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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


*Tacit knowledge is the product of interaction between people, or between people and their environment.  It refers to Knowledge that is gained only experientially and, therefore, cannot be readily articulated or explained to inexperienced parties (for example, drawing, painting, writing, tying a knot, Planning, decision-making).  An individual will acquire tacit knowledge only by gathering Information, relating it to existing knowledge, and accumulating experience; it involves judgment, intuition, and common sense.  In groups, tacit knowledge exists in the practices and relationships that develop through working together over time.  The major challenges are in its recognition, sharing, and management.   See also: Content management, Corporate culture, Implicit knowledge, Intellectual capital, Intellectual property, Know-how, Knowledge management, Meme. 

Tactical intelligence is Knowledge about an organisationís Business environment that has implications for its viability and success in the immediate future.  It often concerns such matters as Marketing, promotion, pricing and positioning. 

Tactical planning is that aspect of organisational Planning which covers the immediate future, that is, up to about one year from the present time.  See also: Business planning, Operational planning, Scenario planning, Strategic planning

Tactical research involves the application of established scientific Knowledge and methods to the short-term solution of practical problems.  See also: Research, Strategic research

Tactics are the activities necessary for implementation of the Strategy in order to gain advantage or success.   

Target market is a group of people for whom a specific Marketing mix is created.  See also: Market

*Taxonomy, in its original form, refers to the science of the classification of living and extinct organisms.  In modern parlance, it applies to any system or software designed to organise Information or Knowledge so that it may be more easily stored, maintained, and retrieved.  It usually reflects the language and culture of a specific enterprise or industry and acts as the authority for identifying documents and the content of knowledge maps.  A taxonomy is often created by reference to several thesauri, classification schemes, or indexes using a combination of human intellectual effort and specialised software. 

A taxonomy offers a means of classifying documents and other items of information into hierarchical groups to make them easier to identify, locate, and retrieve.  It consists of a structure (or Thesaurus), which embodies the terms and their relationships, and a set of applications, which provide the means to identify and locate the information.  See also: Annotation, Classification scheme, Classify, Content management, Controlled vocabulary, Corporate culture, Document, Folksonomy, Hierarchical classification, Index, Indexing, Knowledge management, Knowledge map, Metadata, Notation, Ontology, Topic maps

Team is a group of people nominated to carry out a specific task, and which usually disbands upon completion.  Each individualís role and level of participation is clearly defined.  Some or all of the members of a team may, however, subsequently develop into a Community of practice.  Teams of seven or fewer are best suited to making considered decisions by consensus. 

Technological change refers to the whole, or any part, of the process from Invention, through Innovation, Technology transfer, Diffusion, to supercession, of machines, tools, products, processes, and techniques, with the emphasis being on the sociological implications of innovation. 

Technological fusion involves the merging of different areas of Technology; for example, Information technology is the combination of computer and telecommunication technologies.  See also: Burotics, Mechatronics, Telematics

Technological intelligence is a subdivision of Business intelligence covering those technical activities that are concerned with translating Research findings or other scientific Knowledge into devices, materials, products, processes, or services.  See also: Intelligence

Technology is the scientific study of the practical or industrial arts, or the organisation of Knowledge for the achievement of practical purposes.  See also: Advanced technologies

Technology assessment aims to evaluate the social and environmental costs, the probable detrimental effects, and the potential benefits of Technological change

Technology forecasting is used to analyse the potential of a Technology as compared to the alternatives.  It helps users to determine the appropriate timing and level of investment in current and developing technologies. 

Technology park is a development, usually established under government auspices, designed to accommodate enterprises engaged in the commercial application of Advanced technologies.  It may offer ancillary services such as Research and development facilities, Information resources, office support, and access to Marketing expertise.  See also: Science park

Technology transfer involves the transfer of scientific Knowledge towards practical and useful applications; or the process whereby innovations find applications in fields not originally envisaged for them.  See also: Commercialisation, Communication, Creativity, Development, Diffusion, Extension service, Innovation, Science park

Teleconferencing refers to any system that employs telecommunication links as an integral aspect of Conference operation. 

Telematics refers to the fusion of several technologies that are mainly covered by the terms telecommunication, computer engineering, Data processing, data-transmission techniques, Burotics, and office technology.  See also: Technological fusion

Teletext is a Data broadcasting service in which pre-programmed sequences of frames of data are broadcast cyclically, and a user, equipped with a standard television receiver and a special decoder, selects the desired frames for viewing. 

Teleworking is the process of enabling work to be conducted from any place at any time through the use of telecommunications links. 

Text mining is a software program for extracting essential concepts and clarifying the meaning of a large volume of text.  See also: Concept, Data mining

*Thesaurus is a list of terms, or authorised descriptors, used to provide a Controlled vocabulary for Information storage and retrieval.  It shows hierarchical (broader, narrower), synonymous, and other related terms, and often incorporates scope notes.  These latter clarify the meaning of the term or give guidance on its use.  A thesaurus may also include a Notation as an aid to Indexing.   

A thesaurus is a controlled and dynamic vocabulary of semantically and generically related terms that cover a specific domain of Knowledge.  It represents a richer and much more powerful tool than does a Taxonomy for descriptive purposes.  See also: Annotation, Classification scheme, Classify, Content management, Descriptor, Hierarchical classification, Index, Knowledge management, Metadata, Ontology, Topic maps

Threats are unfavourable events or circumstances that may hinder the company in the achievement of its objectives.  See also: Strategic early warning, SWOT analysis. 

Ties refers to the relationships between individuals and groups engaged in Networking.  See also: Nodes, Social network analysis

Time bomb, see Virus

*Topic maps are designed to facilitate the organisation and navigation of large information collections through the use of an open (non-controlled) vocabulary using topics, associations, and occurrences.  A topic may represent any Concept, including subject, person, place, organisation, and event.  Associations represent the relationships between those concepts; and occurrences represent relevant information resources. Although sometimes used when referring to an Ontology, Taxonomy, or Thesaurus, it may, in fact, incorporate any combination of these.  See also: Content management, Controlled vocabulary, Knowledge map, Metadata, Mind maps, Semantic networks, Visualisation. 

Total quality management (TQM) is a management philosophy embracing all activities through which the needs and expectations of the customer and the community, and the objectives of the organisation, are satisfied in the most efficient and cost-effective way by maximising the potential of all employees in a continuous drive for improvement.  See also: Management fad

Trade, see International trade.  See also Commerce

Trade literature is produced by individual companies, primarily to instruct or inform existing and potential buyers.  It includes sales pamphlets, advertising brochures, promotional material, product or parts catalogues, maintenance or instruction manuals, handbooks, user guides, data sheets, and certain in-house journals or newsletters.  See also: Grey literature

Trade secret is Information (including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process) that derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and is a subject of efforts, that are reasonable under the circumstances, to maintain its secrecy. 

Or, more simply, a trade secret is anything which:

         confers a competitive advantage on its owner;

         is subject to reasonable measures to prevent its disclosure;

         is not generally known in the industry or business in which it is used or practiced. 

Generally speaking, to legally qualify as a trade secret, the information supporting a new product, process, or plan must be:

         documented or readily identifiable;


         disclosed on a need-to-know basis;

         known to be a secret. 

See also: Corporate security, Intellectual property, Knowledge assets

Trade show intelligence is the systematic collection and Analysis of exploitable Information, from any source and in any format or medium, at any event where products and services, or information about them, are openly displayed; as well as prevention of its collection by others.   

Trademark is a word, name, device, sign or symbol used by manufacturers to distinguish their products from similar products made by others.  See also: Intellectual property

Transmission control protocol/Internet protocol suite (TCP/IPS) is the suite of protocols that defines the Internet.  Originally designed for the UNIX operating system, they are now available for every major kind of computer operating system.  TCP ensures proper delivery of Data; IP directs Information through the Network.   

Trojan is similar to a Virus.  It usually consists of an insidious program hidden in a seemingly innocuous File, which is designed to infiltrate a computer system and deliberately cause damage; but it cannot propagate itself.  

Truncate means to shorten a word by omitting letters from the end and, when used as a search term, effectively broadens the scope of the search.  For example, Defen*, would retrieve all words beginning with the chosen letters, such as: Defence, Defenceless, Defend, Defendable, Defendant, Defender, Defenestration, Defense, Defensible, Defensive.   Also referred to as Stemming.  See also: Explode.



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