Friday, November 7, 2008

Art of war - Sun Tze

Art of war - Sun Tze

Why Competitive Intelligence does not work?

Why Competitive Intelligence does not work in some companies?

Here you are the answer from Competitive Intelligence, Author; Larry Kahaner
  1. Top management was not involved
  2. Tasks are not focus or issue oriented
  3. To much emphasis on collection
  4. Not involving every one in the company
  5. Not establishing ethical guidelines

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Building Competitive Intelligence System in your Company

How to build Competitive Intelligence system ?

Here you are the answer from Competitive Intelligence, Author; Larry Kahaner
  1. Select a director of Competitive Intelligence and put him in the right location
  2. Bringing ex military or political intelligence people
  3. The director should determine how the key intelligence users are and what they will use the intelligence for
  4. Perform an intelligence audit of your company
  5. Design a network to move information and intelligence around the company using what is already in place
  6. Establish companywide ethical and legal guideline for Competitive Intelligence

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Business War Games

Business War Games
I have bought this book ( Business War Games )for a week ago and I recommend it for all CI professionals

Competitive Intelligence Basics Workshop in Egypt

CI professionals, You are welcomed in Egypt
Competitive Intelligence Basics Workshop (ICI-1)
Nov. 10/11 2008, Cairo, Egypt
Institute for Competitive Intelligence

In times of increasing competition and complex, fastmoving competitive environments, it is important to be one step ahead of the competition. Businesses have to anticipate the activities of their competitors when developing their strategic positioning. Competitive analyses are essential to the successful development of corporate strategy, conducting anticipatory strategy planning and gaining a measurable competitive advantage. Competitive Intelligence, which brings in a systematic analysis process, adds the decisive edge to strategy.
This workshop conveys the fundamentals needed to efficiently conduct research, master information overload, use analytical tools intelligently, implement CI as a process in your business and make strategic decisions with greater certainty.

Workshop focus

The value of Competitive Intelligence (CI) for your business

Analysis of one’s own company: Where are we now and where do we intend to go?

Handling the information overload and testing data quality

Analytical methods to determine the competitive and market situation

Successful implementation of a CI system in a business

CI professionals, You are welcomed in Egypt

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Currency Wars, coming

"Currency Wars, coming" a good vedio on
you can else check Currency Wars - Song Hongbing

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Financial Intelligence for Strategic Planning

Financial Intelligence for Strategic Planning
by Jim Lenskold

Look at the some of the fundamental information you collect to guide the strategic market planning process: customer intelligence, competitive intelligence and market intelligence.
Marketers use this intelligence as insight into the types of strategies that are likely to be successful. Bringing financial intelligence into the mix offers new insight into the potential value of strategic and tactical alternatives and also leads to a disciplined approach to marketing campaign development.

Read more

Competitive Profiling with Financial Ratio

Competitive Profiling with Financial Ratio - Competitive Intelligence Magazine

This is the main points of paper was published by The Competitive Intelligence Magazine It will help you to use the financial analysis for competitive profiling


Companies with great cash flow, low debt, high revenue per employee, and good financial ratios across the board will be the ones who have the financial stability to expand, acquire and generally mount a credible competitive threat.

Companies with poor cash flow, high debt, low net working capital, and low revenue per employee will generally have difficulty staying in business - let alone gaining market share.

This kind of analysis indicates which companies can and can not adequately fund ambitious construction programs, huge advertising campaign, and accept short term losses while they gobble up market share. If you see a big announcement of a rival, you can use this analysis to estimate whether their new strategy will be successful

Low liquidity requires cash flow, high debt load and / or short term debt will limit additional funding, and make a company sensitive to interest rates fluctuations

A company with strong cash flow relative to its peers will have correspondingly strong options available , they can more easily fund promotional efforts, fund merger or territorial expansion, if the firm is overly cautious, they may find the strong cash flow attacks the takeover bid

The debt ratio measures how much the company relies on short term debt to solve its business problems, a company with a high total debt/lT debt ratio will have a relatively high percentage of short term debt in its financing, and will be much more sensitive to interest rate fluctuations

Competitors with very low levels of short term debt, or total debt for that matter, will have a wider access to funding if they wish to pursue a market expansion
If cash flow is negative this ratio is a measure of the rate of blood loss

Goodwill and intangibles can be a playground to hide many a management sin
If subtracting intangibles make TNW negative, it is an important signal for the health of the business. Negative TNW is a bad sign unless there are some very good reasons for it

The ratio of current liabilities to TNW indicates whether your business is creditor funded or investor funded, A creditor funding is strained by economic conditions

Net Working Capital (NWC) measures whether current operations are self supporting
If cash and receivables are less than expenses and payables, then the enterprise is not sustaining it self, consistent operating losses drain current assets. This is bad sign for the health of the company

The ratio of funded debt/NWC examines how rapidly a company can pay off its debt out of current operations. If the denominator of this ratio is small, the debt service will be difficult, especially if the interest rates are rising

Some companies adding to cash reserves via retained earning, and by selling additional stock, when stock prices are depressed, little is gained by selling additional stock, this will depress the stock price even future and will not raise much cash, retaining earnings will cut dividends, and is likely to depress the stock price

Strong NWC will fuel strong cash flow and provide tidy operating margins, you can expect a company with a good NWC to be more successfully aggressive because they have more room to move

The equity to debt ratio (stock/total debt) measure the amount that assets can decline, or debt can increase before the company becomes insolvent: a much more serious bankruptcy conditions

Price wars are won by the firm with more capital intensive cost structure
when demand falls however, the labor intensive firms is better able to cut costs, it is hard to lay off a new building or to downsize a sheet-metal press

A more direct way of measuring capital intensity is to see how revenue changes compared to the capital stock
The capital intensive company is more to likely to price aggressively. The more labor- intensive firms is more likely to increase its capital stock during an expansion

CV of Competitive Business Intelligence Specialist in Egypt

Ahmad Nagy

  • Business Analyst - Business Intelligence Unit - Global Textile Firm in Egypt " Participating in establishing the Business Competitive Intelligence Unit and Online Competitive Intelligence"
  • Marketing, E-marketing and Strategic Management Trainer
  • Researcher and Analyst at regional consulting firm in Egypt
  • Prepared marketing feasibility studies and valuation for the below companies in Egypt;
  • E-marketer and Marketing Officer at a soft ware company
  • Business Developer at soft ware company.
  • Credentials;
    · Studying MBA at Arab Academy for Banking and Financial Sciences - Egypt
    · Post-graduate Diploma in Business and Marketing “Cairo University” 2007
    · B.Sc. of Business Administration Faculty of Commerce - “Cairo
    University” 2004
  • Competitive Intelligence Basics Workshop Cairo Nov.2008 ,Institute for Competitive Intelligence.

Location: Egypt

Age: 25 years old

I am one of the fewer Egyptians who work in Business and Competitive Intelligence career

Friday, October 3, 2008

What CI can do for your company?

Anticipate changes in the marketplace

Anticipate actions of competitors

Learn from the successes and failures of others

Increase the range and quality of acquisition targeted

Learn about new technologies, products, and process that affect your business

Learn about political ,legislative or regulatory changes that may affect your business

Enter new business

Look at your own business practices with an open mind

Help implement the latest management tool

Source; Competitive Intelligence, Larry Kahaner

Information vs. Intelligence

What is the difference between Information and Intelligence?
It is very important to know the difference between Information and Intelligence
Let us see What Mr.Larry Kahaner said about that in his book.

“I’ve got too much to read”
Most company managers
They have too much information no intelligence
Intelligence , not information is what managers need to make a decision, another term of intelligence is knowledge

Information ; is a numbers, statistics or a bits of data, it always appears to be telling you some thing but reality it’s not. So you cannot make good decision based on information

Intelligence; is a collection of information pieces that have been filtered and analyzed, it has been turned into something that can be acted upon.

Source; Competitive Intelligence,Larry Kahaner

Competitive Intelligence Drives More Corporate Decisions, New Survey Shows

Competitive Intelligence Drives More Corporate Decisions, New Survey Shows
-- But Many Still Struggle to Get CI Messages to, and Heard By, Company Leadership --

NEW YORK, Oct 01, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- In a classic good news/bad news report on Competitive Intelligence (CI), more U.S. corporations now use it to drive critical strategic and tactical decisions than ever before. But the same survey, conducted by consultants Outwards Insights, found that fully one-fourth (24%) of respondents still don't have a structured way to deliver intelligence to decision-makers in their organizations.
These are two of the key findings in the most recent version of "Ostriches & Eagles," which gauges the effectiveness and use of CI among U.S. companies across industries, and compares results with a similar survey conducted in 2005.
"There's no question that more of Corporate America 'gets' the value of CI," said Ken Sawka, Managing Partner of Outward Insights and author of the survey. He cited the growth among respondents who said that CI was "an integral part of operational or tactical decisions such as:"
Business development/Sales 83% now vs. 78% in 2005
New product launches 79% now vs. 74% in 2005
R&D planning & execution 71% now vs. 55% in 2005, "a huge jump"
Alliances & joint venture 68% now vs. 59% in 2005

Sawka also noted that 72% of this year's respondents use CI to "anticipate and thwart competitor strategies," compared with 64% in 2005.
Among other key findings:
-- More respondents (28%) integrate likely competitor reactions into their plans for launching new products than in 2005 (21%)
-- The use of scenario planning nearly doubled from 30% in 2005 to 59% this year
-- The percentage of respondents who believe CI is "an integral part of the strategic planning process" was at 85%, the same as in 2005
-- Thirty-seven percent of respondents feel that CI does "not have sufficient stature" in their organizations to have a "significant impact." This number is almost unchanged from three years ago
-- Roche and IBM tie as the top "eagles," the best corporate intelligence users, according to the respondents
Sawka also expressed concern about the obstacles that still impede corporations from realizing the full value of competitive intelligence. "Our survey found that nearly half of respondents say their CI programs are not sufficiently funded," said Sawka. "The gains we are seeing in the strategic application of CI may be short-lived if these programs are not funded adequately and given proper stature within organizations." The survey also found that almost one in five executives surveyed believe that senior managers do not value the competitive intelligence they receive.
Industry Differences
There were some notable differences in the responses from the seven industry groups surveyed: consumer products, energy, financial services, insurance, high-tech, manufacturing and pharmaceutical. For example, consumer products companies were least likely to have organized intelligence (62% vs. 76% norm) but most likely to make CI an integral part of their strategic planning process (92% vs. 85% norm). Insurance companies were most likely to have organized intelligence (88% vs. 76% norm), and energy companies were least likely to make intelligence an integral part of their strategic planning process (71% vs. 85% norm).
Outward Insights' survey was conducted in June and July 2008. The survey consisted of telephone interviews with 100 senior executives at U.S. corporations. More than two-thirds of the companies participating had revenues of $1 billion or greater.
SOURCE: Outwards Insights

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Currency Wars - Song Hongbing

If you work in CI world you have to monitor the current economic war between USA and China which called Currency War according to Mr.Hongbong

Chinese buy into conspiracy theory
By Richard McGregor in Beijing

Published: September 25 2007 17:44 | Last updated: September 25 2007 17:44

The Battle of Waterloo. The deaths of six US presidents. The rise of Adolf Hitler. The deflation of the Japanese bubble economy, the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and even environmental destruction in the developing world.

In a new Chinese best-seller, Currency Wars , these disparate events spanning two centuries have a single root cause: the control of money issuance through history by the Rothschild banking dynasty.

Even today, claims author Song Hongbing, the US Federal Reserve remains a puppet of private banks, which also ultimately owe their allegiance to the ubiquitous Rothschilds.

Such an over-arching conspiracy theory might matter as little as the many fetid tracts that can still be found in the west about the “gnomes of Zurich” and Wall Street’s manipulation of global finance.

But in China, which is in the midst of a lengthy debate about opening its financial system under US pressure, the book has become a surprise hit and is being read at senior levels of government and business.

“Some senior heads of companies have been asking me if this is all true,” says Ha Jiming, the chief economist of China International Capital Corp, the largest local investment bank.

The book also gives ammunition, however hay-wire, to many in China who argue that Beijing should resist pressure from the US and other countries to allow its currency, the renminbi, to appreciate.

The book’s publisher, a unit of the state-owned CITIC group, said Currency Wars had sold nearly 200,000 copies, with an estimated 400,000 extra pirated copies in circulation as well.

Mr Song, an information technology consultant and amateur historian who has lived in the US since 1994 and is now based in Washington, says his interest was sparked by trying to uncover what lay behind the Asian crisis in 1997.

After he began blogging some of his findings, his friends suggested he find a publisher for a longer work. He professes himself surprised by the book’s success.

“I never imagined it could be so hot and that top leaders would be reading it,” he says during a book tour in Shanghai. “People in China are nervous about what’s going on in financial markets but they don’t know how to handle the real dangers. This book gives them some ideas.”

The thing that most shocked him, he says, was his “discovery” that the Fed is a privately owned and run bank. “I just never imagined a central bank could be a private body,” he says.

The Fed does describe itself “as an unusual mixture of public and private elements”. While its seven governors are all appointed by the US president, private banks do hold shares in its 12 regional reserve banks.

But Mr Song ignores the government’s role and argues that the Fed’s key functions are ultimately controlled by five private banks, such as Citibank, all of which have maintained a “close relationship” with the Rothschilds.

Mr Song is defensive about his focus on the Rothschilds and what the book depicts as their Jewish clannishness.

“The Chinese people think that the Jews are smart and rich, so we should learn from them,” he says. “Even me, I think they are really smart, maybe the smartest people on earth.”

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, is not impressed. “The Chinese have the highest regard for what they see as Jewish intellectual and commercial acumen, with little or no concurrent culture of antisemitism. This claim, however, plays to the most discredited and outmoded canards surrounding Jews and their influence. That it should gain currency in the world’s most important emerging economy is a great concern.”

The book has been ridiculed in internet postings in China, for exaggerating the lingering influence of the Rothschilds and being a re-write of existing conspiracy theories in the west.

Mr Ha puts the book’s popularity down to the decade-long stagnation in Japan and the Asian financial crisis, which he says had a profound impact on many Chinese policymakers.

Such officials remain deeply suspicious of advice from western countries to open up the financial system and float the currency. “They think it is just a new way of looting developing countries,” Mr Ha says.

Mr Song himself has been commissioned to write a number of new books to capitalise on his success, on the yen, the euro and also on China’s financial system.

But in conversation, he sounds hesitant about the line his future tomes might take. “This book may be totally wrong, so before the next one, I have to make sure my understanding is right,” he says.

“Before this book, I was a nobody, so I could say anything I liked, but now the situation has changed.”

Source; Financial Times

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Competitive Intelligence: How To Track Your Competitors & Uncover Their Not So Hidden Secret

By Srikanth Chari

In business, you always need to know what your competitors are doing. To survive you must perform competitive intelligence activities and monitor the broader market for new developments that could affect your company, your products and brands, suppliers, and distributors.

Tracking your competitors is the only way to make to make sure you are thwarting threats, taking advantage of opportunities, marketing effectively, and, ultimately, winning in the marketplace. By performing competitive intelligence, you will significantly increase your margins and profitability.

There's one resource that's often underutilized in this regard: your competitors' websites. Today's digital footprint, while increasing corporate transparency and yielding greater power to consumers in the marketing dialogue, enables marketers to measure conversions. Companies spend enormous sums of money on maintaining their websites so that they can attract and influence prospects, customers, and analyst.

Your competitors may wish they could block you from their websites, but remember that the information they post there is public. If you aren't harvesting this rich - and free - resource, you are the loser!

Here are 5 things you must do regularly to effectively track your competitors and uncover their not so hidden secrets:
1. Identify your competitors
Now, this may seem odd to you. You’re probably thinking, “doesn't a company know who its competitors are?” Not always. New firms come seemingly out of nowhere, preempting existing companies with different technologies or approaches they never saw coming.

Often a company in an adjacent area will change its positioning to try and address your market, or a new startup may emerge in a related area. You need to create a master list of your key competitors and make sure you keep this up to date.

To do this, Google the terms, which describe your industry, your products and services. You can also use a little known feature in Google. In the search box, type in "" and Google will display a list of companies that it considers related to yours. Look for new companies that show up and see if any of these pose a threat.

2. Check your competitors’ home pages for positioning changes
When you visit a company's website, first look at its home page to see if they have made changes to the way they describe their products and services. Carefully scrutinize how they emphasize different features or benefits and how they are positioning themselves. Sometimes, you can learn a lot even from the subtle changes your competitors make on their home page.


The Five Competitive Forces that Shape Strategy

The Five Competitive Forces that Shape Strategy
By Michael Porter

What is Competitive intelligence?

I recommend the below article to anyone want to work in this career


Get Smart

Competitive intelligence is about more than just market research. Knowing yourself and knowing your enemy only gets more important as the world becomes increasingly wired and globalized.
By Ethar El-Katatney

Market research is indispensable, but it will not always deliver results — not for highly competitive, fast-changing, action-driven businesses that need to make decisions every day. Corporate espionage is illegal and unethical, but there’s no denying that a lot of businesses would have much to gain from it. The solution? Competitive Intelligence (CI).
Although it began in the US in the 70s, CI entered the Egyptian market only four years ago. Dr. Giselher Dombach, CEO of German-based company GEDcom AG, is the pioneer.
49-year-old Dombach was born in Germany and graduated with a Ph.D. in biotechnology and bioengineering. But when he realized his skills lay elsewhere, he completed his MBA and embarked on a 20-year career in consulting. Dombach has lived and worked in the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Far East in addition to teaching at several universities. He also has extensive military training (and we’ll find out why this is important later on), having served as a lieutenant colonel in many of today’s crisis regions, including Afghanistan and Kosovo.
Dombach arrived in Egypt in 2000 to teach at the German University in Cairo. Believing that he had found a country with great potential, a country that was “the ideal hub” for this area of the world, he decided to open a second branch of GEDcom AG in Cairo. To him, the CI business here is “embryonic, [and] that’s why [Egypt is] a very fertile ground to expand our business in.”
GEDcom AG is a CI company, which also evaluates start-up companies, commercial due diligences, and business opportunities for German companies in crisis regions. The bulk of their work however, is CI. But what exactly is CI?Competitive Intelligence
CI is a process carried out to profile your competitors in order to forecast their moves. We live in a very dynamic world, where CEOs and company decision-makers need to know what the competitors are actually planning and how they are responding to their own moves. CI is also considered a product, giving you a report on your competitor’s plans.
CI differs from market research, which is more stable, scientific, long-term oriented, and needs a certain sample size on which to apply scientific methods and get an overview of potential customer acceptance of one’s products. CI, on the other hand, directly addresses the specific, short-term intelligence needs of decision-makers in what Dombach calls Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIRs).
“I’ll give you an example,” he says. “If you, as a CEO of a company, would like to acquire another company as a move to get entrance in [to] another market, you’d like to know: Is that also what your competitor is planning? And if not, how will your competitor react? Will he or she retaliate and win? That is something which is much more short-term oriented but much more action-driven.”
Neither does CI focus on a specific study of competitors and the market, instead it includes studies of other factors outside of the direct market situation, such as technology positions and human resources. So how does it work? According to Dombach, it’s just like the military.
“CI concepts all come from the military. CI was invented by ex-CIA, NSA, and military intelligence agencies,” he begins. “The CI cycle is very similar to the military world [because] it’s about the PIRs of the CEO: What do I need as CEO in order to make my decision? Then it goes directly into the planning concept: Which target [do] I need to approach in order to get the information in order to come up with my intelligence?”
The information collected to develop intelligence briefings comes from secondary sources, primarily through ‘human intelligence.’ CI professionals network with industry experts to gather information at conferences, trade shows and industry events. That’s why companies usually hire external CI experts to get the information — because if you are a person with military background, according to Dombach, and “you are talking directly to your competitor, you will get the right information.” Therefore, the ‘human intelligence’ has to bring with them both military and economic experience to be successful in the CI field.
The information is then analyzed through static or dynamic simulations, and disseminated in the right way to decision-makers, providing them with recommendations and suggestions for action. If the intelligence gathered is not usable or actionable then it is ignored, meaning it is not intelligence. All you have to do, says Dombach, is “transfer and transform [the information collected] to the economic world, and that’s why [] it’s good to have on one side the fully fledged consultant and on the other side combining this with [] military experience.”
According to the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) — a global, nonprofit organization whose main goal is promoting CI as a discipline that is unlike corporate intelligence and bound by strict ethical guidelines and of which GEDcom AG is a member — CI “adds value to information-gathering and strategic planning by introducing a disciplined system not only to gather information, but also to perform analysis and disseminate findings tailored to the needs of decision-makers.”GEDcom AG
GEDcom AG is the only fully dedicated CI consultancy in the Egyptian market. Its employees are a mix of Egyptians and non-Egyptians, but all have methodological expertise from the military sector, along with industry and economic expertise. The consultancy helps companies construct a suitable CI organization and trains their clients’ staff in implementation of CI activities.
An example of a CI activity is wargames, a method of analyzing the retaliatory potential of a company’s competitors. The company organizes several teams, brings them together in a room, and assigns each team the identity of a different competitor. Then they simulate what will happen if the company goes ahead with an operation move, whether it’s embarking on a new technology, bringing a new product to the market, diversifying their product line or acquiring another company in a mergers and acquisition operation.
In addition to providing companies with CI, GEDcom AG also provides them with counterintelligence services, because there’s nothing to stop your competitor from using CI against you in return. The services include identifying competitors’ CI operations and trying to neutralize them, in addition to teaching companies operation security (OPSEC) measures.
“Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars protecting their assets,” explains Dombach. “But in our high-tech world the real assets are the minds of the people. So by OPSEC measures what you try to do is to identify the secrets that may be of interest to your competitors, what are [your] vulnerabilities and how [you] can prevent the access of competitors to [your] trade secrets. It’s no secret that other companies try to use corporate espionage in order to get your trade secrets [] [which] is the best way to try and find out what are the vulnerabilities [of your competitor].”CI in Egypt
Know what your competitor is going to do before he does it. Keep them from knowing what you’re going to do. Completely legal. It sounds too good to be true. And if there’s one thing about Egyptians, they won’t reach into their pockets until they know where their money is going and have good reason to expect a return. It would seem that GEDcom AG might have a difficult time proving this since it does not divulge its client list, which would undermine their activities. So how did GEDcom AG go about securing business?
“The customers in Egypt,” says Dombach, “are [mostly] international customers because it’s quite a new field for Egyptians [] who are not aware of [the importance of CI]. When you talk about [it], the first question [Egyptians ask] is, ‘what’s the difference between market research and CI?’ If you [...] say ‘it is more action-driven oriented,’ then you see the eyes of your counterparts at the table widening, and they acknowledge [its] importance.”
And so what GEDcom AG is trying to do is create an awareness of CI, counter-intelligence and OPSEC measures in the Egyptian market through word of mouth and holding seminars, which they will start giving at the beginning of 2008.
Regarding his Egyptian client list, Dombach says they are companies in life science industries including high-tech and pharmaceutical companies, but also companies in the consumer goods industry and the B2B business.
Who does he believe his clients should be? “All companies which are in a very intense global and rapid competition,” he answers. “Companies where products have a very short life cycle, because these companies have to act now. Companies which are not protected by domestic home market but [are out facing] international competition.”
Our world today is complex and fast-changing. Instinct and intuition can no longer be relied on. Companies who need correct and action-specific information have much to gain from CI; companies who want to improve their competitive position, enter new markets, or acquire new technologies are all in need of CI. But it is yet to be seen whether Egyptian companies will realize that CI helps them gain a sustainable competitive advantage without venturing into the murky waters of corporate espionage.
In conclusion, says Dombach, “People say [that] we [progressed] from [an] agricultural society, to an industrial society, to an informational society, [now] we are living in a knowledge society, but actually I think this is no longer true. We are living in an intelligence society.” And because we are living in an intelligence society, “What we’d like to know is [how our] customers [can] outsmart competitors and how they can make the right decisions. It’s a game and they would like to have the best cards; we help them.”Soldier OnTurning your boardroom into a war room is the first step to mastering the art of Battle ManagementBy Dr. Giselher Dombach
Remember the “Art of War” cover story that bt ran back in August? It was refreshing to read the author drilling down through all the new management and motivation fads, going all the way back to the ancient wisdom of successful individual behavior in business. Yes, it is true: In the end, competition is a constant economic battle. And the secrets that count in the economic battlefield are the secrets of successful warriors.
Aside from individual leaders, corporations should also follow lessons learned on the battlefield. Let’s face it: We’re fighting our competitors in a constant economic war. We are overwhelmed with the latest management fads, which mainly exist to help consultants make more money. Nice stuff to talk about — but we’ve heard it all before.
Forget about these fads. Let’s get down to the basics and see how we can use the concepts of the world’s most successful armies to succeed in this economic battle. Call it what it is: battle management.Intelligence Matters
Have you ever seen how closely different units cooperate in military operations? Intelligence and operations are constantly interacting in the Operations (OPS) Center in order to lead intelligence-guided operations. You will see how the intelligence section provides the commander with action-oriented information based on his specific priority intelligence requirements (PIR).
Based on this intelligence, the planning section works out operational plans and the operations branch implements them, leading to other intelligence requests and so on. All sections are closely interacting in an OPS Center that uses all possible visualization aids in order to provide a first glance overview of the current status on the battlefield.
Compare this to our corporate world. The CEO is overwhelmed with raw data and information about every aspect of his competition. Action-oriented intelligence is rarely provided. At the end of the day, the market research department has to justify its existence by providing data, doesn’t it? Most of the time its work is reactive, not active. It’s not their fault; they just need the specific PIR of the CEO.
In corporations, we see lots and lots of raw data or information, but little intelligence. What about the interaction between strategic or operational planning, implementation and intelligence departments? Yes, data and information are used in planning, but functional barriers often hinder close cooperation.
Intel-guided operations often fail due to competing egos and inter-departmental rivalry. What is missing is a physical focal point — an OPS Center. Board rooms should become war rooms where computer supported visualization helps bring together intelligence, planning and operations. Precious mahogany tables are not enough. What is needed today are functional OPS Centers where executives make intelligence-guided decisions.Winning the Fight
The picture is not so bleak — some companies have successfully learned from the examples set by the military. They practice the art of battle management. CEOs formulate their PIR, which focuses their planning. Departments for competitive intelligence are set up to employ legal, analytical and collaborative tools to achieve an intelligence advantage over the competition. These companies don’t use trips to international trade fairs and conferences as rewards for deserving employees. They see these missions as intelligence operations, with temporary OPS Centers. Targets are identified, sources developed, all in order to gather specific data which is turned into actionable intelligence.
Competitors are profiled and HUMan INTelligence (HUMINT) and TECHnical INTelligence (TECHINT) are used to gain insight into their strategic plans. OPS Centers are used to coordinate intelligence gathering and to link this with strategic and tactical business planning and current operations. OPS Centers are also used to plan and execute mergers and acquisitions, market entries, media campaigns and other critically important missions. OPerations SECurity (OPSEC) and the instruments of counterintelligence are used to fight competing intelligence operations. War gaming is used for dynamic simulations.
Is it legal? Of course it is! People are more than willing to talk about their work. So, let them open their hearts and minds to your sources at fairs and conferences. It is legal to purchase satellite images in order to see which parts of your competitor’s factories and facilities are really working. It is not corporate espionage — it is legal competitive intelligence gathering, a part of corporate battle management.
Why isn’t it widely used in the business world? Why are companies still gathering mountains of undirected raw data and information, and dumping it on their CEO? Why are leaders still residing in boardrooms with fine, wooden furniture instead of technically advanced, functional OPS Centers? Why don’t they train people in OPSEC basics to avoid leaking strategic information?
The basic problem is that most companies believe in a fundamental conceptual difference between economic competition and military battlefields. These boundaries are blurring. Concepts of both worlds are increasingly interchangeable. And successful companies — and armed forces — have no fear of contacts with the ‘other’ world. Armies have been using management theories developed by business and industry for the last century. Successful leaders, whether armed with rifles or PowerPoint, use the concepts of battle management. As Karl von Clausewitz s “Only great and general battles can produce great results.” bt

Welcome to CI

Welcome to CI