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Some keys to Competitive Intelligence based on the Digital Footprint

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Some Keys to Competitive Intelligence based on the Fingerprint

Business risk and competitive advantage in 2020

One of the greatest challenges a company faces on a daily basis is risk management. Risk is exposure to uncertainty and is something that a company must understand and know how to manage in order to achieve its objectives. However, it also has a positive side, as well-managed risk is an element of competitive advantage for the organization.

Spanish companies that have conducted the Allianz 2020 Risk Barometer surveys have scored among the top 10 elements of risk to their organization today: cyber incidents, business disruption, legislative changes, loss of profit, and brand reputation and value. Elements that play an essential role in the continuity of a business and dealing with them properly make the difference between organizations in the same industry. This article shows how Competitive Intelligence supported by the Digital Footprint is a useful tool for achieving this objective.

How to increase the competitive advantage within your company?

Currently, there are numerous services that offer certainty in decision-making, including services that have been discussed in previous blog entries such as: investigating a person's Fingerprint or the use of Machine Learning for predicting absenteeism

On this occasion we will talk about the Competitive Intelligence Service supported by the Digital Footprint of companies as the main tool, aimed at generating greater certainty in decision making by means of an in-depth investigation of a company or individual, aimed at detecting risks based on the analysis of links, customers, debtors, suppliers, creditors, tax and commercial analysis (environment, competition) and other aspects such as subsidies received, intellectual property, domains, trademarks, environment, innovation, etc. 

Competitive Intelligence Service

Through appropriate research methodology and appropriate technological resources, uncertainty can be reduced, decision making facilitated and competitive advantage developed. In other words, competitive intelligence services are useful when it comes to detecting evidence of risk that could have been intuited previously .

These investigations based on the fingerprint of companies as the main tool can be carried out at four levels. All four are relevant and depend on the need detected in the organisation requesting the service:

Internal Level: Brand Image Report. 

It answers the question: What do you see of me (as a company and brand) on the Internet? Research is carried out to find out in depth the image that a company projects in its environment, the coherence between what is sought and what is achieved. This allows us to know the real exposure perimeter of the entity, avoiding that a possible attacker can use sensitive information in an improper way. 

Vendor Level: Vendor Approval Report

It answers the question, is my supplier who says he is with the right resources and reputation? To do this, research is carried out for the target company. In this way we can estimate the global risk index for the client company, based on: corporate image, information leaks, active litigation, network of clients that may come into conflict with the company requesting the service and contradictory elements detected in open sources.

Partner Level: Due Diligence Report

It answers the question, is it a good ally that will facilitate the fulfilment of my strategic objectives? An in-depth investigation is carried out to determine the partner's commercial network (and therefore the potential volume of business that it can generate), operational capacity, its reputation at a global level and, in particular, in the geographical areas of interest.

Competitor Level: Competitor Report 

To answer the question, what does my opponent do and how can I anticipate it? The client company's main competitors and allies, its business environment (whether demographic, political, social, cultural or economic) and technological knowledge such as patents and trends are evaluated. All this is aimed at better understanding the opponent's strategy, thus providing new elements that enrich the decision-making process.

Sources of information 

As discussed in other blog posts, OSINT tools are now an essential resource in fingerprint investigations. It is one of the most important sources of information in the technology era, and even more so today where the COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled numerous events, fairs and movements of people, thus limiting other more traditional methods of obtaining information such as HUMINT or Human Source Intelligence. 

Essential content in a Competitive Intelligence research

The relevant content to be evaluated during the Competitive Intelligence research and in most cases obtained from OSINT sources is:

  • Image that the company shows from the official channels and the content that is detected in the non-official channels.
  • In social networks: conversations, labels, mentions, links between relevant actors and the possible existence of bots that could damage the company's image. 
  • Information derived from networks and job sites, such as company hierarchy, new employee offers or employee opinions. They can help infer the company's industrial strategy. 
  • Trends in major search engines.
  • Locations and possible places of interest.
  • Patent records.
  • Latest news about the company.
  • Company information leaks.
  • Active litigation.
  • Photographs, videos and interviews where the company or sensitive employees are mentioned
  • Official documents and new legislation.

Obtaining and subsequent analysis of this content provides indices of risk and sectors of opportunity. It is done from an external and objective perspective, to create a competitive advantage over others in the same industry and help in the difficult task of decision making.

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