Tuesday, June 17, 2014

3 ways CI can add value and drive action in any organization

Rom Gayoso, PhD.
Grand Canyon University, Wilkes University

KaSandra Husar
Strategic Intelligence
Intel Corporation

In the corporate world everything exists for a reason and every single person employed executes a set of predetermined instructions in a choreographed manner, almost like a spectacle. The spectacle will be considered “good” if it, taken as a whole, will enable the organization to deliver on its corporate objectives.  Those “instructions” are coded messages issued by an overarching entity called Strategic Planning, and planning does not happen in a vacuum. Rather, in order for it to be successful, it is further segmented into key functional areas, among them Strategy, Marketing, and Finance.

Intelligence is the instrument of choice to influence Strategy, Marketing, and Finance because it provides an analytical framework and it produces a meaningful result. That is, CI delivers value-add to all three functions. CI is also the preferred instrument to enable a form of stakeholder management created to drive action that impacts the bottom line. One way to think about that is to name some of the key deliverables from each functional area and consider how CI plays a critical role in each one of them (See Figure 1). For example, Strategic Planning cannot operate without alternative demand scenarios, Marketing needs to deliver a thorough picture of competition and Finance needs to identify and mitigate emerging risks to the corporate financial goals. In all three examples, and in many more, the common denominator across the board is a very engaged CI team. In essence, the CI function not only permeates the organization and helps key areas of the firm deliver on their goals, but CI also adds core value to all of those areas. How exactly can we do that? 

Figure 1: Intelligence Functions. Source: Husar & Gayoso, SCIP 29

The answer is simple and comes through a method called KIMS, which stands for Knowledge Intelligence Management System. KIMS is a framework for enterprise-level intelligence capability and a systematic process of collecting and analyzing data to develop insights for an action plan. For example, say a Finance objective to identify, quantify, and mitigate any risks to revenue greatly benefits from a systematic approach. Consider the current Ukrainian crisis; since Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of Tungsten, then any further sanctions against that country would disrupt the Tungsten supply chain. So what? Well the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” is 15% Tungsten! The Russians have a supply agreement with Boeing and this metal is of strategic importance. Identifying such vulnerabilities in the supply chain is the work of intelligence professionals, and we would find ourselves at odds with those who advocate for greater consolidation of the supply base to achieve economies of scale; we would argue sole-sourcing of strategic materials is too big a risk for the corporation. 

The best way to visualize KIMS is to imagine a house, what we call the “House of KIMS” (See Figure 2).  This is what we presented during SCIP 29 in Orlando. The goal is to ensure delivery of essential elements of information to key stakeholders, and if CI can do just that, then our actions yield optimal decisions.  In the process not only are we advocating for change in the corporation, or at least challenging the status quo, but also meeting leadership expectations. CI earns its keep through the value we add. In order to deliver value, we have three main pillars: people, information, and tools.

Figure 2: The House of KIMS. Source: Husar/Gayoso, SCIP 29

CI enables people to do a good job because we deliver strategic acumen across the organization, we create virtual networks of collaboration and we help people connect the dots between the stimuli in the environment and the functional area or department in the strategic business unit. CI uniquely adds value the way we process information, synthesize trends and deepen understanding of the competitive position in the marketplace. Finally, CI provides the tools necessary to enable people and information to come together in the form of a one-stop shop for infrastructure, data repository, and site management. At the base or the foundation of the House of KIMS is CI’s raison d’etre. That is, we exist as the glue that binds several critical functions together through the Strategy and Intelligence network.

Luckily we are not alone in this fight, as the many great exhibitors at SCIP29 showed. For example, we discovered Aurora’s First Light platform, which is a great tool to enable smooth integration of people, information, and tools by aggregating information from thousands of sources so it can be collected, vetted, and disseminated quickly and effectively. Now, more than ever we need to invest the necessary resources into that which makes CI more productive and technology is our greatest ally, for it acts as a force multiplier for any CI team.  For example, we could sync First Light with EDGAR and pull financial information and macro-economic data from aggregators for strategy discussions and generate product comparison cards at the push of a button. In other words, technology in the form of these next gen intelligence tools will enable the Strategy and Intelligence Network – the base of KIMS – to become even more effective.

In this article, we described how CI is not only the glue that joins key function areas of the firm together, but rather we are an essential component of the value-add for Strategy, Marketing, and Finance.

About the Authors

Rom Gayoso is a professional economist with 12+ years of experience in the Semiconductor industry and he teaches graduate Economics, Statistics and Management courses at local universities in Phoenix, AZ. His expertise is in Econometric Modeling, Competitive Intelligence and Scenario Planning; he is responsible for developing several forecasting models for a Fortune 500 firm. His materials have been presented both in the United States and abroad, at SCIP, World Future Society, Institute of Business Forecasting, Intelligence for Business Strategy, Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, Market Research Summit, and Future Trends Conferences.   

KaSandra Husar is a global strategic program manager specializing in organizational intelligence capability design and analysis. She holds a dual MBA from the University of Vienna and the University of South Carolina in Supply Chain Management and International Studies. She has been at Intel for over 13 years as a key driver of the design and development of TMG supply Market Intelligence solutions and currently leads intelligence design for Intel’s HR division. Kass is active in the external industry and her materials have been published and featured at SCIP 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2014, the Predictive Intelligence Summit, the Electronics Supply Chain Association, the Center for Advanced Purchasing Studies, and the Corporate Executive Board.

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