Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Business intelligence one person at a time and by the patterns they collectively display

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on October 13, 2009

This posting is my “new and improved, more reader-friendly sized – shorter” continuation piece for the business intelligence series. This posting is about learning about other businesses and organizations. I want to start by briefly putting this into a context, and that context is the supply chain and business ecology system you and your business work in. Business intelligence does not make a lot of sense if simply gathered as accumulated data and without a focused context to organize it into. I suggest starting with the basic framework of the relationship between you and your business, and the businesses you want to learn more about. Are you researching suppliers and/or potential suppliers, competitors, potential channel partners, clients and/or potential clients … or businesses that may fit into more than one category, and if not right now in the near future? This addresses the basic questions you are probably going to want to help answer with the business intelligence you develop. Good business intelligence is always purpose driven and context-relevant. So ask yourself this type of question to help focus in on where to look and what types of data you will need.

Company web sites, business research sites and other more standard tools are obviously an early starting point for your business intelligence gathering and a variety of software providers offer business intelligence software to help develop and organize what you find. The focus here though is in putting together a snapshot picture of an organization, one person at a time and through the patterns that can be discerned from that fine-grain level. This means building a picture of the organization, where it is and where it looks to be headed from analysis of online social networking profiles of employees and management, and of blogs and other single-person source online documentation.

It is to be stressed here that resources like personal online social networking profiles and personal blogs (maintained off the company servers) are almost never vetted or filtered through corporate so they can provide a more candid view than might be found in more official sources such as the company web site.

I will finish this posting by citing my social networking and job search posting of yesterday where I delved a bit into how you can research a company as a possible employer, one online profile or blog at a time and from the collective story that these resources tells. This is all about asking questions and deducting from what you find to ask more penetrating follow-up questions. It is amazing the types and levels of detail this type of analysis can yield.

I will continue on this in further detail in a next-in-series posting on business intelligence gathering and analysis.

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