09 Jan Open Source Strategic Intelligence
Corporate intelligence is not a system for spying on your competitors. That concept has long been obsolete with the advancement of modern technology.
Strategic intelligence, or competitive intelligence, is a concept for corporate programs to enable businesses to compete in today’s dynamic global free-market economy. Modern strategic intelligence is not limited to corporate spying. It incorporates a broad spectrum of tools to give companies a leg up on their competitors.
The tools available are multiplying. They include the effective use of the rapidly emerging technology of artificial intelligence and its related technologies. Companies that do not stay abreast of technological developments will be left in the dust by competitors.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field of computer science that enables a machine (computer) to gather data and perform human-like cognitive functions such as reasoning and problem-solving.
AI is being employed for a wide array of purposes. Computer search engines that we use every day employ AI tools. AI is used to target online advertising.
Corporate use of AI is not limited to a marketing tool. It is employed as an operational tool. Part of competing is to streamline operations to more efficiently produce and deliver the product being sold. AI is even being employed in an agricultural context to help farmers sustain their business in a critically different market and farmers in undeveloped countries to deal with climate change.
For illustration, suppose you invented a new widget and are embarking on a new business to manufacture and sell widgets. Artificial intelligence programs do more than collect information about manufacturing and marketing. You want to know more than that. You want to know how you can use that information to your benefit.
AI will assemble all relevant information, digest it, analyze it, and spit out data about what others are doing in the widget market. It will also make recommendations for how best to manufacture, market, sell and deliver your widgets to consumers.
Various AI tools are designed for specialized purposes that will probably fit your needs. Also, your company can design or have designed AI programs tailor-made for your business.
Machine Learning (ML)
Machine learning (ML), sometimes known as predictive analytics, is a branch of artificial intelligence. It has many facets. But in a nutshell, parts of it make predictions based on a multitude of data gathered, assembled, and analyzed.
Those predictions include forecasting market conditions utilizing many filters including identified consumer preferences and capabilities. In other words, MI will tell you what you need to do to maximize your sales.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
NLP is a tool to enable computers to understand, interpret and implement human language. This sounds unimaginable but we already use it every day. When you call a business and get a menu you make voice selections of services you want. A computer understands and interprets your answers to move you on to your desired services.
Every day virtual assistants like Alexa or Siri employ NLP technology. Business uses of NLP are virtually limitless.
NLP is not simply a translator. Human language is more than just words. It includes inflections and tones that convey moods. Amazingly, NLP can interpret those and other nuances of language. These are invaluable tools for businesses, particularly eCommerce businesses.
Human Intelligence Services
We live in a global free market-driven economy. The most efficient players rise to the top and the least efficient fall by the wayside. Competitive intelligence has been around for a long time. It is much more fine-tuned today. The most efficient players use competitive intelligence extensively.
However, competitive intelligence tools have become highly sophisticated and require professionals to maximize their benefits. Several very good companies provide expert human intelligence services to corporations. They utilize AI but are experts at using it to benefit you and your operations.
Effective strategic intelligence
You can effectively use strategic intelligence only with the services of a professional competitive intelligence (CI) expert. The tools and their use are complex and beyond the scope of ordinary business knowledge and training.
Professional CI experts will implement your strategic intelligence program systematically and comprehensively.
The first step in effective strategic intelligence is gathering as much intel available about your competitors. That is, what they are doing and how are they doing it. You don’t need corporate spies. Most relevant information is publically available to the experts who know how to access it. AL is among the tools applied to do this.
The next step is analyzing the intel you gather to determine its implications for your business. A CI professional will gain an intimate knowledge of your business operations and your business objectives. They will analyze the data and determine what is working for your competitors and if you should adopt those strategies.
Then, you should activate the strategies you deem appropriate for your business. Those strategies relate to all aspects of your business cycle from product development, manufacturing, marketing, and delivery.
Most business decision-makers will require the services of strategic intelligence professionals to work these strategies effectively. Larger firms can afford to have such professionals in-house. Others will outsource the expertise.