ICT jargon is funny. Names come and go, mostly before they ever reach the state of maturity. Some topics and/or names are hot this year and totally taboo the next. Then of course there are silly names that do not properly describe what they actually are, but for some reason are generally used. The various subtopics of intelligence are no exception. You have Business Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence, Marketing Intelligence, Competitor Intelligence, Enterprise Intelligence, et cetera. In a way they describe what they actually are, but a lot of people do not use them properly anymore. And with properly I suppose I mean that they lost the original meaning somewhere along the path. Business Intelligence for example is now commonly seen as a reporting solution for management information, accompanied by a datawarehouse. But is that really what it is about?
The same goes for Marketing Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence and Competitor Intelligence. They are often mixed and it is hard to find the definition for any of them. They are not as commonly accepted as for example Business Intelligence, which adds to the confusion.
The good thing about the topics is that people roughly know what you are talking about. The downside is that people rapidly think they know what you are talking about.
Before you start getting excited, I am not going to take away any confusion. There is no one best definition, but of course after a while the majority of people will follow a definition, not necessarily the best. Personally I share Rodenberg’s vision on intelligence at a high level. He states that the sum of your internal view (Business Intelligence) and your external view (Competitive Intelligence) is your total view. He calls it Enterprise Intelligence. But isn’t that the same as Business Intelligence if you interpret it literally? Personally I prefer to call the sum of BI and CI just Intelligence. Your left eye plus your right eye equals your eyes. It’s that simple.
Rodenberg’s well known figure on Enterprise Intelligence
Read Rodenberg’s article on Enterprise Intelligence on Kennisportal.com (Dutch).