Welcome to Goodbye Information, Hello Intelligence, a monthly coffee chat hosted by leadership at Cipher Systems to uncover nuggets of wisdom from the world's foremost competitive intelligence leaders.
The following are notes from Goodbye Information, Hello Intelligence: Episode 01. The goal of these informal interviews is to spotlight various experts in the world of Competitive Intelligence.
In this episode, John Booth—VP of Marketing at Cipher—and Peter Grimm—President of Cipher—speak to Mike Myers. Mike is the Lead Competitive Intelligence Analyst at USAA and the incoming President at the Society of Insurance Research (SIR). He has an esteemed and noteworthy background as a Lead Competitive Intelligence Analyst. You can learn more and connect with Mike Myers on LinkedIn.
Watch the video conversation here, or check out the summary or full transcript below.
Mike is a certified competitive intelligence professional (CIP I & II) with diverse experience in innovation, industry research, strategic planning, program management, process engineering and varied roles in the Air Force.
Some of his strengths include:
The opinions expressed in this episode by Mike are his own, and not those of a brand or company.
The Society of Insurance Research (SIR) was founded in 1970 to provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas in all areas of insurance research. It has expanded to marketing and planning, as well as research. The Society includes representation from; insurance and non-insurance companies, government agencies, institutions of higher education, and trade associations. The individual Members come from equally divergent areas such as actuarial, agency, claims, consumer relations, corporate planning, education, financial planning, government relations, management consulting, information services, marketing and sales, modeling, operations, product development and analysis, reinsurance, risk management, statistical research and underwriting. Providing regular and valuable communications between these individuals and organizations is a major purpose of the Society.
Discover how a top insurance company was able to use their competitive intelligence software to stay ahead during the onset of COVID-19.
Not only are there identifiable trends that impact or relate to CI, there seems to be an acceleration of trends that were already in play. Among other things, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted almost every industry in the market. In a way, the poised-for-growth fields of digital health and telemedicine were forced onto center stage.
Digital transformation has been put on a fast track. The pace of change was fast, getting faster and has now hit an exponential growth trajectory.
“Change at the pace of COVID” is a term people are beginning to use in the competitive intelligence industry. At the recent SIR virtual conference, Mike and his team discussed the digitization of insurance and customer experiences. Plans to make digital improvements have now been mandated.
The socially distanced world allows no complacency. As researchers, the implications of these changes from leadership cascade downhill directly to us. Knowing how soon consumers will adopt new ways of interacting with insurers, knowing whether or not risks are changing over time and other factors are immensely relevant.
For example, the life insurance industry has been trying to eliminate friction from the acquisition process by replacing medical exams with accelerated underwriting. Instead of collecting blood and fluids, etc. to assess an individual's health, carriers are trying to use health data from electronic health records and third-party data. In today's COVID environment, social distancing requirements make this even more important. Another trend caused by social distancing is the increased use of telemedicine. However, a recent report from SCOR indicates telemedicine may introduce gaps into the health record so carriers may need to adapt their new processes to the changing environment.
It’s a rapidly changing world and every industry must adapt to new information and research.
Coming through digital transformation, there is the potential to discover a lot more digitally. As a result of changing work habits and using digital workforces, there are new ways of distributing work and accessing content. The barriers between home and work start to come down as workers are wired into a lot more sources. There is a lot of information available.
Every day, in the news, in the paper, through online sources, in knowledge management portals, in subscriptions, there is a massive influx of data. Making sense of it: synthesizing it, boiling it down and getting it to the right person when they need it is becoming even more critical.
In CI teams we are really seeing the implementation of more processes. It is no longer sufficient to issue biannual reports. There must be a context for knowing what has been committed to and what changes are in play. Then, the data has to get to the right decision makers so they can adapt.
The aforementioned pace of digital transformation means this process has to be done more and faster.
Find success in the world of competitive analysis
There have been rumblings of AI replacing human analysts for decades now. Experts at Cipher realize that AI enhances efficiency but there are judgment calls that can only be made by humans. However, with the new volume of work in this dynamic environment, workload and capacity are central to the discussion.
The demand is greater than ever. And yet, there hasn’t been a noticeable or well-publicized uptick in hiring. Generally, technology can make the people already on staff more efficient. The right technology can distill content in a meaningful way. That said, the analyst still has to maintain the lines of communication with decision-makers. This is essential to understanding the relevance, timing, strategy, commitments and other fluid components that determine whether data is important.
Intelligence is a force multiplier. Instead of adding more CI bodies, resources can be more efficient through the use of technology sources. Replaced entirely? Unlikely.
John has more than 25 years of experience as an accomplished marketing and sales professional and is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the marketing function at Cipher. Prior to joining Cipher, John co-founded a national marketing agency providing companies with digital marketing and sales support, driving lead generation and increased sales for B2B and B2C clients.