geopolitical analysis

Reading a complicated geopolitical map requires information and analysis

Unforeseen developments can and do disrupt business, derail plans, and even jeopardize personal safety for Multi-National Corporations operating in potential danger zones on the geopolitical map.

But it is a mistake to equate unforeseen circumstances with unforeseeable ones. Even in highly volatile regions such as Indonesia, a major area of operation for numerous MNCs, the fact that disruptive events are sometimes not foreseen shouldn’t be taken as evidence that they can’t be. In most instances, they actually can be anticipated – and negative consequences can be mitigated – as long as companies have comprehensive Intelligence services to light the way.

Indonesia offers a case in point. MNCs have long been drawn to the island nation for its rich natural resources and strategic location, and the country has become even more attractive in recent years with its expanding economy and large consumer base. But there are significant risks, both manmade and natural, that go along with the advantages of doing business there. Civil unrest, crime, extremist violence, and extreme weather, all factor in on Indonesia’s geopolitical map.

In June, for example, both humans and nature created risks for businesses. The kidnapping of seven Indonesian sailors by the Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf, the fourth such act of piracy in three months, exemplified the insecurity and economic damage that militants cause, and led the Indonesian government to extend a moratorium on coal shipments to the Philippines. In the same week, at least 24 people lost their lives in Central Java, as severe rainstorms resulted in fierce floods and landslides that devastated the area and brought activity to a halt.

Both events had economic and commercial consequences. But neither had to be “unforeseen.”  That’s where timely, insightful, and accurate Intelligence comes in.

Only the right information leads to the right decision

For an MNC operating in Indonesia, or any other volatile country, having ready access to relevant, up to date Intelligence regarding potential threats of any nature is an essential part of doing business. Of course, the specific Intel services needed will vary from company to company and from location to location (Indonesia is composed of more than 13,000 islands, for example, so no one-size solution fits all circumstances).

Extensive experience and good intuition can be important attributes for decision-makers in sensitive places and situations, MAX Chief Intelligence Officer, Mr. Tzachi Shraga, explains. “But this is not enough when justifying critical decisions. With strong intelligence to back your decision, you’re on the safe side,” he says.

In broad terms, solid Intelligence services include the collection, analysis, and synthesis of comprehensive data and information that is then shared with the company’s security management personnel and key decision-makers. The reports generated are designed to thoroughly familiarize companies with every potential hindrance, interruption, or threat to security or business continuity.

Depending on client needs, the services can focus on Intelligence briefings, travel security information, or a custom Intel report geared to address specific defined needs. For businesses requiring ongoing services, a Regional Intel Subscription Package establishes a deep familiarity with a given area as a baseline and detailed updates and assessments to maintain up-to-the-minute Intel going forward.

Subscriber reports provide both macro and micro views, from region-wide developments spanning the geopolitical map to localized trends and incidents, from strategic summaries of large-scale political or cultural factors to local details such as changing traffic patterns or anything that can have an impact on business operations.

Intelligence, of course, is not generally an end in itself. Carefully tailored Intel services can interface with contingency planning and inform the development and implementation of a range of related security services. These include but aren’t limited to Master Security Plans, vulnerability assessments, hotel security reviews, event security management, and executive protection.

High-quality Intel delivers the tools to navigate a tricky geopolitical map

Information is powerful. But that truth comes with a caveat when it comes to Intel services: it takes the right information at the right time to equip decision-makers to respond to any contingency they might face. That means companies should select Intel services that are responsive and readily tailored to their own specific needs, by offering appropriate reports for each client.

Some of the reports that high-quality Intel services can provide include:

  • Tactical Intelligence Reports, or ‘Tacticals’, featuring real-time reporting on potentially disruptive events from bad weather to local strikes or other labor actions, all the way up to major security threats like terrorist activity or political instability. Tacticals are targeted to a specific locale and are focused reports that can help guide day-to-day business decisions.
  • Intelligence Alerts give businesses on-the-spot information about major events or impending events that are or could be game-changers, from natural disasters, extremist attacks, armed conflict, mass protests, or other events that undermine stability.
  • Intelligence Analyses give clients details about any incidents or trends that are occurring in a specific area, along with insightful assessments and practical recommendations for how companies can best proceed in the face of the threats.

This list only scratches the surface, of course, as Intel services are necessarily tailored to each specific company and situation. But in all of their possible configurations and permutations they aim for the same basic goal, as noted above – eliminating those “unforeseen” risks and giving companies the foresight they need to prepare for and respond to whatever disruptive contingencies they might face.


Read more posts like this in Max Security Blog.