Does Your Company Have an Intelligence Problem?: Page 3

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Corporate Intelligence

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I’ve played in different phases of corporate intelligence, running specialized post-acquisitions teams, internal audit teams, and competitive analysis teams. In looking back I think the power of aggregating the information about a company’s actual performance and comparing it against competitive and environmental intelligence to form strategies can be incredibly powerful. The only industry I’ve seen this done is in Pharmaceuticals, but I understand it may be done by a number of defense contractors as well.

Often the responsibility for providing intelligence is in the hands of executive aides, but they are easily (as was the case with John Akers at IBM) misled because they aren’t formally connected with the information gathering process – which, as I mentioned, generally has more to do with selling products than true accuracy.

I think it is time to consider a formal intelligence role for companies in industries that don’t have them. There are opportunities to derail hostile legislation, avoid the emergence of new competitors (particularly overseas), and to better target current opportunities that could be more often enjoyed if there were focused people ensuring that outcome.

Don’t Wait to be Told

Don’t wait until too late to open your eyes and check to see if the information you are getting is the whole truth and nothing but. It may be nice to hear good news, but sometimes knowing the bad in time can save your career or, in the case of a medical problem, your life.

Make sure the “good” in news always also applies to accurate, because good (trustworthy) bad news is generally much more valuable than bad (untrustworthy) good news.

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