The Executive Intelligence Concept
How do you ramp up corporate and market intelligence in a time when massive layoffs, hiring freezes and training issues prevent you from using traditional methods of developing a department tasked with gathering intelligence that enables executives to make the best informed decision. Look at the alternative.
There are many software packages on the market to present their links, or "Scrapings" to the busy executive to assist in decision making. The task of sifting through thousands of lines of text, or deciding which link to choose to access, then read some verbose bloggers rambling article which turns out to have been made up by an opinionated school kid several thousand miles away from the action, is not the most efficient use of an executive's time. Top decision makers need trends, not thousands of minute details.
The ComLinks team has been looking at the training, support and advising of top executives on how to best to absorb the changing trends, perceptions and relationships in today's media and communication landscape that defines their marketplace, and ultimate profitability or failure. This multi layered study has looked at the process from a general overview, to real time analysis of specific industries. Each layer becomes increasingly expensive, yet most decisions can be made using a general overview or "Radar". This lends itself to a cutting edge SAAS, Software as a Service model.
It was not that long ago when corporate executives dictated memo's and letters, then had them sent down to the Typing Pool for transfer to paper. Then they were sent back, reviewed and sent down to the Mail Room for dispatch.
Today an executive types and sends an email instantly, with a reply back in seconds. Such is progress and efficiency.
Yet the Corporate Intelligence or Competitive Intelligence functions have barely expanded out of this obsolete time warp. True they have computers, databases and many online collection services, yet they adhere to the same principles that were declared obsolete years ago. It's time the executives and managers had access to ongoing intelligence on their laptops, iphones and Blackberry's without the need to send down ideas to the typing pool, have them drafted, then returned with the information requested, or not understood.
The corporate intelligence systems are generally inefficient and flawed, with lack of communication being a major stated reason for the information not getting to the decision makers. One major backward step has been giving the task of feeding relevant intelligence to executives to the PR Department.
PR Departments by their very nature have their own agenda, and their task is to push the positive news, and deny the negative news. Their plan is a carefully worked out message, and obstacles have to be removed. The intelligence product is often tainted, and in some cases downright poisonous for the top executives.
A study of the political intelligence sent out from Lobbyists and ex-political figures in Washington, DC first alerted us to this reporting phenomenon. When you have a horse in the race, you don't advise the owners that is a time wasting venture, and will lose.
The cost of collecting vast quantities of historical information is useful for a librarian, but with Google and other sophisticated search engines the speed of communications means the decision maker has both to research the message, then send it.
We are entering a new era of electronic intelligence, and key executives must learn the interpretation techniques and skills to be able to identify trends, perceptions and identify risks. To their companies, and their own future.