Learning to take candy from babies
Learning how to identify and protect critical information – OPSEC – is difficult because it is not taught in business schools, it is not in the skill set of your consulting company, it is not in the experience base of the retired FBI, Secret Service, and Chiefs of Police that you hire as your heads of security, and because the number of companies like LUBRINCO that deal with OPSEC can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Although material losses from economic espionage or competitive intelligence must be reported and discussed under Sarbanes Oxley, exposing the governance committee to real liability, awareness is so low that even the American Management Association said, in an e-mail to us, that that OPSEC was not a subject of interest to its client base. The end result is that, to the best of our knowledge, there is no American corporation with a senior manager funded and charged with the identification and protection of critical information. This is great news for those in the business of gathering competitive intelligence (CI), in which there is great corporate interest!
The common belief in the CI trade is that over 90 percent of all information needed to gain a competitive advantage over your competitors can be freely obtained, with no excursions into the world of espionage. Ninety percent ain’t bad in anybody’s book, but you have to know how to do it. And once you know how, it is like taking candy from babies.
Learning about CI is easy. As an example, we recently got a flyer regarding a seminar on Competitive Intelligence for Financial Services: Using Market Intelligence to Create Actionable Insight & Strategic Advantage. The seminar is jointly sponsored by the Institute for International Research and the Society for Competitive Intelligence Professionals. Both of these are excellent groups, and the editors of ÆGIS have spoken at seminars of each.
We know many of the speakers, and they are very good. The topics include:
• Analyzing and Understanding Financial Data
• Competitive and Counterintelligence in an Age of Risk
• Converting Information Into Actionable Intelligence
• Creating the CI Program that Meets Your Organization’s Current and Future Business Needs
• Early Warning Systems in Financial Services
• Eliciting the Information you Want and Need
• Enabling the Front Line in Creating Customer Value via Reciprocal
• How to Get the Most Out of Trade Show Intelligence
• How to Prove the Value of CI Through its Impact on the Bottom Line
• Pricing and Competitive Intelligence: When it Helps and When it Doesn’t
• Profiling Financial Services Personalities for Competitive Advantage
• Smarter Research: Using 3M’s Lessons in Internal CI to Create Better Profiles & Strategies within Your Financial Services Firm
• Technology focused Competitive Analysis – Why Specialize?
• The Changing Competitive Intelligence Needs of the Financial Service Industry
If you are interested in knowing what your competitors are doing, this conference will be held inNew York City, from September 8th through the 10th. Information on the conference can be found at http://www.iirusa.com/cifs. You should consider sending your staff to it: Getting your competitors’ information will be like taking candy from a baby.
Of course, your competitors will also be going, and getting the information they need about you will also be like taking candy from a baby.
If you don’t want your competitors and adversaries to have your information, call us to talk about implementing an OPSEC program.