Robin Neidorf Insight 3 from Research Focus on intelligence - continuous improvement or bust
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By Robin Neidorf


Evaluating intelligence was once something that information teams could afford to undertake only every two or three years. But those days are gone, replaced by a continuous process of improvement to maintain competitiveness. But with a well operated system, using the right tech and tools to remove the drudgery of data-gathering, this is well within your scope.


Intelligence systems - intelligence 2020We used to say that if you hadn't reviewed your current awareness or intelligence system in three years, you were overdue. Today, we say if you are not engaged in a continuous improvement process, you are losing ground.

This isn't something that most information teams want to hear. It's hard enough to keep up with evaluation on a periodic basis - not being able to mentally park evaluation for a while, to concentrate on other things, sounds hellish.

But it really isn't as tough as it might sound. A well-operated system builds continuous improvement into its very operations. Such a system can be crafted with these points in mind:

  • Articulate the value of the system: what does it enable users in the business to do? How do those actions drive the business?
  • Use the right technology and tools to run the system: evaluation is onerous when collecting data is a trudging, manual process. Amongst other benefits, the right tools support easy and effective reporting of metrics meaningful to your value.
  • Create operational checkpoints: build monthly or quarterly checkpoint into your operations, so that you don't just review the data but use them to make decisions. Should a newsletter be tweaked? Do you need to touch base with specific users? Are sources "pulling their weight"? Are there any gaps in coverage?
  • Maintain fresh tech knowledge: every quarter, set targets for areas of emerging technology to investigate. The goal of these investigations is not to implement immediate change, but to gather ideas about options for your next comprehensive review.

Intelligence is dynamic - sources change, tools develop and user needs change so quickly that a regular programme of review, optimisation and evaluation is necessary. With the right mindset and planning, continuous improvement is a benefit, not a burden.

Act, with Jinfo:

Reviewing your intelligence starts with defining value, which can be the hardest part of all for the design and operation of an awareness or intelligence system.

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