Epicos interview with Graeme Dixon of Octopus Intelligence.
Graeme Dixon, founder and CEO at Octopus Intelligence, gave an exclusive interview to Epicos. Among others, he stated that: “We offer bespoke Competitive Intelligence and Due diligence services, and we have an excellent track record of delivering quality work. From desk research to boots on the ground. We have never failed a client. We get the job done”.
Epicos: Graeme, can you please introduce to us Octopus Intelligence?
Certainly. Octopus is an Intelligence-led problem solver who has been around since 2009.
We are UK based, with many of our clients around the world. USA, France, India, Central Asia, Africa and the middle east.
We offer bespoke Competitive Intelligence and Due diligence services, and we have an excellent track record of delivering quality work. From desk research to boots on the ground.
We also work in partnership with a proven Intelligence software provider. So we can offer a fantastic competitor and market OSINT surveillance tool. We have searched for years to find a software company that understands what they are good at — Software — allowing Octopus to provide the Intelligence end product for their clients. It’s a great combination.
What are the background and fields of expertise of your team?
I’m Graeme Dixon, the founder of Octopus.
I have a near ten-year track record of British Military Intelligence experience and twenty years Corporate/Competitive Intelligence. And only the second UK professional to be asked onto the SCIP (Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals) global advisory board, the industry’s governing body. So our reputation and loyalty to clients are the most important thing for us.
Darrel West is a business partner and a dynamo and is a great relationship director. Former international cyclist and successful business person, he keeps us all on our toes. The rest of the team come from many backgrounds, but we prefer to nurture and develop keen minds with the right work ethic. If you don’t go that extra mile, love what you do, then you don’t work for Octopus.
Which are the services that your company offers to potential customers?
We offer Competitive Intelligence and Due diligence.
Or to put simply, using Intelligence techniques and processes we solve problems, increase certainty and reduce exposure to unnecessary risk. Whatever it’s called (Competitive Intelligence, Corporate Intelligence, Market Intelligence or business Intelligence) mainly to make it sound smart and mysterious, it boils down to knowing the answer — knowing the answers which will solve a problem. Unless you have served in the military, people are often confused by the term Intelligence. Some think, its James Bond, others believe its data analysis and others think it’s just research. It’s none of them.
So for clients, we solve problems, increase certainty and reduce exposure to unnecessary risk.
Problems usually about how to grow or business development challenges. Their competitors, people, market sectors, products, future and current investments.
What is the modus operandi of your company to provide clients what they ask for?
We find out what a client really wants to know by defining well thought out questions. We talk, we debate and challenge.
Collect information from OSINT, primary sources and boots on the ground. Analyse information to create Intelligence. We then suggest options open to our clients. The end product is usually a written report in any format the client wants it in.
What should a potential customer expect from your company?
That’s an easy answer. Honesty, loyalty and an end product that shows we have gone the extra mile to make it happen for our client. We have never failed a client. We get the job done.
Which are the procedures and the ethical code that your company follow to guarantee the best services to your customers?
Everything we do is legal and ethical. Octopus adheres to SCIP’s code of ethics. You can still get the information your competitor would rather you did not know using legal and ethical techniques.
Can you provide us a typical example of your services?
Every project is different Epicos. But typically it will be a client wanting to know what’s happening (and what’s going to happen) within one of their competitors. They read a piece of PR or lose some business to them, and they want to know why. A competitor may have brought out a new product, and they want to know more about it. Is it going to cause a problem for them? They want to know how to keep winning and perhaps produce answers for their salespeople to use to counter a competitor’s strengths.
An actual example that is not a case study on our website would be a major manufacturer who had been in business since the 17th century. So, I guess we can call them established in their market. However, the CEO knew that to last another 100 years; they would need to adapt to the changing world. We defined some questions which covered their problems. Problems were mainly surrounding aggressive competitors, how they sold their product and international markets. We created the Intelligence which showed what their rivals were planning to do, the challenges they faced and the options our client had to tackle the markets they wished to be in.
Now our client has a clear pathway forward, and we have their backs for the foreseeable future. Quickly, another example was a US-based company looking to buy one of their competitors. They wanted to buy their rival because of their technology. We determined the owner was not to be trusted and the technology was getting dated. They were shocked and put their $100 million back in their pockets. It was a mistake they didn’t make.
Do you offer turnkey solutions?
Yes, Epicos, we offer turnkey solutions. We can build an Intelligence section within a company. And, we can create an Intelligence team, purely for a client based on our premises — their Intelligence team our people.
Do you provide follow up services?
Ideally, the client should see us as an ongoing partner because Intelligence changes all the time. What happens tomorrow does not mean it will be the same next week. So keeping an eye on the situation to ensure the problem does not return, or a new problem has taken its place is very important. But at the end of the day, it’s up to the client and their needs. We have worked with some clients for years. Our software monitoring/surveillance product is, of course, an ongoing service.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you, yes. We often hear things like — “we have a graduate who Googles our competitors to see what they are doing”.
That’s not enough. Of course, companies can do Intelligence themselves. But they can, of course, be blinded by office politics, subconscious biases and the worst of all — industry experience. “I have been in the industry for years, and that’s not going to happen”. And yes, your competitors are likely looking at you to varying degrees of sophistication.
Lastly, I would like to thank the Epicos team for the opportunity to talk to your audience and wish you well for the future.
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