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Friday, March 08, 2002


Introduction. Mike's recent Zachman Framework topic touches upon my core competencies, which has inspired me to emerge from the shadows and contribute to the discussion.

Before proceeding I want to share information about my background and professional interests. I received my BA in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine in 1988. I've held a number of positions ranging from marketing support, to project management, to competitive intelligence specialist. I'm also an inactive (at the moment) member of Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) and Special Libraries Association (SLA).

Mesh of Topics. There is a direct correlation among knowledge management, competitive intelligence and intellectual property law. The relationships are:

  • Knowledge management is a superset of competitive intelligence. The infusion of competitive intelligence into an organization's knowledge base is business intelligence.
  • Competitive intelligence has its own specialized domains. For example, technical intelligence can be gathered using patent searches, reverse engineering and competitor marketing literature. The connection between competitive intelligence in the technical domain and intellectual property law is clearly shown when patent searches are used as a gathering strategy.
  • Intellectual property (IP) law also governs reverse engineering strategies because the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) restricts practices that were formerly completely legal. If you've been reading Mike's entries on the Uniform Computer Information and Transactions Act (UCITA), you'll see that IP laws are not the only inhibiting factor in contemporary competitive intelligence. UCITA is related to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which is a set of laws that govern fair business practices. Intellectual property laws govern copyrights, trademarks and patents. Although IP law and UCC are two completely separate areas of law, they both affect competitive intelligence, and the new requirements imposed by the DMCA and proposed by UCITA need to be understood.
What Does This Mean to You? As an IT professional you may be involved in competitive intelligence gathering, either through covert methods (legal and ethical, of course) or through benchmarking. In addition, you have a responsibility to understand legal and ethical ramifications that are inherent in IT. Some examples of the inherent legal and ethical ramifications that apply specifically to IT professionals are:The above articles are all from M. E. Kabay's Network World Fusion Newsletters and each provides chilling examples of ramifications of which you need to be aware.

Knowledge management is also a foremost concern for IT professionals because you will either be called upon to develop solutions for your constituents, the business process owners, or will employ it internally to improve IT processes, or both.

Material. I've gathered material (using competitive intelligence techniques, of course) that will get you started in the basics of CI, knowledge management and IP law:

  • Competitive Intelligence. Four archives of PowerPoint presentations:
    1. CI Basics (contains six presentations covering the fundamentals)
    2. CI and the Internet (two presentations on basic Internet research techniques)
    3. Research Techniques (five presentations on topics ranging from strategic intelligence to gleaning intelligence from patents)
    4. Other CI topics (contains seven presentations covering CI benchmarking, education, strategic use of intelligence, etc.)
  • Intellectual Property. IP Law and DMCA, containing seven presentations on IP law, DCMA, Cyber Liabilities and related topics
  • Knowledge Management. Five archives of PowerPoint presentations covering:
    1. Knowledge Management Basics
    2. Knowledge Management in Practice
    3. Knowledge Management in IT
    4. Knowledge Management Processes
    5. Knowledge Management and Business Process Improvement
    Back into the Woodwork. I am going to return to my shadowy underground, providing support to Mike and Linda. I'll emerge into the sunlight again when Mike becomes inundated, which he is now. In the meantime, I hope this short piece and the materials that I've provided fill in any gaps or clarify Mike's discussion of knowledge management as it relates to the Zachman Framework. Some of this material will also be helpful when Mike begins discussing policies, processes and procedures in Notes from the Field. Best wishes from Irvine, California.