White mage vs black mage

If we live in a world where information drives what we do, the information we get becomes the most important thing. The person who chooses that information has power.
Seth Godin (author of “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us”, “Small Is the New Big”, “All Marketers Are Liars”)

As we have seen in the blog-series Industrial Espionage versus Business Intelligence (part 1 see here), in our modern information society and the technology-intensive market of nowadays, a statement of Benjamin Disraeli (former prime minister of the UK) from the 19th century is standing stronger than ever: “As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information”.

It is not hard to accept the truth behind this quote. Just imagine the worth of information in the following trivial (or not-so-trivial) cases:

  • Learning the winning lottery numbers 3 days before the draw
  • Learning a year ahead of which areas are going to be re-classified from agricultural to residential area
  • Learning that the Swiss Federal Bank is going to end the 1,20-tied exchange rate between the Swiss Frank and the Euro on the 10th of January 2015, 3 days in advance of the actual correction.

Many want to make use of such timely information, even if gained by an illegal or unfair way. Insider dealing, insider trading, use of inside information are a few of those. These less-than-proper methods set aside, not collecting, processing, analyzing and utilizing the legally available information and data is suicide for a company. And as much as companies are not aware of the threat of industrial espionage for themselves, they are also unaware of the potentials business intelligence could provide for the company.

As it had been already referenced, 70-90% of the valuable business information collected were found to be legally accessible for anyone (white) according to investigations on industrial espionage.

Business intelligence and industrial espionages is similar to sorcery. One may be a white-mage, using its knowledge in a moral, ethical and legal way – those are the business intelligence pros – while one may also turn to a dark-mage working in the shadow, operating immorally, unethically, illegally – those are the industrial spies.

So why not to be an industrial white-mage, or white-witch?

The next issue of our blog series is going to analyze this question in a bit more detail.