Monthly Archives

February 2019

Boy in green

Can early warning systems help you?

By | Intelligence

Can early warning systems really help you? Well, if you are going to get a kick in the groin it is always because to see it coming.  So you can get out of the way.

Everyone should have an early warning system. Because it is an excellent way to understand situations you may be facing in the future that can affect you. And then be in a strong position to do something about it – As we know from experience surprises are rarely pleasurable.

So, the first thing to do is map out your competitive environment, think about who you want to keep an eye on and who could be future competitors.

As you can’t monitor everything take each competitor in turn. Conduct an assessment of the impact they have on you and your current/future performance. — The more significant the potential situation, the higher the priority.

Detect Changes

Then take a look at how you could quickly detect and define any changes with each target. Find people in your team who are best placed to find the information quickly.  Have an understanding of the clearly defined signs.

Collate the data you find into a single source (CI software or just a spreadsheet). You will be surprised how much useful information is out there – and how many new questions need answering!

Critically, once you have looked at what they are up to you turn the data into usable intelligence using analysis. Techniques such as Competing Hypothesis or Scenario Analysis are great tools for this.

What can you do about it?

For each piece of insight, you need to decide what you are going to do about it.

For instance, if company X purchases X product, please let us know straight away.  Have a handful of predefined associated actions, one of which could be of course to do nothing.

These actions should take into account the situation you find yourself in and the capabilities and resources you have to hand. For any actions taken it is important to understand how your competitor will respond. Again, making you even more prepared and perhaps unbeatable.

Pretty soon you will be in a position to be able to predict your rivals next move.

That’s why we say “Intelligence is just knowing…

www.octopusintelligence.com

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

Intelligence briefings

By | Opinion

When developing a senior management intelligence briefing, the writer must understand what interests them. Sounds obvious, but I have seen real examples of reports from the military in the field which were not read by anyone. 6 months and many millions of pounds spent before anyone noticed the information was no longer required. Also, you need to understand how much detail the reader wants to see.

Otherwise, the reader will gain no value from it. Do they want specific information? Alternatively, do they prefer a “high altitude” strategic level briefing with an ability to ask more detailed questions? The intelligence brief should not be a regurgitation of media reports with associated hyperlinks. The brief requires thought not just media monitoring software. Leaders should ensure that the first thing they do each day/week is to study their intelligence briefing. It should form what they are doing and deciding that day/week.

However, there are still companies who don’t use intelligence and rely on instinct and experience. Riding a bike blindfolded carrying a box of fresh eggs is easy to do until they hit a pothole in the road or have to turn a corner: bumps, bruises and egg on their face.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

Are products circling to the bottom?

By | Opinion

Are products circling to the bottom? Have you noticed that a company comes out with a great new product or a musician has a smash hit album, and their customers love it?

Then their competitors start the race to copy what they have done? This copying may explain the number of Ed Sheeran clones around at the moment and why Apple is between a rock and a hard place.

The trouble is with this plagiarism becomes the industry standard very quickly, and the reduced impact on the then delighted customer. They shrug their shoulders and get on with it.

So then, the company with the original idea has a set of customers with even higher expectations and thus have to innovate to keep up.

Intelligence helps companies like this to jump three steps ahead of the competition, isolate weaknesses in current offerings and predict what is going to happen in the future.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

Change is risky

By | Opinion

Great ideas take time to establish themselves. According to Seth Godin in this excellent new book, ‘This is Marketing’, it is because the best ideas require significant change. They fly in the face of the status quo and inertia is very powerful.

Great ideas create a lot of noise and distrust. He says “Change is risky and that’s why some companies want others to go first to test the water.”

Smart companies use intelligence to reduce uncertainty and the consequences of risk allowing you to have a clear head to make better decisions. Intelligence can also determine how successful your great idea could be before committing millions and risking brand and reputation. Intelligence tells it how it is and provides a bedrock of certainty upon which to build decision making and future proofing strategies.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter