Reporting, actions and what next
Reporting and conclusions
- Would a non expert understand the conclusion?
- Can I summarise it in one sentence, with no more than 3 lines and dependent clause?
- Did I highlight somewhere what I do not know and how I intend to address gaps?Does the analysis have a clearly defined time frame attached, a date at which I think we should reconsider?
- What has happened? / answer?
- What does it mean?
- What happens next? / can you do about it?
- So what?
- Grammar check
- Pictures selected
- Infograph key findings
- Have you answered the questions?
So what are you going to do?
Once you understand how competitive intelligence landscape looks, you must then decide as to what to do. It will be crucial to your company’s success moving forward; you need to map out how you plan to act on what you have found out.
Your final intelligence should offer you the options open to you, but it is wise to ensure that it’s you who makes the decision.
Of course, the decision could be to do nothing and take no action. Even then, you may want to monitor what’s going on.
More about decision making
Deciding how you can respond to intelligence is a serious business challenge.
You may probably be faced with conflicting information, from sources of you are not sure of and reliability in question.
But you have to make a decision, even if you do not have all the facts.
So, take the decision of the West to go to war with Iraq in 2003. One primary source was in a senior position in Iraq who had an agenda. He was convincing people to believe him who, in turn, wanted him to be right. Trouble is Saddam was not going to disagree either. Why? He tried to keep his neighbours guessing that he may have dangerous toys.
So this shows us that not all of the sources will be reliable, but most of it has to be taken seriously.
You may want the intelligence you have to be true. It could make you a lot of money.
Your competitor is maybe trying to look more successful than they actually to the market.
If it is a group decision, expect a group think answer—the most influential person in the room to get their way. Now you may disagree, but they will.
Take all these influences into account before deciding what you are going to do.
Most intelligence analysis is usually based on information with a significant degree of uncertainty.
It is better to say that you don’t know a piece of information you need than plough on assuming a sense of certainty
Then suddenly the uncertainty is forgotten about and a decision made and action taken. You may not do this, but it is standard human behaviour, so you may do it without noticing.
Be open with the levels of certainty. Give each aspect of your intelligence a grade between 1-5, colour them from a red (“1 not certain”) to blue (“5 certain”) triangle on the report.
But what is for sure. So, if you wait for all the right answers to come along, you will have missed the boat.
And, get in touch with Octopus via our contact us page.
And please feel free to sign up to our daily one-liner Intelligence tip. Or sign up for our monthly article.
And some further reading from here: