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The Handbook of Market Intelligence: Understand, Compete and Grow in Global Markets, 2nd Edition by Hans Hedin, Irmeli Hirvensalo, Markko Vaarnas

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Chapter 5Intelligence Process – Turning Random Data into Meaningful Insight

INTRODUCTION: THE INTELLIGENCE CYCLE

“Intelligence process” refers to the continuous, cyclical process that runs from defining decision-makers’ information demands to eventually delivering content that responds to those demands. Here, we want to make the distinction up front between intelligence scope and intelligence process in that the scoping effort will determine the purpose and content needs for the entire intelligence program, whereas the intelligence process starts with determining the needs for a single intelligence deliverable, however small.

The intelligence process should always be anchored to the existing corporate processes, such as strategic planning, sales, marketing, or product management, within which information will be used. In practice, the utilization of the intelligence output should either link directly to decision-making situations, or the intelligence output should help facilitate awareness in the organization about topics in the operating environment that have relevance to the various business processes.

Figure 5.1 illustrates the phases in the cyclical intelligence process, explained below in more detail. The concrete output of the intelligence process, in turn is illustrated on the right hand side of the graph, where decision-making is backed up by generic MI services, and intelligence output that is specifically related to different business processes and projects.

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