Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Analyst Skills: The Use of Environmental Scanning

For the intelligence analyst there are a number of analytical tools that can be used to determine which of all the competing crimes or hazards should be given the most time, or which of all new trends is likely to affect your agency the most. This can result in tactical, operational and strategic plans being implemented to meet those threats. The environmental scan is one of those tools.

What is it?
The environmental scan provides a systematic overview of the external factors that are important to the organisation (or sector) and indicates whether the organisation can influence them or not. In general the factors are classified in factors influencing the demand/need for services (and products), the supply of inputs to the project/organisation concerned, the competition and collaboration and general policy factors. The factors are also classified with respect to the positive (+) or negative (-) influence on the organisation and whether or not the factor can be influenced or just be appreciated (known and understood).

What can you do with it?
Making an environmental scan results in identifying the impact of relevant factors in the entire environment of an organization or sector (such as in Critical Infrastructure Protection). Whereas people often complain as powerless victims about negative factors in their environment, the environmental scan helps you to take action or adapt yourself to your environment. Scanning promotes an active response to positive (opportunities) and compliant factors, and leads to insights how to live with the ‘hard facts’. While the scan is a simple tool, it nevertheless helps to get a comprehensive view of the chief factors, helping to go beyond reacting to scattered observations.

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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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