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A company is a bit like a beehive. Each employee, sometimes without realising it, gathers information like a bee gathers pollen. The monitoring process then enables this information to be shared, enriched and capitalised on internally. Over the months, this mass of disparate information is transformed and enriched until it forms a knowledge base accumulated by the company about its market, its competitors, and its technological or regulatory environment. From then on, it constitutes a highly valuable intangible asset for the company: just as pollen becomes honey thanks to meticulous organisation and incredibly effective communication. It is this organisation that enables the hive to survive and prosper. In your business, it’s the methods that combine strategic intelligence with Knowledge Management that will enable you to grow and stay competitive.

Knowledge Management: definitions and challenges

From the beehive to the enterprise: the importance of Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management is not a recent concept, far from it. Born in the 90s, this discipline has rapidly established itself as a strategic lever for companies, particularly innovative ones. The Davenport Group defines Knowledge Management as « the systematic use of a company’s knowledge to improve its operations« .

Companies such as L’Oréal, Babolat, Adisseo, Schneider and Airbus are renowned for their culture of innovation and their ability to adapt quickly to market changes. To achieve this, they use intelligence and knowledge management tools to share skills and expertise among their employees, wherever they are located in France or around the world. Internal communities of practice or communities organised around a project can collaborate, enrich the decisions to be taken and capitalise on the knowledge accumulated by the group over the past months and years.

Other tools, such as in-house wikis or discussion forums, can also be used to capitalise on existing knowledge and make it accessible to everyone. It is this ability to transform the information gathered into useful knowledge that will make your company a leader in its market. And a magnificent beehive too.

From intelligence to Knowledge Management: a natural evolution and a valuable intangible asset!

Monitoring is first and foremost a way of capturing raw data, information that could potentially have an impact on strategy and its management. More generally, intelligence is the process by which information is collected, analysed and disseminated within the organisation. It enables the company to keep abreast of the latest market trends, technological developments, competitor movements and many other key factors such as regulations and standards.

This information is systematically analysed, categorised and enhanced. It can trigger specific actions (industrial property action, production of an overview or state of the art (IZINOV), etc.).

Projects will materialise, decisions will be taken, reports will be written, etc.

This knowledge, if materialised and established as part of a genuine capitalisation process, will help to document future decisions, and constitutes a genuine intangible asset for managers, the end product of effective information and knowledge management. Here are a few common examples of intangible assets as encountered in companies:

  • A knowledge base on competitors, markets, customers, etc.
  • A complete portfolio of industrial property rights (patents, trademarks, etc.)
  • An organisational culture, methods, processes, etc.
  • A network, contacts and address book
  • The know-how of your employees

    These examples show that the challenge is not just to gather relevant information. You also need to give it a structure to simplify access and make it genuinely useful for future decisions.

    Otherwise, companies (and this is still all too often the case) devote considerable financial effort (tools, databases, staff time, etc.) to monitoring activities that are scattered throughout the company, unstructured, and which lose all value once the employee in charge of the file leaves the company. If you don’t organise these relatively simple and inexpensive activities properly, your company is in for some serious disappointment.

    But fortunately, you don’t have to be L’Oréal or AirBus to reap the benefits of a structured approach to intelligence and knowledge management.

Without structured intelligence and its extension into a Knowledge Management system, companies are condemned to taking risks and failing to learn from their past successes or failures.


Corporate intelligence: an often untapped treasure trove

Why don’t all companies succeed in transforming their intelligence into a valuable, value-generating intangible asset?

A pharmaceutical company was trying to understand why it had been surprised by the arrival on the market of a product competing directly with its own product portfolio. During the feedback session organised shortly afterwards, the managers and directors were somewhat disillusioned to discover that they had all the weak signals that should have alerted them to the problem at least 18 months earlier: patent applications, clinical trials, then registration of a brand name, etc. But these were scattered and not added to.

But the information was scattered and not added to, and each department kept it without thinking about consolidating it into a more cross-functional knowledge base.

Even more frustratingly, the same competitor had already pulled off a similar ‘coup’ on another product range a few years earlier. This retex was in the heads of the older staff… but not available to a manager or a watchdog newer to the company.

One of the reasons for this is the lack of structure in the monitoring work. In the absence of a clear strategy and coordination between the various stakeholders, intelligence can easily be relegated to an isolated, unstructured and ultimately ineffective task.

Many companies in all sectors often illustrate this situation.

Many engineers and managers carry out in-depth research into specific subjects and spend a great deal of time doing so. However, in the absence of coordination, the knowledge acquired in this way is often not shared (or not in a sufficiently structured way) with the rest of the team. It is sometimes stored on an individual hard drive or in Excel files that are sometimes very personally organised… And it disappears or is unusable when the employee who created it leaves the company.

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence. And an activity that is carried out seriously on an individual level struggles to generate real value on a collective level.

The illusion of easy information: the trap of the digital age

The age of the Internet and easy information has radically changed the situation. Today, companies have access to an almost unlimited amount of information. But this abundance of information cuts both ways. Without a structured intelligence strategy, companies can easily become overwhelmed by this mass of information. This can lead to a paradoxical situation where they can be overwhelmed by information and at the same time be unable to transform it into knowledge that is directly useful for decision-making, or to mobilise it to deal with alerts identified around a weak signal.

IPMetrix: a simple, powerful tool for transforming business intelligence into a genuine intangible asset

IPMetrix: a lever for transformation

There are tools that can help companies overcome these challenges. IPMetrix business intelligence software is one of them. Thanks to its many capitalisation and collaboration functions, it enables companies to structure their intelligence, to generate genuine strategic intelligence on a given field or market, and also to capitalise on their knowledge so that it remains available at the heart of the company’s strategic management.

For SME managers and R&D directors alike, IPMetrix can quickly become a major asset. It allows you to structure your strategic intelligence work and transform it into a genuine intangible asset. The knowledge acquired and enriched over the months and years is stored in IPMetrix and remains easily accessible to all other current and future members of the company… It’s hard to do this well with Excel.

A simple and powerful capitalisation tool

IPMetrix is more than just a monitoring tool. It’s a true knowledge management platform that literally creates a strategic knowledge base for your future decisions and projects. Once you’ve set up your watch, all the analyses, in-depth analyses, panoramas and maps you add become the foundation of your knowledge base.

With IPMetrix, your intelligence is capitalized on and shared, helping to strengthen your company’s knowledge base so that it can be easily mobilized when the time comes.

« The future is already here, it’s just badly distributed ».

Like pollen for the bee, information is your most precious asset. But it’s only precious if you know how to transform it and bring it to life. Your sources of information and knowledge need to be leveraged, so that when the time comes, your intelligence can help you make informed strategic decisions. It’s the role of Knowledge Management, and tools like IPMetrix, to make a significant contribution to this.

The future belongs to companies that know how to turn their structured intelligence into a strategic asset by capitalizing on the knowledge they acquire. The honey of the digital beehive is within reach of those who know how to extract it. As the science-fiction writer William Gibson said: « The future is already here – it’s just badly distributed ». It’s up to each company to give itself the means to capture its share.



Author y.belrhiti-alaoui

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