Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

Tough questions that could help a CI department to engineer solutions

These days top bankers are facing tough quuestions from law makers. Rightfully so you might claim.

In a current blog Dan Roberts asks valid questions one could (should) have asked years ago.

In reflection to the CI profession these questions seem to have potential to trigger challenges to any business leader, way beyond finance. Customized to any business they could help any CI leader to engineer spot-on solutions in response to the insight vacuum of these days.

Dan asks:
Why did your risk models not show up the dangers?
How often did you think about your bonus when making decisions?
After the collapse of Northern Rock, is there more you could have done to reduce risk?
How big a part did tax avoidance play in encouraging an excessive reliance on debt in corporate capital structures?
Why should profits be private, but losses socialised?
If the industry's full liabilities and assets were valued on a mark-to-market basis, would it be solvent?
Has short-selling played a significant role in destabilising banks?
Did you understand all parts of your business?
Did you feel your fellow board directors, shareholders, and regulators were fully aware of the risks you were taking?
At what point did you realise the system was in trouble, and at what point did you admit it to anyone else?
How can we stop this happening again?
Will you say sorry?

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At the very least, the first apologies:
Hi Jens, Have been thinking about this topic.. the current financial crisis and also maybe the fall of certain companies. If the role of CI is to provide "actionable insights" to decision makers then the companies that have excellent CI teams should have weathered this crisis while their peers who do not should be severely affected.

But from what I hear, CI teams are getting fired? Have they then not done their job in letting the company know and steered them away from the crisis. A counter for this could be yes they did tell management but management did not pay attention to those warnings!! Could be.. but then seeing a pattern here the role of CI seems more incidental rather than active. To elaborate further the presence or absence of a CI team would have had no impact on where the company is going. I can give my "insights" but then that does not seem to help in reality.

I read somewhere that Motorola had one of the best Intelligence programs but then their handset division is now the weakest amongst the major players. Not really confidence inspiring stuff when you tell someone that as a CI professional you will help companies make the right decisions!! Is CI just another passive passenger in the bus or does he have a say in where it is going?


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