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Real-World Intelligence: Organized Information for Executives.

Real-World Intelligence: Organized Information for Exectives

Meyer's slender opus purports to be the first book to answer three questions for the business executive: What is intelligence? How does it function? How can we apply it to our business? For less than 16 cents per page, any business executive can look up the answers. A search through the six brief chapters doesn't take long.

Meyer defines intelligence simply as organized information about work developments and their significance to decision makers in government or business. From the outset, Meyer clearly states that he does not intend to address the issue of competitor intelligence. Nor does he have anything to say about protecting company secrets.

Meyer regards intelligence as another management tool available to business executives. Meyer's thesis is this: "American business executives, take note: At a time when our country is scrambling to become as internationally competitive as possible, a grasp of how to use intelligence as a management tool can make all the difference to the fate of your company or enterprise."

The book's purpose is evident from the simplicity of this statement. Real-World Intelligence is intended to be a primer on business intelligence for US executives. Vice chairman of the National Intelligence Committee under the late CIA Director William Casey, Meyer attempts to show that the principles of national intelligence collection, management, analysis, and production can be applied effectively in the business world. An executive has the same relative need for organized information about the business world as the nation's top decision makers have for intelligence on real-world developments.

Meyer's perspective is global. His target audience is US business executives engaged in international markets. Economic, military, political, social, scientific, and technological developments anywhere in the global business community need to be analyzed and interpreted for the senior business executive, just as they are for the President of the United States.

Meyer illustrates his point with an uncannily prescient hypothetical situation: riots break out in East Germany. He shows first how national intelligence services would hypothetically analyze and interpret events for their respective national leaders.

Next, he shows how business intelligence units of hypothetical international companies might perform the same functions for senior executives. The main lesson Meyer draws from his illustration is that "raw information [is] enhanced, refined, shaped, and distributed to meet the unique needs of one specific [intelligence] consumer."

Meyer contends that in government or business, intelligence involves four steps: selecting whatever raw information is considered necessary, collecting the information, transforming it into finished products, and distributing the finished products to policymakers. For the entire four-step cycle to be successful, it must be carried out by experts in a dedicated subordinate element of the company. Whether part of the marketing department, strategic planning office, or another company subdivision, the intelligence outfit should become an indispensable part of any business enterprise, especially one with global aspirations.

To be effective, the intelligence unit must be managed like any other business or manufacturing process. Meyer points out that managing an intelligence outfit - a phrase repeated with irritating frequency throughout the book - involves certain frustrations and risks. These disadvantages are far outweighed, however by the benefits of the real-world intelligence a senior business executive can actually use to advantage.

For senior executives totally unfamiliar with the concept of intelligence, Real-World Intelligence may be useful as a basic introduction. Most security managers will find nothing new or surprising. Former government intelligence officers will take heart reading Meyer's prediction that in the future "the increased use of business intelligence will fuel the emergence of more intelligence-consulting firms." This development could provide those former government intelligence officers with "better jobs, more pay, and improved working conditions." If Meyer's prediction about intelligence consulting is as prescient as his scenario about East Germany, he will make a lot of former government intelligence officials happy.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Society for Industrial Security
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Rauter, Thomas C.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Previous Article:Modern Security and Loss Prevention Management.
Next Article:Private Security and the Law.

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