Competitive intelligence and Wikileaks

The latest releases by Wikileaks should have caught the eye of competitive intelligence analysts. Legal issues aside, this kind of information could be extremely useful in a competitive context. In fact, Wikileaks has already leaked documents that could be used for competitive intelligence: Bank Julius Baer, Petrogate, Trafigura, Kaupthing Bank; and has received more intelligence than it can process. Now, in a good article about Wikileaks by Forbes, Julian Assange explains that in 2011 he will turn his attention to corporate leaks.

Wikileaks may not see such leaks as competitive intelligence, but clearly, this is the type of material that competitive intelligence analysts would love to have. A few years ago, there was a website that posted leaked corporate memos - whose name I unfortunately cannot remember (I am not referring to Even now, in the absence of a central source for corporate leaks, internal information is available online:

More indirect leaks from employees include reviews from the likes of Glassdoor, and the millions of details posted on LinkedIn profiles.

Proper leaks are rare, and much of this corporate intelligence, including the Wikileaks releases, comes under the category of useless serendipitous intelligence. Useful to someone, of course, but not to a given analyst unless he happens to work for a competitor of the company whose information has been leaked. Competitive intelligence analysts who monitor the likes of Google or Apple tend to benefit most, as these companies are the most leaked against.

Serendipitous or not, leaks remain a fascinating type of competitive intelligence.