Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Commercial Analyst or Spy - Did you open yourself up to Corporate Espionage?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
In the world of commercial analysis, it seems that there are a hundred different job titles for almost every role. Everything from technical, networking, data and systems analysts on a technical level and business analysts, information analysts, competitive and business intellgence analysts on a business level. Then there are even more specialised types of analyst such as stock market analysts, underwriting analysts, financial analysts and business systems analysts.

With such a diverse array of analysis talent on show, how can hiring managers ensure they are selecting the most appropriate level of analyst - and more importantly hiring analysts they can trust? In other words, how do they ensure that they are hiring people who have the right intentions - not the wrong intentions? How can they tell when they interview them?

It is our experience that many UK executives are failing to conduct proper checks on analysis staff prior to recruitment, prefering to protect the company from any hiring misjudgements by offering short-term contracts or exercising rights by extending periods of probation.

Whilst employment law may protect companies like this from dealing with analysts who have somehow not met the conditions, it does not protect the company from industrial espionage.

In a recent study, a comparative analysis was conducted which investigated the behaviour of military intelligence analysts versus that of their commercial analyst counterparts.

It was clear from the investigation that military intelligence analysts asked very different questions than that of commercial analysts. Military Intelligence analysts were highly objective, impersonal and non-specific in their approach whereas commercial intelligence analysts were highly subjective - preferring to concentrate on the specific labels and subject matters of the company, rather than obtaining a higher level objective view.

Another difference was in the methodologies of analysis used. Intelligence analysts preferred to develop open methods of analysis, using transparent communications. Whereas business analysts were happier maintaining a less open methodology with closed communications.

Suffice to say that infiltrators prefer to install devices and mechanisms to encourage staff to do the knowledge acquisition, requirements gathering and even the analysis work for them, thereby freeing the analyst to concentrate on the real purpose of their engagement i.e trawling for secrets (espionage). Whereas the business analyst would be so absorbed by the burden of using conventional business analysis techniques for acquisition and analysis that he or she would only be able to concentrate on what he was being paid to do.
If any advice were to be offered to managers in this respect it would be to hire and train analysts from within, rather than seek them from outside. In the Competitive Intelligence business, there is no substitute for loyalty.

For more information on this study email Stephen at

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