During a global crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, companies need to revisit their operations and demand excellent corporate and market intelligence to get ahead.
It is a fact of corporate life – companies today need trusted and relevant intelligence to mitigate risks and give themselves the strategic advantage. In times of uncertainty like during the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies demand excellent corporate and market intelligence from a trusted partner like Blackhawk Intelligence, given that corporations have now restricted business travels, moved deal-making process online and became more exposed to new industries.
In this article, our corporate intelligence team shares how corporate intelligence is changing in times of crisis, highlighting areas which companies need to watch out for, and how we can help to provide well-rounded intelligence that can propel your company forward amid a global crisis.
Corporate, market and local intelligence at a glance
Corporate intelligence refers to the process of gathering and analysing information pertaining to a target (which can be a country, an industry, a company, a person) on behalf of a company or an investor. The objective is to allow the requester to gain insights and use the information to mitigate associated risks and make informed decisions accordingly.
Market intelligence, on the other hand, monitors the trends in your industry and see how your customers, competitors and even the authorities are responding to the trends.
In this complex world of business, corporate intelligence and market intelligence are often used to complement each other. For example, before entering into a new market, especially in a jurisdiction unfamiliar to you, you need corporate intelligence of your new partners in the said jurisdiction, as well as market intelligence – anything from an in-depth analysis on competitors, market positioning to regulations – to mitigate risks and lessen negative business impacts.
Local intelligence can be a subset of corporate intelligence and market intelligence, and it can also include security intelligence and political intelligence. For example, before your company invests in a precious metal mine in a remote region, you must first know about the political and security situations in the area given that precious metal workers are vulnerable to kidnapping in some countries.
Accurate intelligence, be it corporate intelligence, market intelligence or local intelligence, is useful to business leaders and company directors because it helps them to:
- Assess and manage risks
- Reduce ambiguity and confusion
- Respond to crises and adversity
- Make informed decisions to keep overseas employees, facilities and investments safe
Intelligence in times of crisis
When a crisis happens, like during the COVID-19 pandemic that sweeps through the world and causes health emergency and what the World Bank calls ‘the largest economic shock the world has experienced in decades’, many companies scramble to find adequate plans to manage financial, strategic, operation, compliance and reputational risks effectively. This is where accurate and up-to-the-minute intelligence can make a real difference.
It is worth bearing in mind that intelligence and the process of gathering it are organic, shaped entirely by living events. So with the crisis unfolding, it is natural to witness a gentle shift in the type of intelligence required by companies. Here are the four areas which we have seen changes:
1. Due diligence with a sharper focus on adaptability
While financial figures and operations remain vital measurements, many companies now also want to know if the people behind the target company have the ability to adapt and the speed of adaptation. In other words, how willing and how fast the target company can adjust their processes, remodel their pricing and transform in the eye of the storm are becoming more important than ever.
2. An increase in distressed asset sales
Companies which can’t cope with a crisis will go under and surrender their assets to their creditors. With hundreds of thousands of distressed assets up for a quick sale around the world, many are tempted to do it outside the court process to save all parties time and money. While this sounds good to investors, it also sounds good to fraudsters, giving them a chance to scam investors. Therefore, due diligence is essential if you’re acquiring distressed assets outside the court process.
3. An increase in demand for local intelligence
During a global crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us are bombarded with national COVID-19 related news because it is on everyone’s lips. Foreign business-related issues like plant closures in other countries, supply-chain disruptions and new regulations imposed by countries around the world to curb the spread of the virus do not necessarily make it to our domestic news channels. At the same time, fake news abounds on the internet, causing unnecessary fear and anxiety. As a result, companies turn to a specialist intelligence company like Blackhawk Intelligence for verified localised intelligence and risk report.
4. An increase in demand for market intelligence
With every crisis comes opportunities and in the case of COVID-19, investors now want information pertaining to sectors or geographical areas that they have not considered before. For instance, a company that has never invested in healthcare wants us to look into a target company that produces immune system boosters.
Blackhawk Intelligence delivers excellent corporate, market or local intelligence to companies and professional individuals. Give us a call on +44 (0)20 8108 9317.
Challenges that require your immediate attention
Beware that cyber criminals and fraudsters are still active
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies move their operations online and accordingly, we have seen a rise in cybercrime and online fraud cases accordingly.
Here is a case that came to our attention recently:
While working from home, one executive received a seemingly genuine-looking email sent by the company’s mail server about unread messages in the mail server. Most of the links contained in the email were authentic but the big action button contains a fraudulent link. The executive clicked on it and unknowingly downloaded a piece of malware that allowed fraudsters to control his machine and stole his identity to transfer a quarter of a million pound.
It must be said that not all fraudsters hide behind emails and malware. They could defraud you by talking to you over the phone or giving you falsified records that you can’t verify easily due to lockdown. Remain vigilant is your best defence and if you need help, give our specialist team a call on +44 (0)20 8108 9317.
Threat to your brand remains
Not all fraudsters are after your customer data or your credentials, some are after your brand and intellectual property. This happens when your products become scarce in a geographical region due to panic buying or other reasons, giving fraudsters a chance to produce counterfeits that pose a real threat to your brand.
Corruption risks may be greater than ever
COVID-19 has triggered large-scale unemployment worldwide, from 30 million in the USA to 1.76 million in Japan, according to a report from the World Economic Forum. Furthermore, it is estimated to cause a 5.2% contraction in global GDP in 2020. To counter downturns, governments worldwide pump many billions to subsidise wages and cushion the economic impact. With so much money available to help businesses of all sizes, corruptions will undoubtedly happen. Beware that some scrupulous individuals may submit fraudulent claims on your company’s behalf to receive funds or use your company to launder money.
Blackhawk Intelligence can help your company get ahead in times of crisis
Fear and uncertainty are evident in every crisis and they drive companies to seek verified intelligence that can make a difference – this is where the corporate intelligence team at Blackhawk Intelligence can help.
Our corporate intelligence team consists of five main functions – due diligence, research, security, GDPR and risk management. Traditionally, law firms, multinational corporations and financial institutions like asset management companies engage our corporate intelligence services. But as COVID-19 continues to reshape the world, increasingly more and more small and medium-sized companies, as well as professional individuals, realise the benefits of accurate intelligence – be it corporate intelligence, market intelligence or local intelligence – and they can turn to a trusted partner like us to deliver.
If you are looking to seize investing opportunities during and after the COVID-19 crisis, talk to us and let us help you conduct due diligence, and gather accurate and verified intelligence so you could make informed decisions.
For more information on how Blackhawk can help you with intelligence services, call us today on +44 (0)20 8108 9317.
This post is intended to provide information of general interest about current business issues. It should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
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