Data, Information, and Intelligence

A substantial record of scholarly and practitioner work exists concerning intangible assets, from data to information, knowledge to intelligence. A better understanding of the interrelationships of such intangibles can enable more effective strategies.


This chapter explores the relationship between different types of intangible assets, specifically Big Data and competitive intelligence. Are Big Data holdings likely to draw attention from competitive intelligence operations?


Available data on Big Data holdings, by industry, is compared and contrasted with a proprietary database on competitive intelligence activity by industry.


A clear relationship appears to exist. Massive holdings of Big Data are associated with aggressive competitive intelligence activity. When little Big Data is applied, competitive intelligence activity is at a low level.

Research limitations or implications

This is an exploratory study. Although the results seem clear, they are not tested as hypotheses.

Practical implications

Readers should be able to discern the patterns in their own industry, providing insight into decisions about pursuing investments in Big Data systems, competitive intelligence operations, and/or counterintelligence.

Originality or value

The linkages between the diverse fields of Big Data and business analytics, knowledge management, and intellectual capital, competitive intelligence, and others involved with intangibles are not often explored. There are linkages apparent, and all the disciplines benefit from the cross-fertilization of ideas and techniques.

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