March 6, 2013

The Rise & Fall of Information

In today’s business environment, having the right information is not enough anymore. In a world where competitors are fiercer than ever, rapidly changing technologies alter the rules of the game daily and one wrong business move can destroy your company, managers are seeking new ways to make decisions.

Many managers believe that information is the key. They think that if they have enough information, they will make the right decision.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

As you will see, information is merely the starting point of the decision-making process and not the end. And while the quality of your information is important, what you do with it – how you analyze and then use it – is much more important.

Turning raw information and data into actionable intelligence is fast becoming the most critical management tool of cutting-edge business leaders.

For them and other forward-thinking, successful managers, the age of information is over and the age of intelligence has begun. The process these people use to turn information into intelligence and enter the age of intelligence is called Competitive Intelligence. Most companies don’t enter this illegal world. In fact, it’s unnecessary. Virtually everything they need to know is available, albeit sometimes purposely hidden or hard to find. These experts gather information by employing the latest technology and ingenious methods, including satellite photoreconnaissance, combing government databases, filing freedom of information Act requests, back-engineering, and even hiring psychiatrists to analyze a competitor’s decision makers. Companies often employ super-speed computers designed specifically for analyzing mountains of data.

Mitsubishi, for example, has about thirteen thousand employees in more than two hundred offices worldwide. They collect more than thirty thousand pieces of business and competitive information daily. This data is filtered, analyzed and disseminated to companies within the Mitsubishi family to be used as ammunition in the ongoing global war against competitors.

What makes competitive intelligence even more critical in the new, post-industrial era is the growth of high-tech industries such as tele-communications, biotechnology, fiber optics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and computers. These cutting-edge industries require large research and development expenditures, have razor-thin margins, fast development cycles, and are global in scope.

Image Credit : Google
Text adopted from Book Competitive Intelligence by Larry Kahaner

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