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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


Icons are graphical representations of computer functions or files that facilitate user recognition and selection.  See also: File

Implicit knowledge is that which is not directly expressed; that is, where the meaning is inferred from the context and, therefore, relies on existing knowledge.  See also:  Explicit knowledge, Knowledge, Tacit knowledge.   

*Index is a systematic guide to the content of one or more documents arranged in some chosen order (usually alphabetically), together with associated location elements (for example, topic description and page numbers in a book, or File titles and identification numbers in a filing system).  See also: Classification scheme, Classify, Content management, Controlled vocabulary, Directory, Document, Knowledge management, Ontology, Taxonomy, Thesaurus

Indexing provides a means of labelling documents using freely selected keywords or phrases (natural language) or authorised descriptors from a Taxonomy or Thesaurus (Controlled vocabulary), or any combination of those, together with some means of indicating its location in the system.  See also: Assigned-term indexing, Content analysis, Derived-term indexing, Descriptor, Document, Keyword, Ontology.  

Indicative abstract is one that describes the type of Document, the subjects covered, and the way in which the facts are treated (that is, what it is about).  It is only intended to alert readers to the existence of a Document of possible relevance and help them to decide whether reference to the original is necessary.  Written in the present tense and passive voice, it should discuss the article that describes the Research.  See also: Abstract, Fact, Informative abstract, Report, Summary, Synopsis

Individual profiling is usually confined to the study of executives, senior managers, and specialists, either from a competitor or as a precursor to recruitment.  The more significant elements to be examined may include:

         past and present responsibilities;

         significant projects or activities with which involved (and decisions made);

         whether or not financially responsible;

         family or personal problems;

         other peoplesí perceptions;

         membership of influential groups, committees, or networks. 

See also: Competitor profiling, Industry profiling, Intelligence analysis.  

Induction is based on experience and experimentation.  It involves reasoning from the particular to the general; for example, reaching a conclusion by ascribing identical properties to all members of a class of things by examining only a limited number of those things.  Any conclusion must be based on a particular set of observable facts.   Possible techniques include:

         illustration by example;

         enumeration of particulars and details;


         elaboration by comparison and contrast;

         any combination of these.   

See also: Analysis, Classify, Deduction, Fact, Intelligence analysis

Industrial espionage, see Espionage

Industry extension service, see Extension service

Industry profiling provides an in-depth description of an industry and its key players.  Significant elements to be considered might include:


         Critical matters which may affect the industry (such as industry threats and challenges, trends, developments, and new technologies, and relevant legislation);

         Industry statistics;

         Existing and potential industry opportunities;

         Industry, trade, and professional associations. 

See also: Analysis, Competitor profiling, Five forces industry analysis, Intelligence analysis 

Infoglut, see Information overload

Informatics is the systematic study of Information and the application of Research methods to the study of Information systems and services.  It deals primarily with the human aspects of information, such as its quality and value as a resource.  Informatics may also be referred to as Information science. 

*Information consists of Data arranged in some sort of order (for instance, by classification or rational presentation) so that they acquire meaning or reveal associations between data items.  Information may also be defined as a physical surrogate of Knowledge (language, for instance) used for communication.  See also: Business intelligence, Classify, Content management, Document, File, Intelligence. 

Information anxiety, see Information fatigue syndrome

*Information architecture is concerned with the creation and organisation of a Web site.  See also: Content management, Metadata, Ontology, Taxonomy, Thesaurus, Topic maps, Visualisation.

Information fatigue syndrome applies to the symptoms associated with Information overload (qv).  The syndrome may also be referred to as Information anxiety. 

Information literacy is the ability of individuals to recognise the need for specific Information, and then to identify, locate, evaluate, organise, present, and effectively apply the needed information.  Agreed competency standards are that an individual who is information literate should be able to:

         determine the nature and extent of needed information;

         gather the needed information effectively, efficiently, ethically, and legally;

         critically evaluate information and its sources;

         incorporate selected information into a knowledge base;

         use information to accomplish a specific purpose;

         understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information; 

*Information management is the means by which an organisation maximises the efficiency with which it plans, collects, organises, uses, controls, stores, disseminates, and disposes of its Information, and through which it ensures that the value of that information is identified and exploited to the maximum extent possible.  The aim has often been described as getting the right information to the right person, in the right format and medium, at the right time.  It is sometimes referred to as: Enterprise information management, Information resources management, or Business intelligence, especially in connection with relevant software.  See also: Content management, Information literacy, Information scientist, Information system, Knowledge management

Information mining, see Data mining

Information overload refers to the existence of, and ease of access to, bewildering amounts of Information, more than can be effectively absorbed or processed by an individual.  It often results in an obsessive addiction to new information in an attempt to clarify matters.  This may induce a continual state of distraction which leads to loss of productivity and interrupts social activities.  It is also known as Information fatigue syndrome and, more colloquially, as Infoglut or Datasmog; 

 Information resources management (IRM), see Information management

Information science, see Informatics, Information scientist

Information scientist is one whose role is to assemble and evaluate Information (in whatever form it happens to be and from whatever source it comes), to interpret it, and to communicate it to whoever wants it in an appropriately packaged form.  See also: Information management, Knowledge management

Information system refers to the applications and software that perform business functions or support key processes.  Performance criteria concern the quality and functionality of the software, its flexibility, and the speed and cost of development and maintenance. 

Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage, and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual, or numerical Information using computers and telecommunications.  It is mainly concerned with the flow of information through networks.  Primary criteria for business performance are ease of use, reliability, and responsiveness.  See also: Mociology, Network, Technological fusion

Information visualisation, see Visualisation

Information warfare consists of those actions intended to protect, exploit, corrupt, deny, or destroy Information or information resources in order to achieve a significant advantage, objective, or victory over a Competitor.  See also: Disinformation, Social engineering

Informative abstract is an abbreviated, objective, accurate condensation indicating work done, assumptions made, methods used, observations recorded, results obtained, and conclusions reached.  Usually applying to a scientific or technical Report or paper, it would not normally incorporate either interpretation or comment and is written in the active voice and past tense.  See also: Abstract, Document, Indicative abstract, Summary, Synopsis. 

Informed flexibility, see Scenario planning

Informetrics is the application of mathematical and statistical techniques to a broad range of social and organisational activities in an attempt to analyse trends and developments in society and in business.  The term incorporates Bibliometrics.  See also: Market intelligence, Predictive analytics

Infoviz is the colloquial expression for Information visualisation.  See Visualisation.   

Innovation, a major focus of Knowledge management, incorporates all those activities necessary to adopt or diffuse an existing Technology, or transform an idea or Invention into a problem-solving or marketable device, process, product, service, or technique. It usually occurs as a result of the combination of Explicit and Tacit Knowledge.  Innovation is sometimes referred to as Knowledge conversion.  It has been shown that successful, innovative firms have certain characteristics in common; these include:

         excellent communications (particularly with the outside world);

         a willingness to seek Information from the most profitable sources and share it, both internally and externally (through, say, joint ventures or licensing agreements);

         the provision of appropriate rewards for identifying and using new ideas. 

See also: Commercialisation, Communication, Creativity, Development, Diffusion, Entrepreneur, Extension service, Intellectual property, Intrapreneur, Joint venture, Social network analysis, Technology transfer

Insight refers to the creation of a new mental model; it occurs when new information influences or changes an existing Concept.  See also: Knowledge

Intangible assets, see Intellectual capital, Knowledge assets.  See also: Balanced scorecard, Intellectual property

Integrated services digital network (ISDN) is a digital telephone network that allows users to transmit and receive computer-based Information and Data of all types. 

Intellectual assets, see Intellectual capital

*Intellectual capital refers to the total Knowledge within an organisation that may be converted into value, or used to produce a higher value asset.  The term embodies the knowledge and expertise of employees; brands; customer information and relationships; contracts; internal processes, methods, and technologies; and Intellectual property.  It equates, very approximately, to the difference between the book value and the market value of a company.  Intellectual capital is also referred to as Intellectual assets, Intangible assets, or Invisible assets.  See also: Content management, Human capital, Knowledge management, Structural capital. 

Intellectual property refers to the definition and recording of a novel device, product, process, or technique so that it may be bought, sold, or legally protected.  The main forms of protection take the form of Copyright, licenses, patents, registered designs, trademarks, and trade secrets.  It is that portion of Intellectual capital that can be protected by law.  See also: Corporate security, Counterintelligence, Creative industries, Design, Diffusion, Human capital, Innovation, Invention, Knowledge assets, Knowledge base, Patent, Patent specification, Registered design, Trademark, Trade secret

Intelligence is high-level, processed, exploitable Information.  See also: Business intelligence, Competitive intelligence, Intelligence analysis, Knowledge, Knowledge management, Market intelligence, Synthesis, Technological intelligence,  

*Intelligence analysis is the systematic examination of any combination of relevant Data, Information, and Knowledge for applicability or significance, and the transformation of the results into actionable Intelligence that will improve Planning and decision-making or enable the development of strategies that offer a sustainable Competitive advantage.  The most profitable or beneficial Analysis calls for Creativity and Insight; which implies an ability to look beyond the obvious.  It is sometimes referred to as Strategic analysis.  See also: Business intelligence, Competitive intelligence, Competitive monitoring, Content management, Knowledge management, Strategic early warning, Strategy, Synthesis

Intelligence audit is an examination of an organisation's current level of Intelligence activities with the objective of improving those operations in order to gain, and maintain, a significant Competitive advantage.  It involves:

         identifying those people engaged in intelligence or related operations, together with their levels of expertise;

         locating collections of Information, as well as other relevant resources, concerning the organisationís Business environment;

         establishing a set of Key intelligence topics or ascertaining management intelligence needs. 

Intelligence briefing may either be an oral or written presentation designed to provide accurate, impartial, and timely Intelligence - together with an indication of its implications and recommendations for action - in a concise and easily assimilated form.  See also: Briefing, Debriefing, Gisting, Report

Intelligence library may be either a separate entity or housed in a War room.  In contrast to the more usual in-house libraries, it should act as a directory, not a repository.  In other words, it may contain such items as directories and Professional association membership lists; a collection of major competitorsí Trade literature; Competitor, Market, or country files; Seminar and Conference brochures; lists of Internet sources; and a Thesaurus or Taxonomy together with a Glossary of terms.  See also: Directory. 

Intelligent agents are software programs that are capable of assisting their users by performing predefined tasks on their behalf.  They may, for example, automatically, and simultaneously, monitor a number of Web sites in order to identify, filter, and collect relevant Information; and subsequently recognise patterns or other significant combinations of information; report the results to the user; and offer suggestions to solve a specific problem, draw inferences, or determine appropriate actions.  See also: Artificial intelligence, Search engine, Spider, Web site

Intelligent network is programmed to allocate a priority rating to, and the subsequent handling of, Information on that net. 

Internalisation involves the conversion of Explicit knowledge to Tacit knowledge through a learning process.  See also: Combination, Externalisation, Knowledge management, Socialisation

International trade involves exports to, and imports from, countries outside national territorial limits.  See also: Commerce, Offset arrangements

Internet is an international public computer Network based on the popular network standard TCP/IPS (Transmission control protocol/Internet protocol suite) with no single owner or government involvement.  It provides infrastructure for Electronic mail, electronic bulletin boards, File storage, Document transfer, Login to remote computers, distributed processing of large programs, access to the World Wide Web, and the handling of Multimedia documents.  See also: Browser, Bulletin board system, Intranet, Network

Internet governance is the development and application by governments, the private sector, and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.  See also: World Wide Web

Internet protocol suite (IPS), see Transmission control protocol (TCP) 

Internet relay chat (IRC) is a huge, multi-user live chat facility.  Private channels may be created for multi-person Conference calls. 

Internet service provider (ISP) is a company selling access to the Internet.  See also: Point-to-point protocol

Intranet is any dedicated, privately owned computer Network that is based on the same standards and protocols (TCP/IP) as the Internet and which provides an inexpensive publishing platform for its owner. Applications might include Electronic mail, electronic access to company documents (including, for example, company files or internal directories and databases, debriefings or After action reviews, examples of best practice), and video communications, with the aim being to facilitate collaboration and information sharing.  An intranet usually offers access to the Internet, suitably protected to prevent unauthorised access from outside.  See also:  Database, Debriefing, Directory, Document, Enterprise information portal, Groupware, Knowledge management, Learning organisation, Transmission control protocol

Intrapreneur is an Entrepreneur operating within a corporate environment.  See also: Innovation

Invention is the act of creating a novel device, method, product, process, or technique.  See also: Creativity, Innovation, Intellectual property, Patent, Patent specification Trade secret

Invisible assets, see Intellectual capital, Intellectual property, Knowledge assets

Invisible Web is that portion (estimated to be between 60 and 80 per cent) of total Web content that consists of material that is not accessible by standard Search engines.  It is usually to be found embedded within secure sites, or consists of archived material.  Much of the Information may, however, be accessed through a Library gateway, a Vortal, or a fee-based Database service.  

Islands of data, see Data mart.



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