Scott Brown Cipher Knowledge.Works: Canned vs. customised
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By Scott Brown

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In my overview article of the CI software landscape, I pointed to Arthur Weiss thoughtful outline for thinking about CI software. In connecting with Arthur, he took the conversation a bit further: why do companies think they need CI software, and do they provide the best value? Companies want CI software that is 'canned', yet customisable to their situation. As Arthur stated in our email correspondence, 'If you accept the limitations (of CI software) and are willing to adapt processes, CI software can help the CI process. However, depending on (the software) and not using common sense on its limitations means that you end up limiting the CI process itself and the CI function and its effectiveness.'

One of the standout features of Cipher’s CI software product, Knowledge.Works, which I reviewed for VIP Magazine Number 85, is its high degree of customisation options - from the look of the portal layout itself, colors and logos, and access configuration, to the keywords used for tagging content in the system. From the start of the implementation of its software, Cipher works closely with the company to create a solution customised to CI needs and to the end users.

For a company that is serious about adapting the CI software to its CI processes, this can be a strong positive feature of Knowledge.Works.

However, if a company is looking for more of a 'canned' solution, this process could be taxing and frustrating. Will a company have the patience to create its own taxonomy before it implements CI software? Does the company, and the CI function specifically, have the ability and thought processes to create a useful and flexible taxonomy?

I agree with Arthur that competitive intelligence is ultimately a human process. Knowledge.Works has strengths that can contribute to the competitive intelligence cycle in the collection of secondary and primary information, and in the dissemination of information within the organisation. It also provides some unique tools to help in the planning and direction phase of the cycle.

Additionally, Cipher Systems is a company founded by competitive intelligence practitioners. The Knowledge.Works software grew out of the need to make the information gathering and dissemination process easier for the Cipher team in producing their analysis. With these features, and this heritage, Knowledge.Works can appeal to all competitive intelligence practitioners. It’s worth taking a look. 

Purchase your copy of VIP Report: Product Review of Cipher Systems' Knowledge.Works from the FreePint Shop. Or save money by purchasing VIP No. 85, which also includes the VIP Report: Product Review of EBSCO Sustainability Watch.

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