Regulatory Intelligence (part 2)

January 21, 2014

As I noted in my last blog, regulatory intelligence has several aspects where it intersects with competitive intelligence. The first and most obvious is when you have someone analyze both newly proposed and newly enacted regulations for their impact on your firm and its ability to compete.

Now to be fair, this job ends up almost always in the hands of an attorney or a paralegal (in fact, it is a job I once held). That is not bad, because they are trained to understand the regulatory process and how to read regulations. However, to be effective, they need to communicate more than just “The department has issued a new regulation which requires…” They have to be trained about your business and your market space(s) so that they can add value to these summaries.

The value can be expressed first by adding “This regulation now means that…” To that should be added a specific analysis such as “This will increase our capital costs on future planned construction”, or, “If adopted, this proposed regulation appears to be the first of several steps of increasing regulation over the performance of our products and services…”

If those analyzing regulations do not understand their impact, then they should be trained to understand and then to communicate that impact. If such individuals add value to their analysis of the regulations by adding an analysis of the effect on the competitive environment and/or competitors, they are providing a great service to your business.

The second aspect where regulatory intelligence intersects competitive intelligence is when the regulatory specialists are looking at the same proposed or new regulations for their immediate and near-term impacts on your competitors. Here, your regulatory specialists, or your trade association, if you are relying on that, have to understand and to communicate impacts on the entire market space as well as on particular companies within that market space.

For example, if a company doing business in one way, say marketing over the Internet, will end up facing higher costs than a “bricks and mortar” competitor, make sure to say that. If your regulatory intelligence comes from an internal source, if at all possible, have it identify which competitors are impacted and how. This does not have to be a 12 page single-spaced document – in fact it should not be!

By highlighting, in a short and easily understood way, the winners and losers of a regulatory change (or proposed change), regulatory intelligence can make a critical contribution to your firm becoming a more effective and nimble competitor.

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