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August,  2007
Volume III   Issue 8

"Dot your I's"
by Jack Miller

After my last issue about “dots”, one of my loyal readers suggested I do an
article about “dotting your I’s.”  I suppose I could add “crossing your T’s.”

Of course, the phrase “Dot your I’s and cross your T’s” is very familiar, but
what does Google say it means?

One site suggests you have to cross your T’s before you dot your I’s,
meaning you have to use the proper Tools and Techniques before you can
produce Income. Cute.

Another interesting reference said that CIO’s need to dot their I’s and cross
out their T’s. Let me repeat that – CROSS OUT their T’s. The point is that IT is
all about Information – more about Information than Technology. The
reference says IT is all about business intelligence, with an implication that
business intelligence is about your own business, as opposed to market
intelligence. But ignoring the semantics - Information and Intelligence have
to come before Technology, and all too often (especially in this era of SAP)
that doesn’t happen.

More to the point, the Online Idiom’s Dictionary says dotting your I’s means
to do something very carefully and in a lot of detail.

For those of us in business intelligence, competitive intelligence, or market
intelligence there’s a tool to help us do this: PESTEL analysis, also known as
PESTLE analysis. I prefer PESTEL to avoid confusion with pestle, as in
mortar and pestle. A pestle is something you use to pound and grind, so if
you’re a number cruncher, this might be appropriate, but otherwise, let’s
stick with PESTEL.

In any case, PESTEL analysis is meant to be complete, as in careful with a
lot of detail, as in dotting your I’s. PESTEL is an acronym for Political,
Economic, Social, Technical, Environment and Legislative, and a careful
market analysis should consider all of these factors. Normally, you would
look at market growth, competitive strategies and similar factors, and
PESTEL doesn’t ignore these factors, but makes sure that external factors
are considered as well.

Pira uses PESTEL analysis extensively in its Strategic Futures reports,
markets studies and other consulting projects in the areas of Paper, Print,
and Packaging. Economic factors are always, important, and now,
environmental factors are gaining in visibility and  importance, driven by
social forces which in turn drive political trends. In some cases, this leads to
laws designed to increase recovery rates and recycling and composting,
and technology gives us new materials such as bio-based and
biodegradable polymers that meet these emerging needs.

For more information about PESTEL analysis, developments in sustainable
paper, print and packaging, or the emerging technologies that will change
those industries, call  Jack Miller at 203 925 0326 or email

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Copyright 2007, Jack Miller

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