Competitive Intelligence

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

I have come across a comment on news on DT spying on its employees in Croatia. For reference the news in english is here..
An article in croatian was published in major newspaper (Vecernji list) on 1st page. Unfortunately there was made a link between business intelligence and corporate espionage. In the article under subheader called "Espionage in trend" the first sentence starts with "Corporate espionage, in other words business intelligence, is for some time already a trend in Croatia". Sadly very often in media over here business intelligence is put in context of espionage.
At least in the headline they didn't mention BI/CI:(
Any other experiences in the region on how we can change/do something about it? Does it influence your work?

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The journalists are hunting for hot stories and, unfortunately in the region, they want to sell this subject in other way that it is or we like. They miss the objectivity for "wow effect" witch in our culture is selling more.
In Romania too, in written press or TV, I see the same trend. But this is also a way to promo BI or CI event they invent something that we must fight after, people hear the concepts :).
Dear Mislav,

It is a complex issue, but you have to understand the journalists. They are in the business of selling news, not of reporting the truth and corporate espionage sells better than CI. Additionally, I do not think that they know the difference. Can we realistically judge them badly when the vast majority of the business community does not know what CI is?

I can tell you a case that happened to me. A journalist asked me a lot of questions on what CI is, what it is not, what it is used for, what benefits are there, etc. Very nice talk and useful for the CI community. I was astonished when during that day (it was not printed yet, but was on-line) I read on this business newspaper the title of the article, which was something like: “corporate espionage is on the surge”. I called this woman immediately and told her, you know what, this is not what we talked about. She told me, but my editor said it will sell better that way. I told her, I do not care what your editor said, this is not what we talked about and if he does not understand the logic of it, please get him on the phone. Some ten minutes later the title was changed to “competitive intelligence is on the surge” or something like that.

Honestly, I was vigilant on that article (I do not have journalists calling me to know what CI is every day ;)). But this is the mindset journalists and editors have and this is what generally happens.

I believe, however, that cases like the one portrayed, are also the company’s fault. I can not really think of any relevant KIT which can be solved by knowing the sexual life of the future employees.

I believe you can check the references by calling former employers. Indeed, I do not know in Europe, but here the company is entitled to do so and this seems reasonable to me. If you do this cross-check, you can learn a great deal on the person and his/her past performance and how his/her working ethics are.

Here it is illegal to ask for the judicial records of someone before hiring him/her, but I know companies which do get this info before hiring someone, in spite of the law. I do not justify it, because going against the law is always unwise and they can get the same information from former employers without breaking the law, but can understand that companies want to know if the CFO or the treasurer for example have a dead body in his/her closet.

In the case of Deutsche Telekom, however, I can not find any reasonable explanation because the nature of the data and the fact that this information is not useable for any business purpose.

I believe you can do a great deal of work with your course, since you will be building goodwill with journalists. The pay-off, however, will be seeing in many years, since education has always a long term pay-off.

I hope I added my two cents to the debate ;)

Best regards,

Hi, Adrian, you've added to the debate much more than two cents. Nonetheless, I would rather place emphasis on security clearance ( ) than on "a dead body in his/her closet". ;-)

Hi Tad,

Actually security clearances are mostly for avoiding leaks and the like, what I was thinking of with these deadbodies were people who are dishonest and can either steal or cook the books or both. This would be quite a concern for hiring a CFO or treasurer...

But security clearances are also extremely important, you know the saying, loose lips sink ships or something like that... ;)

Best regards,

Just this


Dear Mislav, unfortunately the problem is and in Russia and CIS countries. I have in recent years has given many interviews to journalists, what was my surprise when I read in the press headlines of these publications:
- Spy games. "Company management", January 2009. Konstantine Pukemov
- Spy rage. "Ukrainian investment newspaper" (Kiev) № 22 of 09.06.2008.
- Spy Network XXI. "Komersant - Money" 21.07.2008. Arthur Velf
- Spies are highly demanded. "Computerra" 04.04.2008 Kivi Berd

All this because of what journalists aspire to high-profile name and not think about the consequences!
The purporse of Information Warfare is Extraction of Information.

According to M. Alain Juilett, Competitive Intelligence is Protection of Strategic Information.

Counter Intelligence is the name of the game.
Hello, Vivek, nonetheless, don't forget Alain Juillet's opinion "L'IE est à la fois offensive et défensive puisque la meilleure défense, c'est l'attaque" ( ). ;-)

Incidentally, what do you think about the connections between French business intelligence and French intelligence agencies ( ) suggested in Alain Juillet's opinion "Tous les services de renseignement et la gendarmerie ont un rôle à jouer dans l'IE car c'est eux qui assurent le contact avec les entreprises sur leur territoire de travail et c’est eux qui peuvent nous alerter en cas de problème" ( )? Are those connections really similar to the American ones ["Il y a plus d'une dizaine d'agences américaines en contact avec les entreprises. Nous sommes donc dans un système assez proche des autres." (Ibidem)]?

Best regards,
I'm currently working with a colleague from the Foreign Press Association who is looking to put the record straight. If you would welcome exchanging views with him, I would be more than happy to put you in touch. Please reply if you are interested. Thank you all in advance.


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