If you want to make better, faster, and more informed decisions you should read this article and spend some time educating yourself on the business of competitive intelligence.
The truth is simple: there isn’t a magic totem that grants you perfect and complete view of meaningful topics. It takes mental effort to prepare for the types of information you really need and preparation to act on the right insights.
As a specialist in the field I have been doing data driven intelligence work for most of my life. I have consulted on everything from large scale employee communities and corporate product launches, to data driven startups investigating criminal forensic cases.
I discover and use massive amounts of information produced by organizations spending millions of dollars to understand shifting markets, avoid costly pitfalls, and educate my partner teams on doing things better, faster, and more informed.
What cost industry leaders millions of dollars and months or years of effort can sometimes be a few keystrokes away. You should consider that by the end of the day there are going to be thousands of people becoming smarter about finding intelligence simply by reading the collection of articles below.
Types of Intelligence Gathering
When considering if you are going to Google something or research government records database you should consider first having a basic understanding of types of intelligence you are seeking.
In many cases different firms and tools will promote themselves as being complete sources of information – however they are almost always only built on one or two basic pillars of intelligence and fail to even mention missing segments of data.
The core breakdown looks like this:
All Source Intelligence (ASI)
Business Intelligence (BI)
Competitive Intelligence (CI)
Electronic Signals Intelligence (ELINT)
Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT)
Human Intelligence (HUMINT)
Image Intelligence (IMINT)
Market Intelligence (MINT)
Measure/Signature Intelligence (MASINT)
Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
Signals Intelligence (SIGINT)
Social Media Intelligence (SOCINT)
Strategic Intelligence (STRATINT)
Technical Intelligence (TECHINT)
Popularity of Signal Intelligence Types
By looking at the volume of search queries on Google in the chart below we can compare the popularity of these various intelligence types.
Business Intelligence drives the majority of interest with over 150k global searches each month followed by Market Intelligence at only 9.5k. The remain specific types of intelligence are mostly unheard of (or are they?)
Audiences familiar with search trends know they can identify an important benchmark with any topic. To understand what people are actively reading we can look at Signal intelligence articles on Wikipedia and compare available visitor benchmarks by day, ranging from 772 per day for Business Intelligence to only 18 per day for Social Media Intelligence.
Wikipedia has A LOT of information on the topic.
Below are the Top 12 intelligence entries on Wikipedia based on page views.
They link to 312 other entries detailing every variety of intelligence gathering ranging from corporate intelligence centers working on market research to espionage groups trying to affect global politics.
Hopefully this helps shine a light into the world I live in every day. Grab a pot of coffee and try to enjoy some of the interlinking war stories and conspiracy theories.