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Glossary of terms used in competitive intelligence and knowledge management  

By Vernon Prior

NB: Entries marked with an * are new or modified entries with effect from 12 July 2009

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P / Q - R - S - T - U - V - W / X / Y/ Z


Balanced scorecard is a performance measurement system that, in addition to financial measures, quantifies items that had previously been considered as intangible assets, such as brand image, customers, reputation, Human capital, Information, Innovation, and Corporate culture.   See also: Corporate performance management, Intellectual property, Knowledge assets, Knowledge management.  

Bandwidth is a measure of the capacity of an information channel, that is, the volume of Information that can be transmitted over a communications link in a given time. 

Basic research is work, of a general nature, conducted in order to acquire Knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts without any obvious practical application in view.  It is sometimes referred to as Fundamental research.  See also: Research, Research and development

Benchmarking is a continuous, systematic process for evaluating and comparing an organisationís activities, products, services, and work processes with those of organisations that are recognised as representing best practices for the purposes of performance improvement.  A secondary purpose is to reveal useful practices or ideas that may be adopted or adapted with advantage.  See also: Reengineering, Reverse engineering

*Bibliographic reference is the Information necessary to identify a Document.  It normally includes: author; title; place of publication, publisher, and date (in the case of a book); or author; title; name of journal; volume/edition, page number(s), and date (in the case of an article).  Additional details may be included for clarification.  See also: Annotation, Bibliography, Bibliometrics, Citation, Citation index, Content management, Knowledge management, Metadata

*Bibliography is a list of documents (for example, books, periodicals, articles, reports, and conference papers) covering a specific subject or range of subjects, arranged in some order, such as by subject, chronologically, or by author.  Its function is to identify, locate, or select material, and is primarily compiled for use by scholars and librarians. The essential content should include author, title, and keywords.  For purposes of location it should also incorporate edition, date, and location.  When used for selection it should extend to include some form of Annotation or Abstract.  See also: Bibliographic reference, Bibliometrics, Citation, Document, Metadata, Periodical, Report. 

Bibliometrics is the application of statistical or mathematical methods to groups of bibliographic references (for example, authorship, publications, literature use) for comparison or comprehension.  See also: Bibliographic reference, Bibliography, Citation analysis, Informetrics, Webometrics.

Bioinformation transfer is the study of the neuro-active substances that play a crucial role in intercellular Information transfer, and of the application of such mechanisms to medicine and Information technology.  See also: Cybernetics

Blog is a direct means for an individual to share ideas, thoughts, opinions, and Information concerning a particular topic with an audience, using the Web as the medium.  It usually takes the form of a diary or narrative (in reverse chronological order) initiated, and frequently updated, by the blogger.  Its main value lies in the establishment of networks and the Social capital created as a result, and usually comprises ephemeral material.  See also: Collaboration software, Corporate blog, Unstructured information, Wiki, World Wide Web. 

Boolean algebra refers to an abstract system of symbols and operators that apply to logical problems.  Boolean operators most commonly used for manipulating search terms in information retrieval include: AND, OR, NOT.  Less common are: IF, NEAR, BEFORE, AFTER, THEN, EXCEPT.  The results of employing Boolean operators may be illustrated using Venn diagrams.  The term is derived from the British mathematician George Boole (1815-1864) who devised the original system.  See also: Nesting, Proximity operators

Bot (abbreviation of robot), see Robots.  See also: Crawler, Intelligent agents, Search engine, Spider. 

Boundary spanner, see Gatekeeper

Brainstorming is a technique used by groups of people to overcome the widespread tendency to overlook various obvious options while solving problems or generating new ideas.  The key principle is to defer judgment, achieved by insistence on first recording all suggested ideas.  See also: Lateral thinking, Mind Maps, Synectics

Brief is either an abridged memory aid for presenting arguments in a legal case, or a set of instructions concerning a specific task, operation, or project.  See also: Briefing, Report

Briefing is the oral or written disclosure, before the event, of information or instructions concerning an operation, project, or visit. The term is derived from military practice.  See also: After action reviews, Debriefing, Intelligence briefing, Knowledge continuity management, Mind Maps, Narrative, Report

Browser is a client software program that is used to identify and locate various kinds of Internet resources.  See also: Cyberspace, World Wide Web

Bulletin board system (BBS) is a computerised meeting and announcement system that allows people to carry on discussions, upload and download files, and record observations and points of view without having to be simultaneously connected to the system at any given time.  See also: Internet

Burotics applies to the fusion of several technologies that are mainly covered by the term Business technology.  It includes: data organisation; word processing; facsimile; teletext and videotex; reproduction equipment; time registration; and business management systems.  See also: Technological fusion, Telematics

Business environment encompasses all those factors that affect a company's operations; including customers, competitors, suppliers, distributors, industry trends, substitutes, regulations, government activities, the economy, demographics, social and cultural factors, innovations, and technological developments. It may also be referred to as Operating environment. See also: Change management, Competitive advantage, Competitive intelligence, Strategic inflection point, Strategy. 

Business intelligence is concerned with Information technology solutions for transforming the output from large Data collections into Intelligence; usually through the integration of sales, marketing, servicing, and support operations.  It covers such activities as Customer relationship management, Enterprise resource planning and Ecommerce using Data mining techniques.  Those people involved in business intelligence tend to regard it as one aspect of Knowledge management.  Systems based on business intelligence software were formerly known as Executive information systems.  See also: Competitive intelligence, Competitor, Competitor intelligence, Enterpise reporting, Intelligence analysis, Market intelligence, Strategic early warning, Technological intelligence

Business performance management, see Corporate performance management. 

Business plan incorporates a detailed study of the current and anticipated future activities of an enterprise, and of all the factors (such as marketing, development and production, and financial aspects) that will have a bearing on those activities.  Since it is also the normal mechanism for attracting investment, it should provide potential investors with the Information they need in order to evaluate the risks and the potential returns on investment (RoI).  Often used as a generic term covering marketing, operational, strategic, tactical, and other corporate plans.  See also: Planning, Venture capital

Business process management (BPM) involves the use of appropriate tools and techniques to design, analyse, and manage operational business processes and, where possible, to improve those processes.  The term business process refers to repetitive activities performed in the context of an organisationís normal, everyday operations.  See also: Horizontal organisation, Re-engineering

Business process outsourcing (BPO) is the long-term contractual delegation of management and operational responsibility for an IT-enabled business function, or process area, to an external services provider.  BPO covers three broad areas of activity: sales, marketing, and customer care; administration and finance; operations processes (which may include materials management, procurement, distribution, or manufacturing).  BPO may be partial (management or operation only) or complete (management, operation, and ownership). 

Business process re-engineering (BPR), see Re-engineering

Business technology refers to the integration of computer and communications technologies in support of administrative applications and procedures within an organisation.  See also: Information technology

Business war gaming, see War gaming



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