These notes are intended to be used in conjunction with information presented in classes and elsewhere on this site.
Searching for Company Information, Search Strategies and Design
Marketing Research, Search Strategies and Design
Company Information, Electronic Sources and Resources
Marketing Research, Electronic Sources and Resources
In Working Girl, Tess McGill, the non-graduate of Wharton and Harvard, adeptly and concisely explains the process of gathering and developing competitive intelligence to a skeptical audience:
"This is Forbes... .
It's just your basic article about how you were looking to expand into broadcasting.
Now the same day ... I'm reading page six of the Post, and there's this item on Bobby Stein the radio talk show guy ... . He's hosting this charity auction that night - real blue bloods. Now I turn the page to Suzy who does the society stuff and there's this picture of your daughter ... and she's helping to organize the charity ball.
So I started to think, Trask, radio. Trask, radio. And then I hooked up with Jack, and he came on board with Metro. And so now, here we are."
For Tess, this is a process which she undertakes instinctively, making what may seem like unrelated leaps of faith and logic but what are actually leaps grounded in knowledge absorbed from all manner of sources and resources, allowed to percolate in her brain until she places them in the order required.
For the rest of us, this is a process which we have to learn, cautiously recording and filing each piece of information, analyzing and re-analyzing, ensuring that each step is throughly explored in the appropriate order, and hoping that good instincts will eventually appear ... .
- Gathering publicly available data / information on markets, competitors, industry, stakeholders with a view to enhancing a company's (or organization's or individual's) knowledge and capability to respond appropriately
- should allow action to be taken
- "staying informed about the competition"
- "knowing your enemies"
- "staying ahead of the game"
- Originally focused on marketing research
- Related to:
- competitive analysis
- data mining
- internet / web mining
- profiling / dataveillance
- Access / Acquire
- read for meaning
- consider what is said, what is implied, and what is left out
- assign values based on current, potential needs
- active use
- passive storage for later active use
- Formulate a response
- Forward planning
- Strategic planning
- Alliance planning
- mix of partners, collaborators, competitors
- Acquisition / investment planning
- Determine: strengths / weaknesses; opportunities / threats
- Identify / seize advantages
- Put someone else at a disadvantage
- Limit surprise
- Support decisions already made
- Bolster defensive moves rather than offensive moves
CI and ...
- Knowledge management
- "Envrionmental" issues
- corporate culture / organizational behaviour
- legal / ethical
- political (local, regional, national, international)
CI Within the Hierarchy
- May be based on ROI, perceived effectiveness
- Undertaken by IT units, information specialists, information officers, knowledge managers
- In-house, outsourced
- Ongoing, project oriented, virtually non-existent
- HumInt, technology
- CI is the "light side" of industrial espionage, limited by: legal means; fairness; ethics
Industrial / Corporate Espionage
- The "dark side" of competitive intelligence, spying and stealing for commercial reasons, where the process, act, and techniques may be illegal
- militarily critical technologies targeted but many technologies are dual use
- on a state level, possibly state-sanctioned
- motivation: profit; nationalism; destruction
- estimated cost to US as high as $300 billion [Annual Report to Congress on Foreign Economic Collection (2003; dated February 2004)]
Economic Espionage Act [18 USC 1831 (1996)]
- Focus on trade secrets, broadly defined
- financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, engineering information
- patterns, plans, compilations, program devises, designs, prototypes, methods, techniques, processes ... etc.
- Intended to:
- criminalize "the acts of employees who leave their employment and use their knowledge about specific products ... to compete with their prior employer"
- May have to:
- prove the existence of a trade secret
- allow defendant access to pertinent documents
- allow comparison of public knowledge / access with the supposed "secret"
- Products under development
- Contractual confidentiality agreements
- Uniform Trade Secrets Act
- "codifies the basic principles of common law trade secret protection, preserving its essential distinctions from patent law"
- Discovery by "proper" means includes:
- independent invention; license; reverse engineering (sometimes); observation of public use / display; published literature
- Damages may be recovered for misappropriation
- Does not currently have an EEA equivalent
- trade secrets alluded to in a number of federal and provincial acts (eg NB's Right to Information Act which excepts some financial, commercial, technical or scientific information)
- Canadian Security Intelligence Service
- investigates economic espionage (eg by foreign governments) not industrial espionage (defined by CSIS as one private company spying on another)
Liaison / Awareness Program
- Established in 1992 through CSIS
- "to collect and assess information that will assist [CSIS] in its investigation of economic espionage activities against Canada"
- Addition of information security component designed to protect the Canadian information infrastructure
- Participation voluntary
- Direct application to purchase
- Unsolicited requests for information
- Internet access
- Corporate / University partnerships
- "Foreign" students and other visitors [shades of the FBI Library Awareness Program]
- Scientific exchanges
- Exploitation of cultural or ethnic affinity
- physical / mailing; email; web urls
- Associated numbers
- phone / fax / telex
- SIC codes
- Associated names
- accountants, lawyers, board of directors
- relatives and rivals
- Symbols / acronyms / abbreviations
- ticker symbol if publicly traded
- Product names / trademarks / service marks
- publicly traded, publicly listed, reporting
- Charity, non-profit
- headquartered, registered, incorporated, practicing
- number of employees
- sales (is the company a leader?)
- Fame / notoriety of people associated with the company
- business, community involvement
- Amount of money we can afford to spend
- Employee information
- Intellectual property
- Required filings
- quarterly financials, earning warnings ...
- Annual reports
- Press releases
- Secondary sources
- magazines, newsletters, newspapers, trade publications
- Government sources
- establishments, sector information
First Stops ...
Second Stops ...
- Local, regional, national and international media
- Local and regional business magazines
- Blogs, official and otherwise
- Biographical dictionaries and indexes
- Company and personal web sites
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Created: 2005/06/06 Last updated: 2011/12/16
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