The Alchemy of Soft Intelligence

May 31, 2018

Gathering Soft Intelligence is easy. Yes, that’s right it is easy, there are many methods available to do this; apps, surveys, incident logs etc. However, making this intelligence meaningful and actionable is another matter. How many interactions have occurred via any of the aforementioned mediums and missed the main point? What do I mean?

Well, take a survey for instance and think of the free text options, nowadays we have all sorts of technology out there to convert that into meaningful data but is that data ever actionable or usable? I would suggest it usually starts a further line of questioning, but let’s face it that doesn’t always take place, and even worse not all the points are well understood or collated into a useful or reliable format.

Free Text can sometimes be ambiguous or seem arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, which can make analysts overlook information or simply ignore. When I look at any free text information, I like to think it all can be converted into actionable data using a few techniques.

  1. Consistency, consistency, consistency. Have a solid consistent approach to data collection and processing. This will create categorisation and identification of what is being reported, meaning the data will be clearer to everyone.
  2. Make it relevant to each organisation. Make sure the structure and activity of the organisation is abundantly clear so data can be aligned to the business activity so not only is the data consistent and easy to find but it is also relevant to the company in question.
  3. Structure your data. Make sure there are the correct relationships between each data set so that there can be broad overviews as well as more in depth assessments.
  4. Investigate. Never be shy to dig into information to get to the real issue, this way you can be certain the data captured is turned into a meaningful end-product. Sometimes what people are saying is the problem is not really the problem, now getting to the bottom of that is fascinating and definitely another blog topic for another day, but in short always ask questions.

If you have the right data collection methods and correct processes for converting the information into actionable data you can turn scrap metal into gold.

At Soft Intelligence we are experienced in the gathering of soft intelligence and presenting it in a way that will help organisations understand what is really going on within their companies and start getting things perfect. Remember Soft Intelligence is Business Intelligence fuelled by people, which is the most powerful type of business intelligence, remember if you wait until the balance sheet tells you there is a problem, it is too late.

 

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