Strategic intelligence is the insight required for the formation of future strategies, policies, and plans. It involves understanding that the "Big Picture", covers a wide scope, utilises data from multiple data sources, and covers time horizons (from now on out to the end of the century).
Strategic intelligence is important because it provides the overview and context necessary for making informed decisions. Without it, organisations can be easily swayed by short-term events and react to what is directly in front of them instead of looking and planning further ahead.
Recognising this need, we provide cost effective AI collated strategic insight, giving those responsible for making decisions the required overview to make informed and evidence-based choices. Our strategic intelligence reporting combines external analysis with an understanding of other factors that affect decision-making such as culture, politics, economics, and demographics.
Once all of the factors below have been considered by Athena, our unique AI model, a strategic intelligence report is created. This report includes the potential impact of the decisions you face, our strategic insights and recommendations.
The Strategic intelligence report can include:
An analysis of the current market conditions and an evaluation of their potential impact on your business
An outline and explanation of future opportunities or threats that may influence your business, along with our recommended actions.
A brief about the current state of your competition and how they are likely to impact you in the future.
An evaluation of the political landscape and its potential implications for your business.
A review of technological advances and their possible impact on your industry.
Recommendations about any specific actions you should take to maintain or improve your competitive edge.
Our strategic intelligence report is guided by and informs the following planning methodologies:
Collective intelligence is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human Intelligence (HI) combined providing breadth of knowledge, speed, and collaborative thinking. This intelligence feeds into strategy, planning, and policy formation.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the technology that mimics the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind.
Human Intelligence (HI) is the process of collecting views, opinions, and knowledge from key stakeholders for the purpose of solving business and societal issues.Insight from Strategic Intelligence.
Strategic analysis is the process of collecting, processing and analysing the environment within which the organisation operates, as well as the organisation itself. It results in identifying trends and patterns in data, and provides the context upon which policy or strategy can be formulated.
The environment of an organization is composed of two elements - the internal environment and the external environment. Both internal and external environments should be scrutinised in order to identify factors that influence organisations and aid decision-making.
There are a number of methodologies for collecting and analysing relevant data.Two of the most commonly used methods are SWOT and PESTLE.
A SWOT analysis (which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) helps departments and organisations identify where they’re doing well and where they can improve, both from an internal and external perspective.
Strengths and weaknesses take into account internal factors, and relate to operational, managerial, resource and marketing factors that provide a strong foundation for the business and its ability to compete effectively in the marketplace and for government departments to successfully deliver policy and or strategy.
Opportunities and threats take into account external factors and impact the trading and functioning environment.
The template below can be used to fill in your own organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to allow you to begin planning your strategic intelligence plan.
A PESTLE analysis focuses entirely on external factors in the political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal realms that your organisation can’t control but should be aware of and prepare for.
Such an analysis might call attention to things like changing legislation or new regulation, fluctuating interest rates, etc. Any change that might occur and would have a material impact on your business should be considered.
Below is an example of what a PESTLE Analysis may look like:
The SWOT and PESTLE analysis provides a complete picture of the organisational environment. Your entire leadership team should be heavily involved in these sessions, as should any other personnel who can bring relevant data points or perspectives to the table.
Other strategic analysis tools include:
Four Corners Analysis
Value Chain Analysis
Porter's 5 Forces
Understand the strategy level you're completing the analysis for - Is it intended for the corporate, divisional, or functional area?
Identify who to involve in the process – make sure you have key stakeholders and those that will be able to input into the analysis
Use one or more of the analytical tools mentioned above – Make sure you have conducted both an internal and external analysis
Summarise your finding and share with the team – They will form the basis of your strategy
Devise the strategy using your strategic analysis.
In today’s world, the pace of change is rapid and constant. It’s important to keep up, as change can create both opportunities and threats. Strategic foresight is a planning-oriented discipline related to future studies and is used to gain a fuller understanding of the forces driving change and shaping the long-term future.
Instead of thinking of the present and the future in rigid terms and seeking to “predict” the future, strategic foresight is much more fluid and includes an understanding of the future as a range of potential outcomes of present-day phenomena.
Increases organisational awareness of future trends that may impact on future success
Provides early-warning signals identifying change that may impact businesses and organisations
Makes organisations more resilient - the ability of an organisation to weather adversity and emerge intact or become bigger, stronger, begins with anticipating what could happen in the future
Provides a structured process that informs and develops future-proof scenarios, plans, and strategies and helps leaders plan and make decisions in uncertainty.
C-Suite, planners, strategists, policymakers, and researchers all need to identify and track the drivers that will shape the future. Doing so allows them to develop foresight about the strategic challenges and choices they might face in the long-term future and to explore what kind of policy or strategy might be required to sustain success.
Strategic business planning is a systematic process for developing an organisation’s direction. Strategic business planning is based on analysis and the intelligence derived from it. It also captures the objectives and actions required to achieve that future vision and outlines metrics for measuring success.
A strategic business plan is about high-level thinking and generally at a longer time horizon, typically 3 to 5 years. Most businesses have an annual planning cycle that is centred around their budgeting period.
Exceptional circumstances should result in a review of the plan and can include whenever a company begins a new venture (like launching a new product), if the economy or competitive landscape changes, or when new regulations or trends affect the business environment.
Strategic planning serves as a roadmap that defines the direction of travel, and that helps leaders and managers to prepare for potential roadblocks. Companies and markets without this foundation and foresight are far more likely to fail or not meet their potential.
Strategic business planning is important because it:
Gives direction and focus
Helps mitigate the risks associated with business growth
Helps assess costs and means to allocate resources in the most efficient way.
Communicates the vision to internal and external stakeholders
Results in increased profitability and market share.
Strategic intelligence helps organisations look outward and is future-orientated; its primary purpose is to help form policy and strategy by identifying industry trends and consumer behaviour patterns. Strategic intelligence is mainly handled by the top executives.
Tactical intelligence, on the other hand, looks primarily at the current situation and provides the insight required to carry out existing policy and plan initiatives. It deals with how already determined strategies will be implemented and informs about the tasks to be performed.
Tactical intelligence deals mainly with present scenarios and plan activation. It provides real-time analysis of the current competitive landscape and operational performance to help businesses prioritise and take timely actions. It assesses whether the company has adequate time, money, and manpower to implement the plans. It also tracks and informs about the effective use of all its assets. What’s more, it helps businesses make efficient use of their resources. Since tactical intelligence deals with actual implementation. It helps them achieve their objectives, keep them on track and align to the strategy and plans that were set with the help of strategic intelligence.
"OCR commissioned Shaping Tomorrow to conduct a horizon scanning exercise looking at the future of training and assessment in 2030. The project was awarded to Shaping Tomorrow in part because of their automated scanning facility which drove down costs of traditional manual research methodology and considerably shortened turnaround. As a not-for-profit organisation it was extremely important that we got high-quality strategic insight at the lowest cost possible. The work inspired the team to think more strategically and holistically at the longer-term drivers and influences affecting our strategic plans and the approach used for scenario planning was a masterclass in systematic strategic analysis. Not only did the project deliver quality outputs on time but the added value of the embedded consultancy and licences produced a lasting legacy beyond the completion of the project."
Emily Almeida-King, Strategy Manager, OCR
"Would like to acknowledge the outstanding contribution this service is to our field. Truly grateful to have access to this tool, providing independent verification and assistance in generating intelligence methods as trustworthy and reliable research data. I look forward to its continuation and growth into the exponential technological era in providing further valuable key insights as essential tools in support of shaping and creating preferred future(s) outcomes."
"As part of fast-start five-year strategy review, we engaged Shaping Tomorrow to scan the horizon in the multi-unit food service industry (restaurants and out-of-home dining).The deliverables were perfect; well organised, ten key drivers, themes within each driver, supporting data, and links for further analysis – all delivered in a usable format, on time [In less than two working days] against an aggressive [3 working day] timeline. Strategic and immediately actionable. Thanks for the ultra-fast turn, we’re presenting the results as part of a strategy session this morning to the client."
"I have watched with admiration the development of Shaping Tomorrow over the years, to the stage where it's developed into a truly unique tool for strategic managers. For the past 10 years, I have made sure that all students studying my postgraduate strategy modules get hands-on experience of using the system, and without exception, they are "blown away" by its capabilities. All managers involved in developing strategy need to develop foresight skills and Shaping Tomorrow is invaluable for that."
If you would like to find out more about our strategic intelligence services, then please contact us using the form below: