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What are the massive changes in these unprecedented times? Octopus Intelligence

What are the massive changes in these unprecedented times?

By | Opinion

Unprecedented change

We are living through unprecedented times, and it’s increasingly the case what we did in the past is not repeatable.

Here are a few just overarching observations are shaping our world today:

Retail markets

Online retailing is superseding bricks and mortar retailers. Especially those who are not adapting to online offers. The Amazon factor. Then the big shopping centres unable to trade by offering just small unique retailers. They can’t afford rents and rates and will be out of the game. Shopping centres want the big brands.  Until very recently they are the ones that can afford the rents and rates over a sustained period of time. On line, retailers don’t pay rates. The consequence for suppliers is that the big online players will soon also own the supply lines. Our town centre’s containing the same retail/food brands, charity shops, barbers and kebab shops . The same as the next town centre, as well as, making shopping experiences more tedious than it used to be.

Transport and infrastructure 

The vividly ambitious intent to thrust driverless cars onto the populous will mean fewer cars.  And fewer car sales, fewer suppliers, monopoly of the giants etc. Even in remote areas? Either this is true, or there are other elements involved that seem unmoved by whatever reality presents them. None the less this, in either case, represents substantive future disruption.

Debt

Millennial debt, a lack of money management skills and a limited understanding of how to build value. And the startling absence of how to develop their self-reliance has to be a concern. This situation will inevitably prompt money lenders to make more debt-based products.  In turn this will undoubtedly increase individual debt burdens. This debt will change the property market as home ownership will almost certainly continue to decline. People will expect to be perpetually in debt.

Taxation 

Taxation increase, per capita in developed countries will become much higher. Cost of living will continue to rise. Governments will be essentially less solvent, and surplus income will likely stop becoming an objective (due to its almost impossible attainability). Baby boomers and Gen Z will be most likely to liquidate their assets during their lifetime due to the expected retirement circumstances changing. So only 20%, or less will have substantive estates.

Brain Drain 

A prevalent and pervasive skills deficit will mean that retirement expectations will diminish for Generation X’s because millennials and Gen Z will have less inclination and insufficient skill sets to inherit many skilled roles. Already most countries are raising the retirement age.  Likely to be exacerbated by the influx of more unskilled workers. On top of this there will be technology shortcomings meaning further dependence on less-skilled workers.

Social 

Bipolarity between low paid options will be a massive social challenge (highly qualified, student debt, working perpetually as baristas). A middle cohort of older professionals who continue to have none of their earlier aspirations of a ‘lifestyle’ because they will be much in demand and possibly will be overworked. Then there will be a more remote uber-wealthy class who can sustain their positions by mutual interdependency with each other.  Mostly because of tradition and legitimate self-preservation purposes. This gap will almost inevitably lead to less social freedom, more legal and legislative controls and higher regulation.

Political

Current events within the global political sphere are undoubtedly challenging.  It is no underestimation to state that the implications and impact on all sectors will be significant. Now more than ever it is vital to understand not just what is happening or what the potential impact on any given industry sector is. What’s most critical is to understand what options are available to your organisation.

The future looks interesting; it is not all bad news; many opportunities are prevailing for those who mobilise to ‘rearguard’ risk and capitalise on their advancement.

There are many measures and countermeasures and challenging every assumption is important.  Every opportunity must be analysed and every decision must be made against a much more stringent focus on how the circumstances will continue to move and change faster and faster and to truly succeed it is vital to have to keep constant vigil in every direction.

By Darrell West

Intelligence is just knowing…

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

Desk with paper and pins

How about putting the phone away as it’s time to think?

By | Intelligence

We live in a world where there is always too much data, a lack of intelligence, independent thinking and empathy for the other person’s point of view. A world where we are all attached to our tiny little screens it is good to take time to think. Thinking in the real world, not just using the latest App or dataset. Decide on a question or two you are looking to answer. Print out articles, webpages and press reports or write keywords, phrases and thoughts on a piece of card?

Cut important items out and spread them on a table. Use a highlighter as you see fit and put them into piles. The choice of how you sort the piles and their meaning is completely up to you. Now take each pile and lay them out in front of you. Sort them again, perhaps chronologically, geographically or any way that feels right.

What patterns are revealed? Are there any patterns? What’s the information telling you? Then, look at the other piles and do it all over again.

Intelligence is more than just collecting data.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Does your competitor possess those two killer things? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

5G what are the risks and opportunities from Octopus Intelligence

Opportunities and threats of 5G Report

By | Insight

“Potentially, this 5G technology will become more important than the range of missiles and fighter jet capability. Think about it. Control the 5G network, and you don’t need anything else”.

 

5G is going to change our lives according to Kevin Bacon.

There has been a lot of talk about 5G in the newspapers and television over the last couple of years.

We have written a report and enclose a complementary copy for you. – Download here or email us and ask for a copy on hello@octopusintelligence.com

This report sets out to explain the development of the 5G network. We aim to answer:

  • What’s happening?
  • What does it mean?
  • What’s the risk? – Geopolitical, security and health concerns
  • What can we do about it?

What does it mean?

Increased efficiencies in bandwidths, energy usage and potential utilisation to deliver a dramatically improved quality of three-level service grades. Excellent mobile broadband that delivers a high rate of mobile internet rates over larger areas.

Massive Machine type device to device communications and ultra-reliable and low latency communication. Instant information transmission for devices such as autonomous cars and robots. 5G will open up new possibilities with the internet of things and navigation. Also, fixed (gigabit per second bandwidth) wireless data urban connectivity. Edge computing services, enabling computing power closer to the sensor.

The elimination of latency. Video delivery services that will compete with today’s multi-channel distributors.

Opening up new uses that have not even been invented yet.

5G is a game changer, and it will be no longer acceptable for leaders not to understand technology.  5G and it’s associated technology will put unprepared businesses on a slippery slope to demise.  Modern technology has already transformed our lives, much more than most think it has.

With 5G there will be soon no doubt.

It’s all about finding the right Intelligence to create certainty so you get the most out of your investment. We hope you find this report a useful summary.

Download here or email us and ask for a copy on hello@octopusintelligence.com

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

What are your competitors ultimate goal?

By | Intelligence

Do you hear that?

That’s the sound of your world changing, of competitors, growing, customers needs evolving and disruption in your market. You can’t avoid or stop it. But you can stay ahead by innovating, modernising, delivering what’s needed, and knowing what could be happening next. Business is hard enough when your industry stands still. Unfortunately, it never does, and those pesky competitors are out to beat you. Sure, short term wins should not kill you, but if you are to outlast them, you need to know what they are up to.

Sit down and take some time to understand what they’re up to and want to achieve. To be successful, they need to have more about them than just make more money. What do the owners want to do, what’s their strategy, what will they need to do to achieve things? An excellent place to start is to understand what your rivals ultimate goal is. It usually consists of 3 things:

  • People
  • Places
  • Things

Collate all aspects of people, places and things.

People

What people will they need to achieve want they want? Are they around and how this compares to what they currently have? Are those skills in your organisation? Is that a threat? How are they going to resolve any skills gaps? What customers will they need? How are they going to get them?

Places

Which markets do they need to enter and which regions do they need to expand? Where will they be when they have achieved their endgame?

Stuff

What equipment will they need? What products will they need to develop? Is the tech available?
How are their R&D and product development teams performing? Will they need more people? What real estate do they need? Now turn the tables and look at yourself. This process may reveal new routes to market. If not, you will know more about yourself and your competitors.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Does your competitor possess those two killer things? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

A tiger needs two killer things before deciding to attack

Two things they need

By | Intelligence

For a competitor to decide on an action, they need two killer things. 2 things to enable them to move into a new market, acquire a company, attack your market, enter your country, take your customer etc. They need capability and intent. Simple and true. When assessing what your competitor will do next decide if they have the capability and intent.Both are needed to become a significant threat.

Many companies will have the capability, but the intent is not there; they will not take action, and if they do, they will do so half-heartedly. From micro to geopolitical level if the intention is backed up by capability, their chances of success are higher. You better be prepared for a fight.

Look at Iran and the USA. The USA has the capability but do they have the intent? The Iranians may have the intent, but do they have the capability?

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Does your competitor possess those two killer things? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

boy next to a wall What is Competitive Intelligence?

Press release: GTXM partners with Octopus

By | Press release

Press release: GTXM’s partnership with Global Competitive Intelligence Agency, Octopus, further strengthens a diverse eco-system of specialist capabilities.

This partnership offers an exciting opportunity for GTXM customers. Meeting the increasing need for real time market insights and providing the answers businesses need.

GTXM is quickly establishing itself as a leading business partner for tech companies. The combination of its unique approach to new business and unrivalled intelligence on new markets is empowering ambitious organisations to successfully discover and win new customers.

Graeme Dixon, CEO of Octopus said “The GTXM partnership provides a powerful extension to the Octopus offering. Their insight based programs and unique expertise will help our customers to act on the market intelligence we provide. And create compelling advantages within their growth markets”

Octopus is the UK based Global Competitive Intelligence Agency managing intelligence projects and discrete internal intelligence services. They work with companies of various sizes. So, from a UK middle market technology company to a far east multi-national television manufacturer and everything in between. Octopus answers questions. And then offers recommendations to help win more business and understand markets, as well as, protect against and disrupt competitors.

Terry Sallas, Director and Co-Founder of GTXM said: “Customers need new business activities to be intelligent and systematic.  But, also responsive to real time insights. This partnership is further evidence of our conviction to place the right market intelligence at the heart of every growth program we provide. We are excited about working with the Octopus team and what this means for customers”

So, for more information, please e-mail info@gtxm.co.uk or via Octopus get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

Drivers win

Is it more than just good questions?

By | Intelligence

Drivers tell us it more than just good questions.

You have some great questions, and you are researching and talking to people. Now you will find yourself swamped with information on paper, Evernote, email and your cloud.  Then the realisation hits you that intelligence is so much more than researching Google really well — lots of data and no idea where to start.

It may sound simple, but the next step is to sort all the information into a limited number of piles. Then put them in order. The titles of these piles (or drivers as they a termed), the order they are to be classified and how we determine when we have big enough piles needs to be thought out and agreed. These drivers allow you to develop future actions.

For example, if you are assessing a competitor’s strengths. You need a question like: How serious a threat is this competitor to our market? Your drivers could include financials, product pricing, people, customers, future strategy, marketing message etc. A future action from products pile, for instance, could be “if our competitor introduces that product to that market we will… Or if our competitor increases their price by x, we will…

And then you are a little closer to intelligence to help you make a decision.

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

Have an idea what they want to do? Now disrupt them

By | Intelligence

Take a good look at your competitors’ leadership team. What makes them tick?

Starting with the CEO isolate their five big ideas. Alternatively, strategies as they are often mistakenly called. Most leaders will have patterns they’ve followed in the past (maybe not every time). So have their big five ideas changed over time? Are the ideas communicated well within their business? Do other members of the senior team believe in them or do they have other thoughts? Can you exploit this potential discord?

Take a look at what relationships are important to them, which bandwagon are they jumping on and what type of customers are they getting to know. Read what they are writing, listen to what they are saying (and, of course, what they are not saying). Will these big ideas affect your future business growth? Also, you may see signals of a change in your competitors focus. Can you take advantage?

Going darker, now you have an idea what they want to do, can you disrupt their efforts? If you can’t find some big ideas or isolated too many of them does this also tell you a story too? Hopefully, you see Competitive Intelligence is not analytics; it’s not research, its so much more than that.

Inspired by an article by General David Petraeus.

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

A trigger happy glaring gap in thinking

By | Opinion

Technology solutions are great but you really need to think.

“Yes, you have information. You can find out all about a man, track him down, keep an eye on him. But you have to look him in the eye. All the tech you have can’t help you with that. A license to kill also means a license NOT to kill”.

– Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Mallory, Spectre

It is very common for companies to search for a hi-tech solution which will solve our intelligence and decision-making problems.

Technology in this sector is sold as smart, pretty and the easy option. It’s not.

Now, we believe technology is an essential part of the process (we are building something, so we are not hypocrites). But it’s just that; part of the intelligence process.

Jumping straight to technology shows a glaring gap in thinking.

Why? Well, a decision by competitors, regulators and every other living human originate as an idea from someone’s mind.

To understand the situation you face you need to look deeper. Technology will not tell you why a decision was made, what will happen next and what you are going to do about it. It will not get into the minds of your competitors. Intelligence does.

It can’t even make a decent cup of tea never mind deciding to pull the proverbial trigger or not.

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

London Property brick and trowel

What the heck is wrong with the property market?

By | Opinion

Brexit, the London Property Market & What Can Be Done

An unprecedented environmental change will inevitably lead to unprecedented events within the property sector.

Brexit’s effects on the property market so far have been just that, unprecedented.

As the possible deadline of March 29th draws closer and for that matter any extension therein, the compounding effects upon the London property market become more evident.

And the uncertainty in the market is growing undoubtedly more exposed.

UBS analysts have noted that in previous cycles of property downturn, a London downturn had preceded a decline in the broader UK market.

However, this time this appears not to be the case. The London market downturn is happening while regions of the UK continue to grow.

What are the possible reasons for this?

A Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) market survey uncovered three significant points regarding the London Property Market;

1. Compared to regionally, London respondents report the most significant fall in house prices (RICS September 2018)

2. Negative price trends across London with price softening being led by London (RICS January 2019)

3. Buyers are now more cautious, and new buyer enquires gauge fell to -21% in November 2018 (RICS November 2018)

These three key points demonstrate how the uncertainty generated by Brexit has spilt over into the property market in the capital. However, as previously mentioned this remains isolated to London.

The same report indicates that regions in the North and Midlands of the UK are on the rise. It poses the question of what is different in the UK market, or more importantly why?

What is driving sales and prices up in these other areas of the UK?

Considering the RICS report, we can extrapolate that the UK buyer mindset is currently tending more towards caution. Coupling this with the naturally high prices of the London property market could explain the drop in interest.

However, the same report states that the rental market is currently booming. A point reinforced through Gov.UK figures which show London private rental increasing 1.6% compared the rest of England.

Demonstrating there is still an opportunity to be had in the London market. However, the wrong market could be being targeted.

To compound the problem of wrong markets being targeted are the London mortgage lending patterns. Gov.UK state a major issue in new buyers in the capital is the loan to income ratio.

The Bank of England will only permit 15% of lenders new mortgages of a ratio which exceeds 4.5. With the average first-time buyer having a ratio of 4.04 (movers 4.01) and as this is on an upward trend the issue is certain to persist for private buyers.

Essentially this means if intending buyers can’t borrow. Also, they can’t buy, which opens up a pipeline for developers and estate agents alike.

Will synergy help?

Is synergy possible with mortgage brokers? Or could a second option explored of an extended London market rent to buy scheme?

However, this again suggests a shift of the targeted market for the purchasing of London property.

Multiple developers in the capital are seeing uptakes in business. For example, Derwent London has raised its dividend as it starts to make the most of the commercial property market.

Further external investors have started to quietly enter the market for London properties. In particular, German real estate giant Grand City Properties SA. They have recently undergone a property buying spree. One of which was a purchase of 117 apartments in 159-uni Hill House. Their current investment alone is present at 800 properties as of February 2019 (Independent 2019).

There are opportunities within the London market

There are demonstrable signs that there is development opportunity in London.  And further that there are still parties that are more than interested in London properties. However, a perspective change may have to take place.

Secondly, what you need to consider are developers activities when they conduct on the ground post-purchase.

UK developers should take note and monitor these signs. In particular, market leading FTSE 100 giants are currently tanking more than 20%. Persimmon has seen a rise in sales. However, this is predicated in the help to buy scheme. Fears surrounding the continuation of this has again recognised the giants share price fall.

This proposes interesting questions. What is it that these developers plan on doing, or are doing? And which is being missed by the significant host of national developers?

One theory is the commercial property. However, a more realistic thought is that they may be turning properties of a different ilk to residential properties.  To meet the differentiation of supply and demand in the capital.

So what effect will this have on the post-Brexit landscape in London?

Uncertainty could also mean opportunity

Naturally this uncertainty and seeming negative environmental pressures are causing problems for business operating in the market. However, within uncertainty opportunities are very much available. Provided it is backedup with the correct industry knowledge.

All firms associated with the market, be they estate agents, mortgage brokers, developers etc. need to recognise that although the market appears is on a downward trend. The correct application of industry and competitor knowledge could catapult them into market dominance.

This is because with industry knowledge business can start to identify consumer pain points associated with the property market.  Then allow them to start to plan actionable plans to address these and re-stimulate growth.

To gain this insight, however, will take expertise.

Be Powered by Intelligence

Utilising Intelligence services can leverage key industry consumer and macro environmental insights to construct an exceptional value proposition for customers.  And thus, a sustained competitive advantage in a market which is currently stagnating and falling.

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