Competitive intelligence

After examining economic indicators to understand the country or countries, which are under consideration to locate productive operations, and to select targeted markets, investors of personal or business time, skills or funds, next must engage in competitive intelligence (CI).

Defining, gathering, analysing data into information and testing, disseminating and distributing the resulting intelligence, on and about jobs, products, suppliers, customers, competitors and any aspect of the environment; geographical, political, cultural, civil society and legal jurisdiction, is needed to support strategic decision-making.

Such intelligence is key in formulating the operation’s dynamic strategic plan, which is used to produce fund raising extracts, such as a prospectus to attract equity investors and a business plan to raise debt.

Decisions on investing personal time, applying and taking education and employment in this geographic location, will require intelligence about training institutions and industrial operators, and their track records. Training, much needed, has become, like finance, mostly borderless. It is the practical experience, which still requires travel to produce the resulting skill.

Skills, which offer sustained employment, are highly competitive and need certification and endorsement from the most respected organisations, in that particular field of discipline. Employment, with its widest meaning, is crucial to improving standards of living, economic growth and sustainable development.

The individual mission is to better self, family and others, hence, the constant need for further intelligence.

Decisions on investing business time, applying to regulators for legal registration to operate bank accounts in local and foreign currencies, to understand and participate in cultures and communities, will require intelligence on government policies, laws and regulations.

Regulations and the many regulators, which can cripple business activities, must be constantly monitored and the business must always be found to be compliant.

Legal registration offers protection to all stakeholders’ interest and properties. Banking and currencies data are gathered and forecasted by the nation’s monetary reserve agency or central bank.

The business constantly requires intelligence on cultures in the markets in which it serves and communities in which it operates to best win and grow market share.

People and property to execute the idea into industry. People with the essential skills and property with assigned values are merged through processes into operations to produce products, which offer benefits to the targeted market. The market in return pays to maintain the operation and benefit all its stakeholders. The product’s price, therefore, must always cover salaries and wages, supplies, promotional cost and all other expenses, to remain relevant, feasible and competitive.

Hence, it is the industry’s current relevant measured data calculated for feasibility and analysed into information, and presented to shareholders, directors, management and all other stakeholders as competitive intelligence, which must drive decisions at all levels.

The strategic plan is a dynamic document, constantly changing along with current input data and processed intelligence. Both internal and external data flows into the strategic plan to project five to ten years going forward, based on historical trends. Internal information, such as on each and every transaction, fixed asset registry, human resource files, loans and debt records.

Externally sourced information from market research, product improvement, sector and country news, region and world economic indicators. So, most progressive organisations can now use such business intelligence to produce up-to-the-minute management accounts for their external auditors, for security and exchange commission and other sector and industry regulators filings, and for bankers and shareholders’ annual reports.

Terrance A. Jennings

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