Friday, 18 July 2008

CI / SI Analysts:: Not Multi-faceted enough?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
There were two intelligence analysts, one was called a competitive intelligence analyst and the other a systems intelligence analyst. The competitive intelligence analyst had had a formal university level education, whilst the systems intelligence analyst had left school at 17, starting as a prototype wireman in electronics, before undertaking a career in network management and strategic software design.

Both were very different in their approach. The competitive intelligence analyst would follow formal methods and strictly comply with the ethical codes set by the SCIP. Whilst the systems intelligence analyst approached each task in a much less formal way and did not constrain himself to the same CI process. In fact he made CI up as he went along.

When CI Analyst (1) was on a "how to set-up a CI wargame" training course, CI Analyst (2) was attending a "how to hack a cisco router" training course. Neither Analyst could understand why the other was following the particular path they were taking.

Whilst both analysts took a very different approach, they complimented each other very well for a number of reasons. Firstly they both thought the management team of the day were stupid. Secondly, they both believed in ensuring that the brand they were supporting was as optimal relative to the competition as possible. And thirdly they both believed that for CI professionals to surive they must be delivering constant value and just as importantly, "be seen to be delivering constant value".

From a management perspective this situation worked very well. They had a much broader spectrum of skills, talents and approaches to draw upon for obtaining competitive information - upon which they could make better, more informed decisions.

Problem was that the CI process relied on two perspectives, rather than one. Both perspectives had to be reconciled and described in a manner that presented a confident, honest and clear picture to the management team.

When one analyst went on holiday the CI process was less informed and worst still, compromised by the fact the perspective had now temporarily altered.

One way to resolve this is to hire and train CI analysts to cover both commercial intelligence and technical systems perspectives.

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