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Join with your peers.

For most of us, experience comes with, well, experience. In the best of all possible words we learn not only from our own experience, but also from those who have more experience than do we. In the world of CI there is a lot of good experience around. We can find it in our colleagues, in books, in courses, and in seminars offered by professional organizations.

A significant resource in the field of CI is the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), http://www.scip.org/. SCIP has local chapters all over North America, and increasingly throughout Europe, which provide meetings to discuss local issues and bring seasoned and beginning CI professionals together, educational programs, several informative publications including a bi-monthly magazine and quarterly journal, and two excellent (i.e., this editor has been invited to speak) major conferences each year. The next SCIP conference (15th annual) is being held 29 March through 1 April 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The 5th annual European conference will take place 25 October through 27 October 2000 in London. SCIP is the forum for networking among the world’s leading CI professionals, and contacts made at SCIP events are worth their weight in gold.

For those of you especially interested in Central and Eastern Europe, we’d recommend you explore the Central & East European Business Intelligence & Knowledge Management Community (Central & East European BI & KM Community). This site features the BI & KM Journal, an electronically-published professional journal covering a wide range of topics in the world of BI and KM through original, local-sourced papers and papers garnered from the likes of SCIP, the ÆGIS e-Journal, and other international sources, in the Czech, English, Hungarian, Polish, and Slovak languages. The site also features objective news reporting, sources listings, events listings, book listings, literature & product reviews, glossary, and interactive discussion forums — all, for the most part, available to the public at no cost. They are also in the process of calling for papers for their next set of conferences, workshops, and exhibitions to be held virtually on the Web and physically in Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw (and yes, we have been invited to speak for them, too). We recommend that you look at this site. If you are in Central or Eastern Europe, we suggest you look at their conference schedule and attend some of their informative and affordable events.

Upcoming events will focus on audio recording of conversations for CI professionals and investigative journalists, the effect of the European data protection act on the BI and niche electronic media professions, CI and counter-CI for SMEs, and business knowledge and intelligence sources — revolutionary developments in the age of the Internet. Regardless of whether you can or cannot physically attend one of these upcoming events, you should participate since many of the events are also produced on the Web with interaction discussion lists, chat sessions and streaming audio and video. They are seeking experts, from practitioners to consultants to technology solutions providers, to present at their upcoming events for Central and East European audiences, according to the Central & East European BI & KM Community.

In addition, all of you should consider the amount of experience you have to share and submit articles to the ÆGIS e-Journal, to SCIP, and to the Central & East European BI & KM Community.

For those of you interested in beating off the CI attacks of your competitors, as well as lessening the chance of economic espionage attacks, you need to be involved in OPSEC (OPerations SECurity), which is the protection of sensitive but unclassified information. This is a mature process being continually refined by IOSS, the Interagency OPSEC Support Staff 

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