit knowledge, Intelligence, Know-how, Knowledge-based industries, Knowledge engineering, Knowledge-intensive industries, Knowledge management, Knowledge map, Meme, Tacit knowledge.
Knowledge management is an integrated, systematic process of identifying, collecting, storing, retrieving, and transforming Information and Knowledge assets (including previously unarticulated expertise and experience held by individuals) into Knowledge that is readily accessible in order to improve the performance of the organisation. The means for doing so might include apprenticeship schemes and mentoring programmes, briefings and debriefings, bulletin boards, databases, documents, educational and training programmes, knowledge maps, meetings, networks, and visits. Performance improvements may be effected through enhanced learning, problem solving, Strategic planning , and decision-making. See also: After action review , Briefing , Competitive Intelligence, Classify, Community of practice, Competitive intelligence, Corporate culture, Corporate security, Customer relationship management, Database, Debriefing, Diffusion, Document, Index, Information literacy, Information management, Information scientist, Innovation, Intelligence, Knowledge creation, Knowledge management system, Knowledge map, Learning organisation, Network, Networking, Patent, Patent specification, Social network analysis, Taxonomy, Thesaurus.
Knowledge administrator is someone who collects,stores, maintains, and retrieves the Knowledge that others produce.
Knowledge analyst is a person who defines the need of an individual or group, clarifies search terms, and advises on the most appropriate sources.
Knowledge assets are bodies of Knowledge of value to an organisation. They may take the form of documents, databases, individuals, or groups of people, and include records of projects or activities, knowledge maps, links to networks or communities of practice, reports, standard operating procedures, patent specifications, licenses, copyright material, taxonomies, glossaries of terms and so on. Sometimes referred to as Corporate intellectual assets, or Corporate memory. See also: Community of practice, Copyright, Corporate security, Counterintelligence, Database, Document, Intellectual Property, Knowledge Management, Knowledge map, Network, Patent, Patent Specification, Report, Taxonomy.
Knowledge base, in its traditional sense, refers to the Data and set of rules forming the basis of an Expert system. More recently it applies to the complete details of all expertise, experience, and Knowledge within an organisation (that is, its Intellectual capital and Knowledge assets.) See also: Human Capital.
Knowledge-based industries is a term used to describe a broad spectrum of enterprises that are involved with Advanced technologies and are concerned with the application of recent developments in many friends, including: advanced materials, biochemistry, biotechnology, Burotics, genetics, Information technology, instrumentation, Mechatronics, medicine, microelectronics, microprocessors, Nanotechnology, and optics. See also: Intellectual property.
Knowledge creation is the conversion of Data into meaningful Information that allows the world to be understood in new ways. At the individual level this is know as learning. See also: Communication, Learning organisation.
Knowledge economy is based on the production, distribution, and use of Knowledge as the main driver of growth, wealth creation, and employment across all industries. It does not rely solely on a few advanced-technology industries but is applicable to traditional industries, such as mining and agriculture. See also: Advanced technologies, Research and development.
Knowledge management is an integrated, systematic process of identifying, collecting, storing, retrieving, and transforming Information and Knowledge assets (including previously unarticulated expertise and experience held by individuals) into Knowledge that is readily accessible in order to improve the performance of the organisation. The means for doing so might include apprenticeship schemes and mentoring programmes, briefings and debriefings, bulletin boards, databases, documents, educational and training programmes, knowledge maps, meetings, networks, and visits. Performance improvements may be effected through enhanced learning, problem solving, Strategic Planning, and decision-making. See also: After action review, Briefing, Competitive Intelligence, Classify, Community of Practic, Competitive Intelligence, Corporate culture, Corporate security, Customer relationship management, Database, Debriefing, Diffusion, Document, Index, Information literacy, Information management, Information scientist, Innovation, Intelligence, Knowledge creation, Knowledge management system, Knowledge map, Learning organisation, Network, Networking, Patent, Patent specification, Social network analysis, Taxonomy, Thesaurus.
Knowledge-management system usually incorporates a Search engine, Data-mining facilities, and – since Knowledge is primarily embodied in people – an expertise directory or location service (known as a Knowledge map). Content may include profiles of key people, industry trends, Market surveys, descriptions of current and proposed projects or activities, solutions to past problems, and discussion group facilities. The term also implies the creation of a culture and Information structure that promotes information sharing and Innovation, and places considerable emphasis on learning and personal development. See also: Knowledge management.
Knowledge map may be either, or a combination of aspects of both, of the following:
- A graphical display (either hierarchical, or in the form of a Semantic network) of the core Knowledge , together with the relationships between various aspects, of a subject or discipline;
- A Directory (incorporating identity, location, and subject expertise) of people possessing, or having access to, specific knowledge.
In the latter sense, it is a guide to, not a repository of, knowledge or expertise. A critical element is that those people whose details are incorporated must be traceable through keywords describing the area of expertise or subject knowledge. Sometimes referred to as an Expertise database or Expertise location service, it is often compiled with the aid of Expertise locator software. When properly compiled and maintained, it may be by far the most valuable of all Knowledge management tools. Colloquially known as Yellow pages. See also: Expertise locator software, Keyword, Visualisation.
Lead-firm network is usually initiated by a large firm to ensure that its suppliers can meet the quality, quantity, and timetable of delivery required by that firm. The advantage is a more reliable source of supply. The suppliers benefit through gaining access to a guaranteed Market and usually, through improved management and production techniques. See also: Alliance, Cluster, Joint Venture, Networking, Production network, Service network, Strategic alliance.
Library gateway consists of a collection of databases and Information sources, arranged by subject, that have usually been assembled, reviewed, and recommended by specialists. See also: Database.
Link Analysis is an Internet search technique that dispenses with Keyword searching, employing instead a complicated Algorithm that is based either on the number of Web pages linked to a specific site that is relevant to the search requirements, or on the number of visits to a site in a given time.
Market intelligence concerns the attitudes, opinions, behaviour, and needs of individuals and organisations within the context of their economic, environmental, social, and everyday activities. See also: Competitive Intelligence, Intelligence, Market, Marketing research, Psychographics, Sample.
Metadata is Information (in the form of a Metatag) that describes an Internet Document and facilitates its retrieval. It is very similar to a Bibliographic reference , but – where present – is often more extensive, and may include author, title, affiliation, sponsor, Abstract , additional keywords, language, publisher, date published, contact details, Classification scheme , and so on. See also: Enrichment, Indexing, Keyword.
permit searches using several search engines simultaneously through the medium of one search request. Individual results are presented as a single list. See also: Search engine.
Metasearch engine is a Search engine that simultaneously submits a search query to a number of other search engines and produces results that may be manipulated in some way for the benefit of the searcher.
Misinformation is erroneous Information that is not intended to deceive; it may result from ignorance. See also: Disinformation.
Multipoint competition explores the implications of a situation in which diversified companies compete against each other in several markets. See also: Market.
Networking is the informal exchange of Information between individuals who have grouped together for some common purpose. Also known as a Social network. See also: Alliance, Cluster, Community of practice, Joint venture, Lead-firm network, Production network, Professional associations, Service network, Social network analysis, Strategic alliance.
Neural networks are an attempt to simulate the human brain – by employing Artificial Intelligence software – for image analysis and pattern recognition, in locating and matching relevant Information, and in assessing risk. Their success depends to an enormous extent on the volume of Data in the Database. Expert human intervention is essential:
- when seting up – more specifically for determining input variables and structuring the data in a sensible and usable format (usually the most time-consuming aspects of a technique);
- for interpreting the results and identifying patterns, trends, associations, and similarities;
in order to make appropriate decisions based on the results.
Notation is a set of symbols, abbreviations, or codes associated with a Classification scheme , annotated Thesaurus , or Taxonomy , and used to facilitate the arrangement of items so classified. A notation enables the use of an Explode facility. See also: Code, Ontology.
Push technology, currently referred to as Personalisation, is a colloquialism for Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI).
Report may be a Document containing the findings of an investigation or study, or offering an interpretation of facts and ideas, and usually incorporating recommendations. It may give an account of the activities of an organisation over a specific period, or describe a process or operation. Very often it is produced in response to stated terms of reference, with a known audience in mind. Although producers of reports must examine essential evidence in an impartial and disinterested manner, they may express personal opinion – provided that it is a rational interpretation of Information set out, or referred to, in the report, and that it is identified as opinion. A report may also take the form of an oral presentation. See also: After action review, Briefing, Debriefing, Digest, Extract, Indicative abstract, Informative abstract, Intelligence briefing, Management reports, Precis, Review, Special intelligence briefing, Summary, Synopsis.
Reverse engineering refers to the process of systematically examining or dismantling a competitor’s product or service in order to reveal details of its design and manufacture; such as materials employed, techniques used, level of Technology, standard of quality, elegant solutions to problems, and so on. See also: Benchmarking.
Scenario analysis is a systematic method of studying possible or probable future events that may affect the organisation or its operating environment. It may, for instance, be used to: forecast trends in an industry; assess probable Competitor strategies; evaluate the effect of emerging technologies. Sometimes known as Alternative outcomes or ‘What if?’ analysis. See also: Business environment, Scenario planning, Strategy.
Scenario planning is a technique for articulating possible future events that may affect the company and its operations and preparing appropriate responses. Subsequent plans usually cover a range from best case to worst case probabilities. The technique allows users to explore the implications of several alternative futures and enables them to modify their strategic direction as events unfold. The technique may be more simply described as informed flexibility . Also known as Contingency or Foresight planning. See also: Opportunities, Planning, Threats.
Search engines are microprocessor-driven software programs capable of successfully retrieving information from computer networks or databases in order to match the needs of searchers. They automatically index keywords in context, usually by using robots, then search those indexes for keywords that match the user’s request. Generally speaking, they are more suitable than Directories for conducting Research. Current developments may incorporate Visualisation techniques. See also: Bot, Crawler, Database, Keyword, Metasearch engine, Network, Spider.
Selective dissemination of information (SDI) is a personal Current awareness service. It refers to a technique for directing new items of Information , from whatever source, to those individuals whose current interests in a particular subject are high, and who may be able to take advantage of such information. SDI is based on a user interest profile which is normally selected by the user from a list of keywords, descriptors, or indexing terms. Often referred to by the more recent term, Push technology or Personalisation.
Soft information is essentially qualitative in nature and consists of ideas, suggestions, opinions, Rumor , gossip, feedback, anecdotes, speculation, and tips. It may be derived from direct observation and by scanning the mass media (newspapers, magazines, the Internet, television, and radio) but, predominantly, through networks, telephone interviews, or in other face-to-face activities. It is particularly valuable in Intelligence operations. See also: Humint, Networking.
Spam is mass, unsolicited commercial Electronic mail on the Internet.
Special intelligence briefing is a brief Report that identifies a specific issue, summarises the key supporting analyses, and recommends one or more courses of action. See also: Analysis, Briefing, Intelligence briefing, Summary.
SWOT analysis is the evaluation of available Information concerning the Business environment in order to identify internal strengths and weaknesses, and external Threats and Opportunities. Also known as Situational analysis and, when applied to competitors, as Competitor profiling.
Tacit knowledge is the product of interaction between people, or between people and their environment. It refers to Knowledge that is gained only experientially and, therefore, cannot be readily articulated or explained to inexperienced parties (for example, drawing, painting, writing, Planning, decision-making). An individual will acquire tacit knowledge only by gathering Information, relating it to existing knowledge, and accumulating experience; it involves judgment, intuition, and common sense. In groups, tacit knowledge exists in the practices and relationships that develop through working together over time. The major challenges are in its recognition, sharing, and management. See also: Corporate culture, Implicit knowledge, Know-how, Knowledge management, Meme.
Taxonomy, in its original form, refers to the science of the classification of living and extinct organisms. In modern parlance, it applies to any system or software designed to organise Information or Knowledge so that it may be more easily stored, maintained, and retrieved. It usually reflects the language and culture of a specific enterprise or industry and acts as the authority for identifying documents and the content of knowledge maps. A taxonomy is often created by reference to several thesauri, classification schemes, and indexes using a combination of human intellectual effort and specialised software.
A taxonomy offers a means of classifying documents and other items of information into hierarchical groups to make them easier to identify, locate, and retrieve. It consists of a structure (or Thesaurus), which embodies the terms and their relationships, and a set of applications, which provide the means to identify and locate the information. See also: Classification scheme, Classify, Controlled vocabulary, Corporate culture, Document, Hierarchical classification, Index, Indexing, Knowledge map, Notation, Ontology, Topic map.
Technological intelligence is a subdivision of Competitive Intelligence covering those technical activities that are concerned with translating Research findings or other scientific Knowledge into devices, materials, products, processes, or services. See also: Intelligence.
Thesaurus is a list of terms, or authorised descriptors, used to provide a Controlled vocabulary for Information storage and retrieval. It shows hierarchical (broader, narrower), synonymous, and other relationships between terms. A thesaurus may incorporate a Notation.
A thesaurus is a controlled and dynamic vocabulary of semantically and generically related terms that covers a specific domain of Knowledge . See also: Classification scheme, Classify, Descriptor, Hierarchical classification, Index, Indexing, Ontology, Taxonomy, Topic map.
Trade literature is produced by individual companies, primarily to instruct or inform existing and potential buyers. It includes sales pamphlets, advertising brochures, promotional material, product or parts catalogues, maintenance or instruction manuals, handbooks, user guides, data sheets, and certain in-house journals or newsletters. See also: Grey literature.
Trade show intelligence is the systematic collection and Analysis of exploitable Information, from any source and in any format or medium, at any event where products and services, or information about them, are openly displayed; as well as prevention of its collection by others.
Visualisation of information is a technique for making visual representations of the topics or ideas contained in a body of Information, and of their relationships with each other. They usually take the form of maps or other graphical depictions that can be readily understood. Visualisation expands the capacity of the human mind to deal with complex matters, enables users to extract Knowledge more efficiently, and helps them to find insights not always obvious when information is presented in traditional formats. Other terms used include: Argument mapping, Concept mapping, Content visualisation, or Graphic visualisation. See also: Computer graphics, Dashboard, Knowledge map, Predictive analytics, Social network analysis, Sonification.
War gaming is a process, adapted from the military, in which teams or individuals, representing the company and its competitors, simulate a business situation and act out the roles of decision makers in timed phases. Comparison between the results leads to the next stage. This continues until at least one feasible Strategy, counter-strategy, or solution emerges. War gaming is very effective in industries undergoing high rates of change. Sometimes referred to as a Strategy game or as Virtual competition. See also: Business environment, Competitor.
War room is an area set aside for use as an Intelligence or Knowledge centre or as a demonstration room for Reverse engineering purposes. Also referred to as an Operations or Situation room; it may:
- contain a variety of Intelligence or Market -oriented displays;
- act as an Internet / Intranet /Database / Knowledge map centre;
- be equipped as a library or a repository of Information collections;
- allow easy and rapid access to recent Research results.
Wiki (from the Hawaiian word for quickly) is a form of collaboration that allows many people to participate in the production of Web pages; usually devoted to a specific subject or field of interest. It is based upon a relatively unstructured collection of hyperlinked documents that may be edited by any number of authors but that also incorporates a mechanism for comparing the result with the pre-edited version. See also: Blogs.
Yellow pages is the colloquial term for a Knowledge map.