Introduction (Toni Wilson)
This blog post, from an expert member of the CI Division, speaks to the importance of communicating the results of CI research effectively. While we’ve been focusing to a large extent on the CI collection process this week, as it helps information professionals and their organizations become and remain ready for the future, communicating the findings from our CI collection efforts appropriately – so it’s absorbed and becomes part of the decision-making process – is absolutely critical.
Competitive intelligence (CI), at its most basic level can be defined as being future ready – or armed with the right information to the make the right decisions. In this post-post modern, Web 3.0, social media, everything and intensely technology mediated world, information is ubiquitous. Being “Future Ready” to me means being able to take information and elevate it by taking that information in whatever forms it comes and turning it into actionable intelligence. Librarians or any information professional’s ability to turn reams of paper (or electronic documents) into a three-second sound byte or a neatly parsed phrase that holds meaning and contains value is the essence of being future ready. In some respects, being future ready for special librarians engaged in CI is a matter of perspective and semantics. For example, what the competitive intelligence world calls Early Warning Systems, librarians might call Current Awareness. To be future ready, it’s time to stop thinking about research questions and to start thinking about business problems and how information-turned-into-CI, with the help of analysis, can help organizations solve their business problems with an eye to the future.
Zena Applebaum is a competitive intelligence professional at Bennett Jones LLP, a Canadian law firm. She writes articles for industry publications and blogs regularly regarding topics important to the successful practice of CI. Zena is currently the CI Division’s Vendor Relations Chair.