TYPICAL PROPRIETARY KNOWLEDGE ASSETS SOUGHT BY COMPETITORS
Indicators of progress/problems
How well things are going in a specific area; e.g. progress/problems in the development of a new product or technology (but not IP related to the product/technology itself), progress with trials, potential launch dates for new products.
Operating divisions, support services and headcounts.
Deployments and Locations
Head office, manufacturing, distribution and sales office locations. interrelationships between locations, functions carried out at each site and site headcounts.
Sourcing and Distribution
Suppliers of raw materials, components and business services, key distributors and length of relationships
“How things get done around here”. For example, formal and informal reporting relationships, approval processes, terms of doing business.
Differentiators that provide advantage
Raw material and component sourcing atypical partnering programs, non-traditional development methods and specialized work flow processes.
Recent recruitment, job specifications, numbers, vacancies to be filled, salary packages offered, skills being sought.
Relationships and partnerships
Relationships with suppliers and business partners.
Manufacturing cost analysis.
Key indicators to show the likely cost structure of a product or plant.
Our concern is with your Internal Knowledge Assets. These are defined as the know-how and supporting information that has been built up over the years in every nook and cranny of your organisation in order to make it work effectively, efficiently and sustainability. These are not trade secrets and may not even be labelled as confidential but have taken time and cost to accumulate and need to be carefully protected. Competitors can use this information to anticipate your plans, improve their own performance or identify your weak spots that they can attack. We are not concerned with the protection of physical assets, IT systems, telephone systems or Intellectual Property.
In the case of technology and product development there is an understandable but unhelpful confusion between intellectual property (which is normally heavily protected) and all the other issues that go with it. With respect to any developments your company is making competitors are certainly interested in what they are but they are also keen to learn why and how they are being developed, the timeline on which they are likely to come to market, the resources being devoted to the development and the anticipated level of success. If the development is patented the “what “is usually obvious but the “why” and the “how” are not and are in fact much more interesting when developing a competitive strategy