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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


Cascade, see Explode

Case-based reasoning is a technique for deriving solutions to problems through a reasoning process using Artificial intelligence to produce analogies with similar problems where solutions are already known.   

Caves and commons is a colloquial term for the two main types of working area: caves represent private areas used for concentrated thinking; commons refers to open spaces designed to encourage discussion and the exchange of Information and ideas.  See also: Work spaces, Working environment

Census is an evaluation or enumeration of each and every member or unit of population under study.  See also: Demography

Chat room, see Newsgroup

Cipher is a way of producing a Document whose content may be understood by the intended recipient but should be unintelligible to all others.  This is usually achieved by substituting computer-generated random numbers or letters for the symbols making up the content of the document.  Since the same sequence must be used to set up the system for both enciphering and deciphering, no cipher system is entirely invulnerable.  See also: Code, Steganography

Citation is a reference or footnote to a Document which contains sufficient Information to identify and locate the work to which it refers.  It usually takes the form of a Bibliographic reference.  See also: Annotation, Bibliography, Citation analysis

Citation analysis is a specific division of Bibliometrics devoted to the study of citations to and from documents.  See also: Document. 

Citation index consists of a list of documents, usually arranged by author, with a list against each entry of other documents that have cited the item represented by the entry.  It is based on the principle that if the searcher is aware of a Document that is relevant, then any document published at a later date that cites the original is also likely to be relevant.  See also: Bibliography, Citation

Classification scheme is an orderly arrangement of terms or classes - a class being any group of entities sharing the same characteristic(s).  The major universal classification schemes are: Bliss, Colon, Dewey Decimal, Library of Congress, and Universal Decimal.  See also: Classify, Cluster analysis, Index, Keyword, Ontology, Taxonomy, Thesaurus

Classified information refers to military or national secrets.  It is normally available to unqualified individuals only by means of clandestine human or technical (imagery or signals) Intelligence.  See also: Classify

*Classify is to assemble or group items in a rational and consistent manner.  It is based upon a preconceived plan, with the whole field of interest divided into categories, classes, and sub-classes.  It also means to designate a Document as an official secret or as not available for general disclosure.  See also: Classification scheme, Classified information, Cluster analysis, Content management, Directory, Folksonomy, Hierarchical classification, Index, Keyword, Knowledge management, Ontology, Taxonomy, Thesaurus, Trade secret

Clickstreaming enables a Web site to monitor a user's movements while on site and when moving to other links from that site. 

Closed-circuit television (cctv) is a form of cable television accessible to a limited user group.  It is used especially in security systems and military establishments, and for educational purposes. 

Closed proprietary information, see Trade secret

Cluster consists of several enterprises that have entered into a formal, continuing association in order to pursue some activities in common and derive maximum benefit from such synergy.  These shared activities may include: Research, Development, and Innovation; Marketing, promotion, labelling, and publication of Trade literature; imposing minimum standards of quality; arranging the supply of equipment, components, or materials; and sharing Information gathering and Analysis.  See also: Alliance, Cluster analysis, Joint venture, Lead-firm network, Networking, Production network, Service network, Strategic alliance, Value chain

Cluster analysis is based on the classification of Data or objects into groups that are related in some way.  It is commonly used in Data mining, pattern recognition, image analysis and bioinformatics.  The practice is particularly useful in such activities as Brainstorming, and the rational exploitation of Mind maps, and Search engines.  See also: Classification scheme, Classify

Clustering is the linking together of many small computers in order to create a more powerful machine.  See also: Grid computing

Code is a pre-arranged system of words, letters, figures, or symbols used to represent others for secrecy or brevity.  The Morse code, for example, uses a sequence of dots and dashes to represent letters and digits.  See also: Cipher, Corporate security, Password, Steganography

Cognitive science is the study of thinking, knowing, and intellectual reaction; of the process of comprehending, judging, remembering, and reasoning; and of the acquisition, organisation, and uses of Knowledge.  See also: Artificial intelligence, Concept

Collaboration software refers to a broad selection of software that is designed to enable collaboration, cooperation, networking, and information-sharing activities through computer networks.  Collaboration software may be designed to execute some or any combination of the following:

         Electronic mail;

         meetings management;

         project management;

         Team scheduling;

         Distance learning;

         discussion groups. 

See also: Blog, Community of practice, Networking, Networks, Wiki.   

Collaborative tagging, see Folksonomy

*Collective intelligence refers to the results gained from the sharing of information and collaboration between many individuals.  Although it applies in many aspects of life (including bacteria, insects, and other animals), in this context it refers to the mass behaviour of human beings.  It may be regarded as a form of Networking which has been enabled by recent developments in the Internet.  See also: Mociology, Social media, Social network, Social network analysis, Wiki

Colloquium is an informal academic Conference or group discussion.  See also: Seminar, Symposium, Workshop

Combination, one of the four basic Knowledge management processes, is a technique for combining items of Explicit knowledge to form new explicit knowledge.  See also:  Externalisation, Internalisation, and Socialisation

Commerce is a term that usually applies to domestic trade; that is, conducted within a specific nation or territory.  See also: International trade

Commercialism is the imposition of business principles and full cost-accounting techniques on government enterprises. 

Commercialisation covers the range of activities involved in producing and Marketing an Innovation; or is the transformation of ideas into economic results.  See also: Diffusion, Technology transfer

Communication is the process whereby Knowledge is codified into Information by the transmitter, passed through a medium to a receiver, who then reconverts that information into new knowledge.  See also: Document, Knowledge continuity management, Knowledge creation

Community of commitment, see Community of practice

Community of interest is a network of people who are committed to the mutual exchange of ideas and Information.  The focus tends to be on learning about areas of common interest, rather than on producing practical results.  See also: Community of practice

Community of practice (CoP) is an informal, self-organising, interactive group that develops in response to a specific, work-related activity, subject, practice, or problem of mutual interest.  Membership is determined by participation and may transcend hierarchical and organisational boundaries.  It provides a means for developing best practices or solutions to problems through Communication, that is, through participation in the exchange of Information and the creation of Knowledge.  A community of practice may use a variety of media for this purpose, including face-to-face meetings, reports, email, instant messaging, collaborative workspaces, and intranets.  Communities of practice can sometimes make a major contribution to Social capital in organisations.  A CoP may sometime be called a Community of purpose or commitment, and a large, geographically dispersed community is often referred to as a Network of practice.  See also: Community of interest, Electronic mail, Groupware, Intranet, Knowledge continuity management, Knowledge management, Networking, Report, Seminar, Social network analysis, Team

Community of purpose, see Community of practice

Competency modelling involves identifying superior performers and creating profiles that specify their expertise, skills, personalities, values, and other attributes as a basis for general organisational improvement.  See also: Expertise profiling, Knowledge map, Mindset

Competitive refers to the circumstances under which a company can maintain or expand its Market share while making at least enough profit to induce it to stay in its existing line of business.  See also: Competitive advantage, Competitive intelligence, Operational effectiveness. 

Competitive advantage is gained by exploiting the unique blend of activities, assets, attributes, market conditions, and relationships that differentiates an organisation from its competitors.  These may include: access to natural resources, specific location, skilled workforce, lower costs, better-quality products, unique technologies, or exceptional customer service.  The fundamental strategies involved are: cost leadership, differentiation, and focus (or establishing a niche).  See also: Analysis, Business environment, Business intelligence, Competitive, Competitive intelligence, Competitor, Critical success factors, Operational effectiveness. 

Competitive intelligence is a systematic and ethical programme for gathering, analysing, and managing any combination of Data, Information, and Knowledge concerning the Business environment in which a company operates that, when acted upon, will confer a significant Competitive advantage or enable sound decisions to be made.  Its primary role is Strategic early warning.  See also: Business intelligence, Competitive, Competitive advantage, Intelligence analysis.     

Competitive monitoring is intended to gain early warning through regular, frequent, and proactive monitoring and reporting of changes and trends in your Business environment.  These changes may stimulate more intensive research or call for the use of more sophisticated analytical techniques. When confined to competitors it is known as Competitor activity trackingSee also: Competitive intelligence, Intelligence analysis, Strategic early warning

Competitive simulation, see War gaming

Competitor is any organisation that offers the same, a similar, or a substitute product or service in the field of endeavour in which a company operates. 

Competitor activity tracking, see Competitive monitoring

Competitor intelligence is a subdivision of Business intelligence that concerns the current and proposed business activities of competitors.  See also: Competitor, Strategic group analysis

Competitor profiling is the systematic Analysis of competitors in order to learn from their strengths and exploit their weaknesses.  The main factors to be considered include:

         background (including structure, ownership, subsidiaries, and alliances);

         profiles of key executives;

         critical success factors;

         business environment (major markets, competitors, suppliers, and distributors);

         management style;

         corporate culture;

         financial information;

         assets and resources;

         corporate and market strategy. 

The knowledge acquired is used to gain and maintain a Competitive advantage.  See also: Analysis, Competitor, Industry profiling, Intelligence analysis, SWOT analysis

Computer-aided design (CAD) involves the use of computers in the design and engineering process.  The term embraces geometric modelling, Analysis, testing, and drafting. 

Computer-aided instruction (CAI) refers to the use of computers as teaching machines. 

Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) involves the use of computer technology in the management, control, and operation of the manufacturing process. 

Computer-assisted interactive tutorial system is one in which a computer is programmed to perform the role of teacher in (normally) a one-to-one tutorial.  See also: Distance learning

Computer-assisted process planning involves the use of computers to generate process plans showing the sequence of operations and work stations required in manufacture. 

Computer graphics refers to the use of computers to generate and display pictorial images.  See also: Visualisation

Computer-integrated manufacturing is a term that applies when work stations are directly serviced by an automated material-handling system and controlled by a computer.  The term encompasses: CAD/CAM, Robotics, Group technology, Material requirements planning, Manufacturing resource planning, Automated storage and retrieval systems, Computer-assisted process planning, and Computer-aided parts programming.  See also: Computer-aided design, Computer-aided manufacturing

Concept is any unit of thought, generally expressed by a term, letter, or symbol.  It may be the mental representation of beings or things, qualities, actions, locations, situations, or relations.  A concept may also arise from any combination of other concepts.  See also: Cognitive science, Insight, Knowledge, Semantic networks, Topic maps

Concept mapping, see Visualisation

Conference is a general session or face-to-face group that relies on participation; often used to publicise developments in a particular field of endeavour or discipline.  See also: Colloquium, Seminar, Symposium, Workshop. 

Confirmation bias refers to our tendency to seek evidence that will confirm our own opinion, or ignore or devalue that which does not.  See also: Analysis, Intelligence analysis

Conjecture is to form an opinion from incomplete Information; to guess. 

*Contact management system (CMS) allows organisations and individuals to record relationships and interactions with customers and suppliers as well as facilitating the development of comprehensive individual profiles.  See also: Content management, Knowledge map, Social network, Social network analysis

Content analysis describes the technique of identifying keywords and descriptors from a given Document in order to facilitate Information retrieval.  See also: Descriptor, Keyword, Indexing

*Content management refers to the use of appropriate technology and software to create, collect, manage, store, retrieve, and publish content of any kind, including documents and Unstructured information within an organisation in order to better achieve the aims and goals of the enterprise.  The practice is sometimes inappropriately referred to as Enterprise search.  See also: Document, Enterprise systems, Information architecture, Information management, Information system, Information technology, Knowledge management.

Content visualisation, see Visualisation

Contestability is the extent to which the provision of a good or service is open to alternative suppliers. 

Contingency planning differs from Scenario planning in that it usually takes into account only one probable future event.  See also: Planning, War gaming. 

Controlled indexing language, see Controlled vocabulary

*Controlled vocabulary is an Indexing language; that is, a standardised - yet dynamic - set of terms and phrases authorised for use in an indexing system to describe a subject area or Information domain.  Ideally, the terms that are used to represent subjects, and the process whereby terms are assigned to particular documents, should be both controlled and executed by one individual.  It can vary from a simple alphabetical list of terms to a complex annotated Thesaurus.  A controlled vocabulary is also known as a Controlled indexing language.  See also: Classification scheme, Classify, Content analysis, Content management, Descriptor, Document, Index, Keyword, Knowledge management, Knowledge map, Natural indexing language, Ontology, Taxonomy, Topic maps

Copyright exists automatically on original literary, artistic, musical, or dramatic works and gives protection against unlicensed use.  See also: Document, Intellectual property

Corporate blog is a Blog published by, or with the support of, an organisation in order to further its aims, aspirations, or goals.  See also: Wiki

Corporate culture is the set of values, beliefs, and relationships between individuals and functions that guide the decisions of the company in order to achieve its objectives.  It results in behaviour that has been learned within a group or transferred between individuals over time.  It may also be referred to as Organisational culture.  See also: Meme, Mission statement, Social capital, Vision statement

Corporate governance is the framework of rules, relationships, systems, and processes within and by which authority is exercised and controlled in corporations.  See also: Stakeholder

Corporate intellectual assets, see Knowledge assets

Corporate intelligence is a broad term covering Business intelligence and Competitive intelligence as well as those elements that are inherent in global operations, such as Corporate security and Counterintelligence

Corporate memory, see Knowledge assets

Corporate performance management, also known as Business performance management, is software that usually handles a number of basic applications, such as: budget planning and forecasting, financial consolidation, financial and statutory reporting, profitability analysis, and Balanced scorecard.  It is frequently associated with some form of Enterprise resource planning software.   

Corporate security aims at protecting Knowledge assets, whether in the form of physical entities or intellectual (tangible and intangible) property.  See also: Authentication, Counterintelligence, Intellectual property, Knowledge management, Trade secret

Corporatisation is Privatisation coupled with the requirement that the government sector enterprise actively encourage competition from the private sector.  Government ministers set policy objectives but are not involved in routine operations.   

Counterintelligence refers to those activities that are concerned with identifying and counteracting the threat to security posed by hostile intelligence services or organisations, or by individuals engaged in Espionage, sabotage, or subversion.  See also: Corporate security, Intellectual property, Knowledge assets

Countertrade is the exchange of goods or services free of monetary consideration. 

Crawler uses existing Internet search engines to carry out automatic search and retrieval of selected Information on behalf of a user.  It may also be known as Web crawler.  See also: Bot, Intelligent agents, Search engine, Spider

Creative industries comprise those organisations that engage in activities that have their origin in individual creativity, skill, and talent, and that have the potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of Intellectual property

Creativity refers to the act of generating new and useful ideas, or of re-evaluating or combining old ideas, so as to develop new and useful perspectives in order to satisfy a need.  It is the capacity to select, re-arrange, combine, or synthesise existing facts, ideas, images, or expertise in original ways.  See also: Brainstorming, Innovation, Invention, Lateral thinking, Mind maps, Synectics. 

Critical, or Key, success factors are the limited number of activities that need to succeed and be effective if company aims are to be achieved; or, are the few key areas of activity in which favourable results are absolutely necessary for a particular manager to reach his or her goals. Knowing the critical success factors helps to determine information needs.  See also: Competitive advantage

*Current awareness services make available Knowledge of what is being done in specific fields of endeavour through documents (such as notes, abstracts, clippings, email, Selective dissemination of information, and Database records) or orally (such as face-to-face or telephone conversations).  See also: Abstract, Content management, Document, Electronic mail, Indicative abstract, Informative abstract

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a software-based technique designed to select and manage customers in order to maximise their long-term value to an enterprise.  The term covers several aspects of customer relationships, such as: campaign management systems, call centres, interactive voice response systems, e-commerce, point-of-sale, and sales automation. The intention is to understand and anticipate the needs, preferences, and buying habits of existing and potential customers.  To that end, it usually employs some form of Data mining designed to exploit large customer databases.  CRM is seen by some as the most important aspect of Knowledge management.  See also: Database, Electronic commerce, Marketing, Value chain analysis

Cybernetics refers to the science in which communication and control systems in electronic and mechanical devices are studied and compared with those in biological systems.  See also: Artificial intelligence, Bioinformation transfer

Cyberspace is the notional environment in which communication over computer networks occurs.  The term is currently used to describe the whole range of Information resources available through such networks.  See also: Browser, Internet, Network, World-Wide Web

Cypher, see Cipher.



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