The term “corporate intelligence” (synonymous with competitive intelligence), refers to the systems and tools corporate decision-makers utilize in their strategic planning process. These systems and devices allow a company to gather, store, and analyze corporate data to aid in their decision-making.
Having access to an enterprise’s sensitive data, with the ability to scrutinize and accurately interpret it, can prove quite advantageous in today’s competitive and ever-changing market. And this is why McDonald’s doesn’t share the recipe for their secret sauce. If their largest direct competitor, Burger King, had the same secret sauce recipe, McDonald’s would undoubtedly lose their competitive edge in the hamburger business.
The same thing goes for the Cola Wars between Coke and Pepsi. Keeping one’s business secrets well…a secret is what allows the most successful corporations to maintain their lead.
Categories of Corporate Intelligence
Corporate intelligence is an umbrella term for the gathering and examination of multiple streams of information to outline the facts that will assist an organization in making informed management decisions. These streams of data can be broken down into four primary categories as to how they are monitored, each with subcategories of its own:
- M&A Due Diligence
- Due Diligence
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
- Market Research
- Intelligence Collection
- Human Intelligence
- Business Intelligence
- Knowledge-Based Systems
- Undercover Operations
- Background Checks
- Identity Theft Monitoring
- Compliance Audits
- Asset Usage Monitoring
- Cyber Threats
- Environmental Risks
- Personal Hard Drive Data Risk
We won’t cover all of the subcategories in this post, but what follows is an overview of the most critical aspects of each to corporate leadership.
The risks of the corporate world are seemingly endless, so whether you’re considering a new business collaboration or hiring a new employee, you must protect your investors. The entities you engage with should be thoroughly scrutinized from every angle. Although doing so requires a delicate balance between communication, IT, and problem-solving skills, the end justifies the means.
By scanning open source material on the public domain internet, a wealth of obscure, yet critical information about your direct competitors can be gathered and used to your advantage to shape decisions that directly affect your investors and your ROI.
While some companies choose to engage in corporate espionage, partnering with a firm that offers the ability to legally and ethically gather background information about competitors, potential collaborative partners, and prospective clients only sets your enterprise up for success.
Human intelligence is relevant information gathered from the actions or words of people. Methods for the collection of this type of data include personal interactions, interviews, interrogations, exploitation of documents, social media activity, 3rd party affiliations, and surveillance.
Business Intelligence is the collection and analysis of information to anticipate competitive activity, see past market disruptions, and interpret events from a neutral point of view.
A background check or background investigation is the process of gathering and compiling information about a person or entity. Such investigations include the compilation of criminal, financial, and industrial records of a person or organization.
Brandjacking and Identity Theft
Brandjacking and Identity theft are the intentional use of a corporate brand or someone else’s identity or intellectual property to gain financial advantage. In many cases, the unauthorized use of brand logos and personal identities causes damage to the brand image and financial loss to the brand owner or person whose identity has been misappropriated.
By conducting a combination of regularly scheduled and unannounced compliance audits, corporations can better manage accurate reporting of asset usage to affect real change in reducing the fraud, waste, and abuse of their financial and logistical resources.
Conducting baseline and periodic assessments allow businesses to gauge their risk profile more accurately.
As technology continues to evolve on an almost daily basis, and climate change affects everyday life around the world, reports of data breaches and natural disasters have kept pace, becoming commonplace. Routine assessments of an enterprise’s risk factors, including cyber threats and environmental hazards, help to identify vulnerable gaps in an organization’s IT management network and conditions that could pose significant loss or damage to their property and company assets. Further assessments of financial information handling (including financial transactions) should also become routine. Together, the reports generated from these assessments serve to increase organizational vulnerability awareness.
Looking for more information about Corporate Intelligence services and how they can help protect your organization? Find it here.