Intangible dynamics in financial services

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine a range of metrics concerning knowledge and related intangible assets in financial service industries. The metrics are then analyzed according to theory from several disciplines so as to better understand intangible dynamics, the relationship between different intangibles. Guidance is provided in terms of valuing knowledge and pursuing competitive intelligence (CI) based on the unique characteristics of financial services intangibles. Design/methodology/approach: Data are drawn from a large database and supplemented with other sources. The primary database includes a considerable collection of publicly available financial results combined with proprietary data from a CI consultancy. Results on knowledge asset-levels and CI activity, by industry sector, are presented as well as the degree to which big data is employed. Findings: Financial services show high levels of big data, low levels of knowledge assets, and high levels of CI activity. In some ways, these differing valuations of intangibles by different parties are counterintuitive, but they can be explained with reference to theory and a deeper understanding of the intangible dynamics. Research limitations/implications: The results allow a deeper understanding of the relationship between data, information, knowledge (explicit and tacit), and intelligence in a specific industry. Given the uniqueness of the financial services results, these findings provide considerable insight into how intangibles strategies and applications can differ by industry. Practical implications: These results provide direction to financial services decision-makers concerning investment in knowledge management systems (limited), CI initiatives (aggressive), and big data (aggressive). Originality/value: The paper brings unique data to the table and brings together theory from a number of disparate fields of study, providing a different perspective on the interplay of knowledge, intelligence, and data in financial services.

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Journal of Service Theory and Practice

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