Knowledge is a key asset that enables you to maintain or enhance your market competitiveness. Intelligence is therefore increasingly important to your business.
What is intelligence?
Intelligence is the set of activities used to find, acquire, analyze and evaluate information in order to help you prepare for decision-making and guide your choices.
Principal types of intelligence
TechnologicaI intelligence refers to scientific and technical assets (patents, publications, knowhow), ongoing research activities, products and services (in their conception and design), manufacturing processes, materials and sectors, and information systems: Who does what, where and with what standards?
Competitive intelligence focuses on present or potential competitors and the analysis of their strategy and competitive advantages; in the literal sense, it refers to competing companies; it can also be interpreted to mean competitive products or processes, e.g., plastic competes against wood, television competes against other recreational activities.
Commercial intelligence concerns clients, markets, suppliers, the labour market.
Strategic intelligence, more long-term in nature, focuses on issues of strategic planning for the company: What decision should be made concerning a given line of developmen, what markets are opening up and what sectors are promising, what are the opportunities/threats?
Within firms, the implementation of an intelligence function requires an appropriate structure:
- A service that combines a documentation team (researchers, observers, information specialists) and internal communication officers (scientific writers, analysts)
- Reliance on external partners (intelligence, liaison or transfer centre)
- A combination of the two
Corporate intelligence is characterized by four main steps:
- needs identification (corporate objectives, establishment of a team)
- establishment of an access structure (setting up a team, identification of relevant formal and informal information sources, information gathering)
- synthesis (analysis of raw data)
- dissemination within the firm
A wide variety of information technologies are available to support the intelligence function within a
- decision-making assistance systems
- data depots
- data mining in support of decisions
- knowledge-based systems to capture and distribute knowledge
- electronic data interchange (EDI)
- systems, client-server systems
- imaging systems
- the Internet, intranets and extranets
Several industrial sectors such as chemicals, plastics and wood products industry develop joint technological intelligence services in order to provide them with information on the latest developments in their respective fields.
A competitive intelligence centre a group of recognized partners in a given sector of economic activity. They include research centres, liaison and transfer centres, companies, universities, CEGEPs and associations.
These partners work together to generate new value-added strategic information that is specifically adapted to businesses in their sector, in order to enhance their market competitiveness. This service may be complementary to the intelligence function already within the company, which has the avantage of being directly targeted to the needs of the business.
Given the ever-increasing mass of information and the strategic need for this information to be processed quickly, an intelligence service can save you a great deal of time and money by providing you with information of vital importance to decision-making concerning your growth, be it for new product launches, new market penetration, technology acquisitions, new research and development activities.
Intelligence Centres and Information Services
List of intelligence resources organized by activity sector.
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