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The beginning

IE vs IS

Economic intelligence or strategic intelligence? Two terms that already rout us in the front of a form of elitism.

When we talk about economic intelligence, to be impressed is the first effect. In reality, this is just a practical thought process to secure a company representation in terms of physical and financial risks or flaws. Together, let demystify economic and strategic intelligence. This is the subject of this column of 10 weekly articles.

Badly interpreted, the term "Business intelligence" means Economic Information. Information as indications! it is not the « James Bondism » …

Originally, not totally wrong

Around 1950, the market resumed and some businessmen already have a conquering vision. They are already targeting their competitors in promising sectors. The methods of "Al Capone" are exceeded, attacks are more and more discreet or undercover, however the information collected remains without great panic. The goal is only to gain market shares. By ruining the leaders' reputation, or cutting resources upstream, all blows are allowed. Methods are then refined, diversified, and persuasion occurs.

Methods and culture

Intelligence about industry has increased until it is able to reach those in higher power. Thus, it becomes more vulnerable, and the way to gain this information becomes increasingly more discreet. Crimes have less and less evidence.

Step by step

In 70s / 80s: Japan, United States, and other countries, they established agreements about economic intelligence. In 1972 (Japan & USA), a first major agreement with the adoption of law 72-593 was made. It protects against possible attacks on secrets perpetrated by spying acts. Other agreements followed...

Intelligence period

In 1979, the various Ministers from multiple countries gave the essential impulses to raise awareness regarding Economic Intelligence.

Most of the time, the intelligence general directorates will lead the Department of Economic Intelligence.

This rapid history can be deepened on the many sites dealing with the subject. Economic intelligence, therefore, becomes the weapon to defending the interests of states, and does so by protecting their industries and businesses; including the small ones.

Specialists will then develop teaching work for this concept at the top of the state, then also raise awareness among SMEs. Means devoted are different depending on the needs and goals to be achieved. It is, therefore, a gamble won for most of the states since Economic Intelligence becomes a process of reflection, which is invited in the head of staff or the boards of directors, all the way up to the committees of SMEs.


It is these exact modules made up of "watchers", which form the clockwork of Economic and Strategic Intelligence. SDS is going to develop these points in the next 10 weekly articles.


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