Powerful Intelligence: Good Tools Help, Great Analysts Required
The mistakes we make hurt at the time, but they can also be our best teachers. Let me tell you about one of mine.
Early in my career I was part of a team that was charged with identifying a source of automated intelligence for a senior leadership group. After evaluating many candidates and conducting rigorous due diligence on the most promising, we made our selection. The tool we selected was very highly rated, producing good data with rapid response times, and so we deployed it directly to the leadership team.
And it was a complete failure.
In our quest to identify a tool with the best data and specs, we overlooked the first principle: intelligence must be precisely aligned with an organization’s strategic priorities. The tool we bought had great data, but it was missing the essential step of translating that information into answers to our organization’s key strategic questions, so much of the reporting missed the mark, and even the bits and pieces that were highly relevant were often buried.
I’ve built, managed, diagnosed and helped to fix intelligence capabilities for corporations and government agencies, working with large budgets and small ones, with access to varying levels of specialized technology. I’ve seen some truly amazing applications, as well as the mediocre and a number that simply failed to deliver.
The one consistent factor in building and maintaining an effective intelligence capability is the connection to an analyst – or team of analysts – who can use the output from whatever tools are available and connect the dots that are strategically relevant for his or her organization.
At ShiftCentral, we employ a range of applications and technology-assisted methods to collect, filter and sort market intelligence data, and we provide our clients access to our own powerful market intelligence platform. We are constantly evaluating the tools we use and upgrading our own platform, but our strongest asset is our team of trained and dedicated analysts who deliver timely and tailored answers to our client’s most pressing strategic questions on a daily basis.