competitive Intelligence


Hanno acceso la telecamera. Infilato una Mentos in una bottiglia di Coca-Cola light, e invaso YouTube con decine di video di fontane zampillanti. Hanno raccolto l’invito di Chevrolet a ideare uno spot per il suo SUV Tahoe, e l’hanno messa in crisi con una violenta polemica ambientalista. Hanno usato i forum dell’ ITunes store per criticare i servizi offerti da Apple e lo stesso ITunes.
Sono gli user che, agguerriti e spietati, nel corso del 2006 hanno, poco a poco, rubato la scena ai marketers, trasformandosi, di fatto, in veri e propri brand manager in grado di decidere le sorti di un brand, determinarne la percezione, con un semplice gesto: la produzione di un contenuto.

È quello che Repubblica.it ha una volta definito il “web venuto dal basso”: l’UGC (user generated content), divenuto oggi, più che una mera condotta mediatica, o la naturale evoluzione del mezzo web, una vera e propria filosofia che orienta l’agire degli internauti verso la partecipazione attiva alla creazione dei contenuti che circolano in rete.
La nuova abitudine non si è limitata a incidere sulla fisionomia del web, ma ha radicalmente modificato anche le interazioni tra i brand e i propri consumatori. Armati del nuovo potere UGC, questi ultimi non si limitano a ribattere alle affermazioni dei marketer , ma, con vari mezzi e varia intensità, ne rilasciano di proprie. E che queste affermazioni siano di apprezzamento o di critica resta invariata la sovversione delle regole in fatto di partecipazione al brand da parte dei consumatori.
L’esperimento Mentos/Diet Coke rappresenta solo uno dei tanti esempi a dimostrazione di come il consumatore internauta di oggi sia in grado di creare contenuti che possono decidere le sorti di un brand e costringerlo a cambiare radicalmente politica.
All’inizio di giugno 2006, gli americani Fritz Grobe, giocoliere professionista, e Stephen Voltz, avvocato, hanno postato su YouTube un video piuttosto particolare. In
Eepybird.com, questo il titolo del filmato, i due mettono una Mentos in una bottiglia di Diet Coke, producendo una sorta di effetto geyser. Immediata e massiccia la reazione della community di YouTube. Nel giro di pochi mesi, il più famoso canale di video-sharing è stato letteralmente sommerso di video analoghi: tutti gli scienziati pazzi amatoriali del pianeta hanno voluto condividere i risultati dei propri esperimenti Mentos/Diet Coke.
Enorme ed inaspettata la visibilità per le due aziende coinvolte nell’esperimento, ma anche l’urgenza di dover dare risposta ad un inevitabile dilemma: unirsi alle danze o restare seduti ad ascoltare la musica?
Mentos ha scelto la prima soluzione. La casa madre Perfetti Van Melle ha indetto un video contest ufficiale per scegliere il migliore geyser Mentos. La Coca Cola, invece, è parsa più intimorita e perplessa, aspettandosi forse che la gente bevesse la sua bibita, non che ci facesse degli esperimenti.
Di fronte al rischio di un possibile colpo di stato, i marketers dovrebbero assumere un diverso atteggiamento: abbandonare la visione che, del brand, potrebbe avere il suo produttore e accettare l’idea che i consumatori possiedono, ed esercitano, una forte influenza sui messaggi del marchio.
Prendere coscienza di questa evidenza non significa, però, lavarsene le mani. Significa piuttosto impegnarsi in modo diverso, cioè mettendo i consumatori in condizione di portare il brand all’interno delle loro community, perché ne parlino e veicolino messaggi positivi.
La considerazione che le persone si siano riappropriate della consapevolezza di svolgere un ruolo attivo e determinante nei processi di comunicazione è il principio ispiratore della nuova campagna Tiscali, “Mettici la Faccia!”, pensata e realizzata dai Ninja LAB di NinjaMarketing: un advergame virale e un’innovativa campagna banner interamente user generated.
All’insegna della co-generazione, “Mettici la Faccia!” si struttura come un contest a premi che coinvolge gli utenti in prima persona, invitandoli a dare prova della propria creatività. Attraverso una serie di semplici step, infatti, i partecipanti possono realizzare una simpatica vignetta, inserendo una propria foto su uno dei divertenti personaggi proposti, raccolti in categorie che spaziano dallo sport al cinema, dalla storia alla geografia. In tempo reale, le 10 vignette più votate dagli utenti sono caricate a rotazione sui banner della campagna, quegli stessi banner che figureranno sui siti italiani tra cui Gazzetta dello Sport, Corriere della Sera, Repubblica, MSN, Yahoo!, Dada, Bastardidentro e, ovviamente, Tiscali. Gli utenti diventano, in questo modo, i testimonial della campagna, il volto del brand sul web.
La dinamica di votazione, inoltre, che spinge gli utenti a segnalare la propria vignetta agli amici, alimenta la conversazione sul marchio.
Tiscali sembra così riuscire nell’intento, mettendo i consumatori in condizioni di portare il brand all’interno delle proprie community.

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Dr Alessandro Comai and  Dr. Prescott have been working in a multi-stage research project which purpose is developing a model for building a World-class CI function http://www.world-class-ci.com
 
They are now trying to build norms around the model we have developed. Therefore, they would like to invite you to benchmark your function against the model so that we can collect as many data as possible to build norms.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Dr Alessandro Comai at alessandro.comai@world-class-ci.com  and he will send you the like of our online survey.
 
This exercise will take about 20 minutes and it will give you the access to the model. You will be able to compare your Competitive Intelligence Function against world-class standard! Moreover, we will send you the norms by end of October and offer you a free access to our next multimedia tool (we hope to have it ready by the end of November).
 

Alessandro Comai
BSc. in Engineering, MBA, DEA (Esdae), PhD Candidate (Esade)

e-mail: alessandro.comai@world-class-ci.com
web: http://www.world-class-ci.com 
 

courtesy of : http://primaryintelligence.blogspot.com/2007/10/military-intelligence-template-for.html

More than 95% of U.S. based businesses indicate that they have dedicated some amount of resources to the gathering of intelligence. This may include market, sales or competitive intelligence, but the goal is usually the same: be better at business than the next guy.

But, few companies would rate themselves as being very effective with the intelligence. And, the funny thing is the discrepancy of the perception between those that gather the intelligence and those that would use it. Executives usually rate themselves as “somewhat effective” or “very effective” as using intelligence while the intelligence professionals generally rate the executives as “not very effective.” Hmmmm. Why so many axes to grind?

Every organization should examine and reexamine its practices to create a continual improvement process. During this process, I would recommend that each organization take a little time to review other organizations that make intelligence a priority.

Now, it would be difficult to peek into other businesses and discover their secrets. You wouldn’t open your doors to this kind of review. Why would anyone else?

But, you can look at an institution that, overall, leads the world in the gathering, analysis and use of intelligence – The military. In fact, you can make the case that the military has the longest running and most successful intelligence system in history. (We won’t talk about policy makers and their use or misuse of intelligence. That’s another story for another day…

Where else are the stakes higher than on the battlefield? In a situation where lives and equipment are constantly at risk, we can learn some very critical things about how the military values its “competitive intelligence”, from gathering through strategic use.

“Most militaries maintain a military intelligence corps with specialized intelligence units for collecting information in specific ways. Militaries also typically have intelligence staff personnel at each echelon down to battalion level. Intelligence officers and enlisted soldiers assigned to military intelligence may be selected for their analytical abilities or scores on intelligence tests. They usually receive formal training in these disciplines.

“Critical vulnerabilities are…indexed in a way that makes them easily available to advisors and line intelligence personnel who package this information for policy-makers and war-fighters. Vulnerabilities are usually indexed by the nation and military unit, with a list of possible attack methods.”

“Critical threats are usually maintained in a prioritized file, with important enemy capabilities analyzed on a schedule set by an estimate of the enemy’s preparation time. For example, nuclear threats between the USSR and the US were analyzed in real time by continuously on-duty staffs. In contrast, analysis of tank or army deployments are usually triggered by accumulations of fuel and munitions, which are monitored on slower, every-few-days cycles. In some cases, automated analysis is performed in real time on automated data traffic.”

“Packaging threats and vulnerabilities for decision makers is a crucial part of military intelligence. A good intelligence officer will stay very close to the policy-maker or war fighter, to anticipate their information requirements, and tailor the information needed. A good intelligence officer will ask a fairly large number of questions in order to help anticipate needs, perhaps even to the point of annoying the principal. For an important policy-maker, the intelligence officer will have a staff to which research projects can be assigned.”

Developing a plan of attack is not the responsibility of intelligence, though it helps an analyst to know the capabilities of common types of military units. Generally, policy-makers are presented with a list of threats, and opportunities. They approve some basic action, and then professional military personnel plan the detailed act and carry it out. Once hostilities begin, target selection often moves into the upper end of the military chain of command. Once ready stocks of weapons and fuel are depleted, logistic concerns are often exported to civilian policy-makers.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_intelligence)

The points that catch my attention are:

  1. Intelligence professionals are present at each level of the military
  2. They receive formal training in intelligence practices
  3. Good intelligence officers stay very close to the policy-maker or war-fighter
  4. Good intelligence officers ask lots of questions to make sure that the intelligence program is on the right track and can anticipate the leaders’ needs
  5. Good intelligence officers package the intelligence in ways that the users can easily consume while still getting the intended “nutritional value”
  6. While competitive intelligence personnel are not responsible for policy, direction or decisions, they should try to understand how these decisions are made. This will provide a deeper context to make future intelligence efforts more valuable.

In the next post, we’ll look at the usual structure of intelligence in today’s business.

And, if you have any thoughts, leave me a comment. I dare you.

Following the success of the first edition of this book published two years ago, this New Edition, now in paperback format, has been updated and includes new data on the main market players (28 companies are described) to reflect the latest changes and developments within the text mining sector.Text Mining is an interdisciplinary field bringing together techniques from data mining, linguistics, information retrieval, and visualization to address the issue of quickly extracting information from large databases with different applicative objectives. This book is directed towards graduate students in business, and undergraduate students in computer science, and to practitioners in law enforcement, security, intelligence, marketing and IT departments; it assumes readers have little or no previous knowledge about mathematics or linguistics. It has been structured as a self-teaching guide and has been written as a result of the authors’ experiences in participating in several large-scale text mining projects. It can be used as a guide for system integrators, and designers of text mining systems, but especially for business analysts and consultants who wish to apply the powerful tools of this technology to real situations.CONTENTS:THEORETICAL OVERVIEW: Text Processing and Information Retrieval; Information Extraction; Text Clustering; Text Categorization; Summarization and Visualization; Application Integration; ROI in Text Mining Projects.APPLICATIONS: Open Sources Analysis for Corporate and Government Intelligence; A Critical Appraisal of Text Mining in an Intelligence Environment; How to Forecast Telecommunications Competitive Landscape; Competitive Intelligence for SMEs: An Application to the Italian Building Sector; Virtual Communities: Human Capital and other Personal Characteristics Extraction; Customer Feedbacks and Opinion Surveys Analysis in the Automotive industry; Email Management System; TV Channel Provider: Mining the User Feedback; Text Mining in Banking; Text Mining in Life Sciences; Information Search and Classification to Foster Innovation in SMEs; Media Industry: How to Improve Documentalists Efficiency; Link Analysisin Crime Pattern Detection; SOFTWARE AND SERVICES: Text Mining Resources. ABOUT THE EDITOR:Alessandro Zanasi is a security research advisor and professor at Bologna University, Italy. Before he served asCarabinieri officer in Rome Scientific Investigations Center; IBM executive in Italy, Paris and San Jose (USA); METAGroup analyst; cofounder of Temis SA.As an intelligence specialist, he has been advising governments and corporations in security, intelligence and detectiontechnologies for more than twenty years. Among the others: European Commission through his membership, since 2005,to ESRAB-European Security Research Advisory Board and, since 2007, to ESRIF-European Security Research andInnovation Forum. AMONG THE 28 AUTHORS:Milic (Microsoft, UK), Pazienza (Univ.Roma,IT), Tiberio (Univ.Modena,IT), Sebastiani (Univ.Padova,IT),Mladenic, Grobelnik (Stefan Institute, SL), Sullivan (Ballston, USA), Politi (Analyst, IT), de’ Rossi (Telecom Italia,IT), Grivel (CNRS, F), Wives, Loh (Univ.Rio Grande, BR), Lebeth (Dresdner Bank, D), Fluck, Gieger (FraunhoferInstitute, D), Peters (Gruner+Jahr, D), Ananyan (Megaputer, USA).Abstract Previex and other info: 1313textminingv207.pdf

By Mary O. Foley Most businesses have made sure to protect computer systems and networks from hackers. But the majority of data leaks or breaches of sensitive company information or intellectual property are often inside jobs.You’ve installed protective software, adjusted your hardware, and developed a range of new office policies, all in the name of protecting your computer networks and systems from hackers, phishers, and scammers. Externally, your system seems protected.But what are you doing to prevent an inside job? Do outgoing or disgruntled employees, or on-site contractors, have too much access to your company’s top-secret data?The answer could well be yes. According to a March 2006 Enterprise Strategy Group survey of 227 IT professionals, “employees and on-site contractors were cited as the most likely threat to confidential data security.” They even outranked concerns over off-shore outsourcers and random hackers. A separate 2005 study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers found that 33 percent of all security breaches involved current employees, and another 28 percent involved former employees or former partners.And the stakes are high: According to those surveyed, up to 50 percent of the data used in their offices could be considered confidential.The survey warned that while many companies use gateway filtering technologies to protect their network perimeter, they are much less likely to have adopted access controls and other policies to protect their systems from within.What can your company do to protect itself inside and out? For answers, IncTechnology.com looked up Kevin Mitnick, the former hacker-turned-IT security consultant. Mitnick, who served jail time in the 1990s for illegally gaining access to computer networks, now runs his own small business, Mitnick Security LLC, in Las Vegas, Nev., and helps firms address IT security problems.Have a planThe first step is to create a company-wide policy. Ideally, this policy should include “physical, technical, and human factor elements,” says Mitnick. For example, terminated employees should immediately lose access to not only the physical office, but to the computer network as well.Develop access controlsIn smaller businesses in particular, almost anyone in the company can access any data they choose. Eliminate this risk by setting up internal firewalls, Mitnick says, “so that sales people can’t access the payroll.” Through the operating system, set restrictive missions on files and directories or certain information, and allow only select employees access to it.Keep your OS up to dateMitnick notes that a lot of companies, especially smaller ones on a budget, don’t update their computer operating systems often enough. “I’ve seen businesses still using Windows 2000,” he says. The newer systems, especially Vista, have better access-control options.New password policiesDon’t let employees share passwords, Mitnick warns. “And don’t post passwords on Post-it notes in your office,” he adds. In fact, for very small offices with less than 20 employees, Mitnick recommends that all employees change their passwords every time a person leaves the company.  Larger companies might consider changing out passwords periodically, or developing additional passwords for sensitive information. Whether passwords get changed or not, however, terminated employees should lose their access to the network immediately.Monitor employee computer useIf an employee has put in notice to leave the company — on pleasant terms or not — your IT staff should start watching their computer habits. “Most employees take work product,” says Mitnick. IT staff should watch for e-mails the employee might be sending him or herself, e-mails that the employee’s friends within the company might be sending to them, or downloads to CDs, DVDs, or iPods. In addition, companies should block employee access to free storage sites, such as Yahoo’s Briefcase, notes securityinfowatch.com.Seek out helpIf your business, or simply your IT department, is too small to handle this type of project, consider hiring a consultant or VAR to help put a system in place, says Mitnick. With luck, taking these steps will help you to protect your computer networks inside and out.