How to Overcome Information Overload to Make Smarter Decisions

August 02, 2017  CI SoftwareCompetitive Intelligence

Lessons learned from the Defense One Tech Summit in Washington, DC on July 13, 2017

  • Developments in information technology have irreversibly changed the way business is done.

  • The explosion of data, and of exploitable data sources, pose both an opportunity and a threat to commercial entities. 

  • Software solutions that facilitate searching, reviewing, organizing, storing, retrieving, and reporting on varied information sources is invaluable for managing information overload.

Technologist Alec Ross (pictured right), a former Senior Advisor for Innovation at the Department of State, and a declared candidate for governor of Maryland, is the author of the book, The Industries of the Future. Speaking on July 13th at the Defense One Tech Summit in Washington, DC, Ross outlined how the basis of power has shifted over time:

  • during the Agricultural Age, the basis of power was land;
  • during the Industrial Age, it was iron and machinery;
  • today, in the Information Age, the basis of power is data.

Today, Ross said, power derives from the ability to own, control, and harvest data.

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  Changing the Way Business Operates

Developments in information technology have not only been the primary drivers of globalization, but have also irreversibly changed the way business is done and the way in which organizations are structured and operate. Who has power, how that power is wielded, and within what normative framework, is changing, Ross said. As an example, Ross pointed to the expansion of Amazon – originally an online book seller – into a variety of unexpected business areas.

The teleological growth in the amount of data is stunning; Ross observed that 90% of the world’s data has been produced in just the past two years, and the sum of all data produced between the age of cave drawings and the year 2003 is equivalent to the amount of data currently being generated every two years.

  Addressing the Data Explosion

The explosion of data, and of exploitable data sources, pose both an opportunity and a threat to commercial entities whose competitive edge depends on being able to make smarter, faster decisions than their peer competitors. Not surprisingly, companies large and small now grapple with the daunting problem of information overload. A multinational firm like DuPont addressed the information overload problem by having a dedicated, full-time competitive intelligence (CI) team harvest, filter, de-duplicate, tag, classify, and database open source information derived from news, research publications, patents, government reports, and online information.

Not all companies have the resources available to field a dedicated, full-time professional CI team; in a resource constrained environment, it is therefore essential to make the most productive use of the people, resources, and time that can be dedicated to CI.

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  Strategies for Mitigating Information Overload

Having an easy-to-use information acquisition and management tool that facilitates searching, reviewing, organizing, storing, retrieving, and reporting on varied information sources is invaluable. Cipher’s Knowledge360® not only automates the tasks of searching for and acquiring open source information, it also greatly simplifies the associated CI tasks of triaging, storing, retrieving, and reporting information to organizational decision-makers and stakeholders.

Furthermore, our team of in-house CI consultants acts as the premier partner of CI and decision support services for the world’s greatest companies. With the right software solution and mix of outside support, companies no longer need an enterprise-sized budget to accurately assess their market and make strategic decisions.

Start a conversation with our team today to get the support you need managing information overload and making smarter, faster strategic decisions.

Would you like to learn more about our Knowledge360® solution? 

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Insights from Fred Hoffman, Director of Research at Cipher - Following a 30-year career as an intelligence collector and information operations practitioner in the US Army and multiple civilian intelligence organizations, Fred now draws upon his broad experience in worldwide intelligence collection, information operations, corporate personnel and intellectual property protection to support both government and commercial clients.


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