Whether your company is entering a merger, considering an investment, or assessing a competitor’s advantage, due diligence is a necessary factor to ensure a successful outcome. Business leaders know the importance of growth but every opportunity presented holds the potential for success or failure.
Business intelligence consists of collecting and organizing large amounts of data that enable businesses to identify opportunities and develop strategies that promote long-term success. Hans Peter Luhn, a researcher for IBM, said in a 1958 IBM Journal article, “Business intelligence is the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action toward a desired goal.”
Making better decisions based on business intelligence
Successful business leaders know the importance of information gathering and review before making any business decision. They draw information and knowledge from various professional disciplines including business consulting, law firms, journalists, and of course investigators.
For instance, when considering a merger with another company it is crucial to know as much about the company’s history, business management, ethics, financial solvency, possible undisclosed liabilities, leadership of the company, and their affiliations. All business transactions have potential risks and it important to assess these risks prior to entering any business transaction. The public information gathered can be quite revealing and prevent a decision that could devastate years of hard work, reputation, and even avoid litigation in the aftermath.
Another circumstance that could arise is that your company may want to know the demographics of your competitor’s clients. The information gathered would contain the number of products offered by the company, how many were products were purchased, how many were sold to men or women, the age brackets of those who purchased the products, the average income level, zip code, and level of education. Utilizing a combination of commercial due diligence and intensive analytical due diligence can forecast sales growth; identify a competitor’s operational metrics, procurement, customer management, and even fraud.
Benefits of internal business intelligence
While business intelligence can identify external opportunities and risks, internal business intelligence can be equally important. For instance, in the Human Resources Department of a company, the data collected on employee’s absences can be a predictive trend and therefore a strategy developed to combat income loss and retain employees. The same company may want to gauge how their latest marketing campaign is increasing sales in order to produce a trend analysis report and present the information in east to understand graphs and charts in PowerPoint at the next Board Meeting. The advantage of data analysis is endless when assessing performance measures of a business.
The risks of economic espionage
Corporations of all sizes face risks both internally and externally. Protecting trade and investment secrets has become increasingly difficult for large corporations entering the age of cyberspace. International corporations face increased loss and risk that ultimately affects the American economy.
In June 2000, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported Larry Ellison, Chief Executive of Oracle admitted to hiring a private detective agency to investigate groups that supported Microsoft. Oracle was trying to uncover ties to research groups that had been releasing studies supportive of Microsoft during an antitrust trial.
Claiming it was his “civic duty” to investigate Microsoft’s affiliations, it was uncovered, the investigative group hired by Oracle attempted to buy trash from two housekeepers at the Association for Competitive Technology.
In a June 28, 2012, statement before the House Committee on Homeland Security and Subcommittee on Counter-terrorism and Intelligence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Counter Intelligence Division, estimated more than $13 billion losses to the American economy due to economic espionage.
Whether an insider employee is selling trade secrets, a competitor is attempting to infiltrate, or a company is the target of cyber-attacks, more and more companies, governments, and nonprofits face significant risks. Business intelligence when conducted legally and ethically can protect more than the bottom-line.
Private Investigators specialize in business intelligence
Professional investigative teams have private investigators that can verify information, collect information about financial transactions, assets, investments, liabilities, and identify existing contracts, business practices, and even political associations. The information is then provided to the client providing a solid base for decision-making.
Business intelligence involves research, measurement, querying, analytics, data mining, performance management, reporting, identifying benchmarks, information sharing, and regulatory compliance. To implement effective business intelligence strategy, it is important to have skilled investigators to help your company obtain the needed information while conducting a legal, ethical, and discreet investigation.
According to Thomas Lauth, owner and lead private investigator at Lauth Investigations International, business intelligence has become a necessary component of business management worldwide. “From a negative media campaign to competing for a contract, knowing who your opposition is and their political and media affiliations, marketing and internet campaigns, and even motives will give you the competitive edge” says Lauth. “The old saying, it is better to be safe than sorry, rings true."
About the Author: Kym L. Pasqualini is founder of the Nation’s Missing Children Organization in 1994 and the National Center for Missing Adults in 2000. Kym has spent 20 years working with government officials, law enforcement, advocates, private investigators, and national media. Kym is now a freelance writer and serves as an expert in the field of missing persons and victim advocacy.