Archive for April, 2017

It’s Your Intangible Assets, Stupid!

April 27th, 2017. Published under 'Safeguarding Intangible Assets', Business Transactions. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly April 27, 2017 ‘A business intangible asset blog where attention span really matters’.

It should be clear by now that most companies-businesses are variously IA (intangible asset) intensive and dependent. That is, their value, functionality, competitiveness, revenue, and sustainability emanate through effective use and exploitation of the pillars of IA’s, i.e., intellectual, relationship, and structural capital. IA intensive and dependent businesses have irreversibly outpaced their tangible (physical) asset-dominated counterparts insofar as origins – producers of value, revenue, competitiveness, and sustainability.

In no small part today, these circumstances have contributed to two simultaneous and parallel business environments, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive…

• one, driven by hyper-competitive, higher risk, aggressive, predatorial, and winner-take-all approaches for negotiating – executing transactions and outcomes.

• a second, driven by recognizing lower risk, lucrative outcomes, and niche competitive advantages which can accrue by departing from convention, and instead, seek, negotiate, and execute opportunities for synergistic and lucrative collaborations which can be replicated.

In the latter circumstance, substantially more so than the former, IA’s will be recognized and in play, that is, they may be bought, sold, transferred, licensed, converged, shared, and otherwise collaboratively exploited at various points during-between their development and the end-product (service, system) which they are to play a contributory role.

However, any occasion in which a business management team – decision maker engages in a strategy of collaboration, strategic alliance, partnership, and/or a multi-company consortium, in which ultra-valuable and competitive IA’s are in play, is, in my judgment, hedging the transactions’ success on the assumption that the it can consummate execute, and deliver returns faster than the IA’s in play will be variously compromised, infringed, misappropriated, and/or counterfeited. Today, the sophistication, ‘keystroke speed’, and ‘always on’ state which globally predatorial and legacy free economic-competitive advantage adversaries function should not be overlooked or underestimated.

In sports parlance, those who assume a strategy whereby ‘they can develop and collaborate faster than…’, have accepted the perspective that ‘the best defense is a good offense’ approach. But, in high stakes, winner-take-all business transaction management environment in which the full array of valuable IA’s are routinely in play today, such a strategy is akin to ‘permissive neglect’. That is, it leaves control, use, ownership, value, and functionality of those assets unnecessarily vulnerable and at risk.

Any assumption that adverse economic and competitive advantage impacts stemming from business intelligence, data mining, and/or counterfeiting operations, can be offset or minimized by an ‘I can develop and collaborate faster than…’ strategy is respectfully operating at an unnecessary level – combination of short-sightedness, wishful thinking, and absence of fiduciary responsibility.

Reader comments, as always are invited and respectfully welcome!

Intangible Assets and Business Pundits

April 26th, 2017. Published under Business Transactions, Communicating Risk, Intangible asset focused company culture.. No Comments.

Michael D, Moberly April 26, 2017 ‘A business intangible asset blog where attention span really matters’.

I suspect that, not unlike numerous other skill set rich professions, e.g., those who have achieved operational level familiarity with IA’s (intangible assets), which they have stewardship, oversight, and management responsibility, are quick to recognize circumstances when a (business) pundit and/or alleged SME (subject matter expert) weigh in on matters, i.e., IA’s, for example, that exceed their knowledge base, i.e., is generalized, absent specifics, misleading, or simply incorrect.

When a pundit speciously characterizes an under-performing business transaction, etc., as merely being a consequence of (irrelevant, un-connected) missteps, miscues, or oversights by an individual or a management team, I find this especially frustrating, and certainly a disservice. In part, that’s because my work has been occasionally construed as ‘michael claytonish’ (a film titled ‘Michael Clayton’ played by George Clooney) ala ‘an IA fixer’.

Not infrequently, when a particularly challenging and/or insolent business transaction is undertaken and then reviewed by a competent and objective IA strategist and risk specialist, it will be revealed that a key – underlying reason for under-performance, transaction withdraw, or failure is variously attributable to operational – circumstantial unfamiliarity with, how, when, why, where, and which IA’s were in play but, not acted on effectively, lucratively, or competitively, or worse, insufficiently safeguarded or risks monitored and mitigated.

In short, the planning and execution of an under-performing transaction, its failure, or, one or both parties electing to ‘walk away’ can be variously attributed to unfamiliarity, operationally speaking, with the IA’s in play.

To be sure, IA unfamiliarity, which frequently translates as omitting IA’s from transaction planning, leaves their contributory role and value, sources of revenue, and competitiveness (irreversibly) out of a business transaction’s ‘go, no go’ equation, and ‘off the transaction negotiating table’. Thus, the dominant drivers and ‘underwriters’ to most every business transaction, i.e., the IA’s which are-will inevitably be in play, become vulnerable to various types-levels of risk, e.g., competitive advantage under-mining, rapid erosion of (asset) value, and/or asset compromises. Any one, or multiples of such risks, can negate or substantially minimize any projected-desired outcome to a transaction, regardless of its stage of execution.

To be sure, challenges associated with resolving business process problems and/or poorly planned-executed transactions that stem from unfamiliarity with or not recognizing IA’s in play are, in many instances, redeemable. Through numerous engagements, I have concluded many such challenges are variously due to IA’s being ‘non-physical’ and therefore, outside conventional-human senses, i.e., see, hear, touch, smell, etc. Consequently, this (asset) ‘intangibility’ combined with the reality, IA’s are seldom, if ever reported on conventional financial statements or balance sheets, somewhat understandably, influences business leadership and management teams to exhibit hesitancy and reluctance to consider IA’s as relevant players and/or contributors to company value, competitiveness, revenue, or sustainability.

This author’s forthcoming book respectfully mitigates most, if not all such reluctance and hesitancy by ensuring thorough, relevant, and practical explanations and rationales are in place to address the various contexts – circumstances in which IA’s are in play through their contributory role and value.

It is true, a percentage of business leadership, remain variously dismissive and under-appreciative of IA’s, i.e., what they are, and how to utilize (exploit) them effectively lucratively, and competitively, in other words, their contributory role, value, and competitive advantages they can, and often do produce. Not so coincidentally then, when IA’s are treated dismissively or wholly neglected, their contributory value will be significantly weakened, conceded to competitors, or relegated to the non-denominational and virtually unusable ‘catch-all’ of goodwill.

Either way, I find there is no single mechanism to overcome these real and detrimental shortcomings, aside from seeking – achieving operational level familiarity with IA’s for which one has control, use, ownership, and (fiduciary) responsibility to safeguard, exploit, monetize.

Consistently however, practitioners that possess operational familiarity with their various IA’s in play to a transaction or initiative, i.e., as direct components – contributors to projected value, revenue, competitive advantages, and marketing and branding outcomes, also recognize – have operational insights about how IA’s have direct bearing on company value and revenue, which extends well beyond merely what’s posted on conventional financial statements and balance sheets.

The position conveyed here, and throughout my forthcoming book, is that exclusive reliance on conventional financial statements and balance sheets as strategic oracles for business operation and transaction planning, but, absent factoring essential IA-related data, will likely lead to arbitrary, subjective, and unsystematic tracts for execution. However, with the rapid expansion of effective, competitive, and lucrative business operability, i.e., IA intensity and dependency, provides credence and rationale due for business leadership and management teams to recognize IA’s contributory role and value, which this book and this author consistently argue, are warranted.

Business Transaction Due Diligence Intangible Assets

April 21st, 2017. Published under Due Diligence and Risk Assessments, Intangible asset risk tolerances and thresholds.. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly April 21, 2017 ‘A intangible asset business blog where attention span really matters’.

Transaction due diligence is, most always warranted, particularly in today’s ‘always on’, aggressively competitive, predatory, and often ‘winner-take all’ global business environment in which asset loss, erosion, and undermining can occur at ‘keystroke speed’. However, when transaction due diligence is framed – conducted through a conventional, IP only (intellectual property) lens, opportunities to recognize and exploit the value of embedded IA’s and (proprietary) competitive advantages can be, and frequently are, under-estimated, overlooked, dismissed, or considered redundant, or irrelevant to the presumptive deterrent effects associated with conventional IP enforcements, i.e., a registered patent, copyright, trademark, or designating specific knowledge and/or knowhow (intellectual, structural, relationship capital) as a trade secret.

Today, business transaction due diligence must be far more than a cursory review of (legal, accounting) documents and the status of IP, i.e., P&L’s, financial statements, and/or balance sheets. Through my lens, these documents often constitute little more than ‘snap-shots-in time’ as incomplete glimpses into a company’s financial – competitive advantage circumstance.

Too, its unlikely such conventional ‘snap-shots’ will surface-reveal the contributory role, value, sources of revenue, and competitive advantages produced – generated by IA’s, which are embedded and interwoven in various levels of a company’s intellectual, relationship, competitive, and structural capital. More specifically, in conventionally practiced-conducted business transaction due diligence, these, and other characteristics and attributes of IA’s, are unlikely to be recognized as having actual dollar value and competitive advantages, or otherwise have a bearing on a transactions’ outcome, that is, for the IA ‘operationally un-familiar’.

Be it an acquisition, merger, alliance, partnership, buy-sell transaction, or new market entry initiative, each circumstance can quickly become mired in impediments if-when the IA’s in play are overlooked or not effectively unraveled relative to their origins, ownership, control, and the manner-in-which they are utilized and exploited. This-is-why, I recommend transaction due diligence be IA-centric and conducted in pre, and post (transaction) contexts.

Again, conventional ‘check the box’ conceived templates of due diligence are unsatisfactory because they are seldom inclusive, comprehensive, or sufficiently forward looking to capture, unravel, and monitor the (risk and value) relevant to the IA’s in play and are often constrained by unwarranted anxieties and requests for speed. Too, it’s worth noting again, it is a globally universal economic fact – business reality today that 80+% of both a company’s and a targets’ value and sources of revenue lie in – emerge directly from IA’s. This makes it all-the-more essential that any business transaction due diligence fully address IA’s.

The primary objective for any IA due diligence activity is unraveling the circumstances pertinent to the IA’s in play, which, in turn, serve as a basis for providing superior knowledge about a target and the transaction being undertaken in a manner that contributes to decision makers’ determination about whether the targets’ IA’s can sustain the terms and objectives of the proposed deal.

Specifically, IA due diligence should describe, for decision makers, the status, fragility, stability, and defensibility of about-to-be-purchased and/or exchanged IA’s, including IP, and other forms of proprietary competitive advantages, by revealing, among other things, any evidence of:

• over confident – embellished representations.

• purposeful or premature disclosures, or open source leakage that
leads to assets being compromised.

• internal/external entanglements involving the IA’s in play.

• probing by and/or adverse impact from business intelligence,
competitive advantage adversaries, or economic espionage.

A thorough pre-post IA-specific due diligence conveys a strong and important message to actual or prospective (transaction) targets, by zeroing in on their centers of value, competitiveness, revenue generation capacity, brand, and sustainability, etc., while minimizing non-essential – (irrelevant) information drawn from conventional and gratuitous ‘check-the-box’ actions which seldom provide the level of specificity that’s essential for today for IA intensive and dependent businesses and transactions in which IA monitoring is critical to lucrative, competitive, and sustainable outcomes. That’s because IA value and competitive advantage fluctuation, erosion, and/or undermining can commence at ‘keystroke speed’.

Converting Intangible Assets To Sources of Value, Revenue, and Competitive Advantage…

April 17th, 2017. Published under Intangible Asset Value, Intangible assets contributory value.. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly April 17, 2017 ‘A business blog about intangible assets where attention span really matters’!

As an IA strategist, there is satisfaction in providing respectful and lucrative guidance to businesses to pilot their IA’s from their identification, assessment, and development stages, including instances of acquisition, through monetization and exploitation, i.e., their conversion to sources of revenue, value, and competitive advantage. This represents a major emphasis, to focus on ‘the revenue and competitive advantage side’ of IA’s and business.

There are indeed, various paths to IA conversion, frequently nuanced by circumstance, context, risk, and business-client objective. Devising particular, i.e., good, better, best strategies to convert IA’s, often depends on – may vary relative to issues and/or challenges related to (past-present-future) control, use, ownership of the assets, and the assets’ origins and development, which may already, or will likely be, in play. In most instances, the process remains rather constant, which is to identify, unravel, assess contributory role and value, and ensure the assets in play are effectively safeguarded in a manner commensurate with the IA’s contributory role and value and conversion strategy.

Aspects to IA conversion that should not be overlooked or underestimated are ensuring execution will not influence new challenges and/or risks to surface that provoke a party to wholly withdraw from a proposed or pending transaction.

For these, and other reasons, especially in today’s go fast, go hard, go global workforce and business (transaction) environment, unraveling and endeavoring to lucratively and competitively resolve IA-related challenges, risks, or disputes (proactively, when possible) surely warrants having concurrent and at will executable capabilities to engage rapidly, knowledgeably, and effectively, ala IA operational familiarity.

To be sure, I am not suggesting here that all business challenges and risks today are sparked by misunderstandings, misgivings, or alternate interpretations about the disposition, contributory value, ownership, control, or use – exploitation of IA’s, most any of which, if materialized, would deliver a strong probability for adversely affecting any-all IA’s in play, absent safeguards and risk prevention – mitigation.

However, it is quite imprudent for business leadership-management teams to exhibit dismissiveness and/or disregard for the globally universal economic fact that 80+% of their company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, sustainability, and future wealth creation lie in – derive directly from IA’s. It’s prudent on the other hand, to anticipate and expect there are always potentialities for challenges-risks to emerge for most every conceivable type of transaction or initiative. That’s because, IA’s are always on and inevitably in play!

Again, and obviously, the primary objective is to mitigate, if not prevent, risks from materializing, especially those which can (will) manifest as business impediments, stifle a transaction’s momentum, and/or spawn new risk variants that will likely yield, absent rapid and effective intervention, uncompetitive and unproductive outcomes.

That said, as a practitioner, I see the stewardship, oversight, and management of IA’s being realized – accepted by the forward thinking, as business operation norms today. In other words, IA’s should not be cordoned off as the exclusive (do not touch) domains of legal counsel, accounting, or auditing. For those business leaders – managers not already so inclined, there is ample evidence to suggest it’s now essential to acquire, and have, at the ready, sufficient IA operational familiarity upon which, deliberate, lucrative, competitive, and executable strategies can emerge rapidly, and perhaps, most importantly, at will.

There is no objective or persuasive doubt today, that growing percentages of business relationships and transactions emerge, develop, and execute on-the-basis-of ultra-valuable and ultra-competitive IA’s being available and in play. As such, the stakes and outcomes to business transactions and initiatives are indeed, high. So, it is here that I believe, respectful,
knowledgeable, and genuinely collaborative IA strategists must be ‘permanently’ positioned to…

…provide the necessary and relevant counsel to develop lucrative-
competitive strategies (paths) to benefit IA intensive-dependent
businesses and companies by unraveling, mitigating, and/or preventing
materialization of risk that will undermine asset value, revenues, and
competitive advantages.

Intangible Asset Book…forthcoming

April 11th, 2017. Published under New Intangible Asset Book. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly April 11, 2017 ‘A business blog where attention span really matters’! (PART II)

Introduction: The following represents a snippet of my forthcoming (second) book on matters related intangible assets. The first book titled, ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’ was published by Elsevier in July, 2014. In my new, yet to be published book, readers will be presented with multiple and various ‘solution sets’ to address real, current, and recurring challenges related to developing, unraveling, and exploiting their IA’s.

Another, not insignificant contributor to businesses general reluctance to consistently engage their IA’s, i.e., development, acquisition, exploitation, etc., stems from a parallel business – economic reality that, at best, produces confusion. That is, IA’s are seldom, if ever, reported – accounted for on company balance sheets or financial statements, matters aggressively addressed throughout this book.

This very conventional absence of reporting and accounting of businesses IA’s and other IA activity, ownership, and exploitation are routinely rationalized (sustained) by questioning…

– questioning – being unfamiliar with the relevancy of IA’s, which, in turn,
often translates to…

– questions about why should any (businesses) devote time and possibly resources to monitoring, safeguarding, and otherwise achieving operational familiarity with assets which are (a.) intangible, and (b.) not reported?

To the operationally unfamiliar, either-both questions warrant answers which, I point out, are objectively provided throughout my forthcoming book.

The facts are, continued reluctance to engage and acknowledge businesses IA’s, and otherwise act dismissively toward their contributory – operational role and value, wholly disregards the replicable, consistent, objective, and global economic fact (real business reality) that 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, competitiveness, and sustainability lie in – evolve directly from IA’s.

It is all-the-more troublesome when business pundits misleadingly portray (characterize, attribute) a failed business initiative or a poorly executed transaction to single managerial misreads, missteps, and/or miscues, when, upon review (unraveling) by a competent IA strategist and risk specialist, it not infrequently becomes clear that the problem(s) is attributable to…

• operational – circumstantial unawareness of and/or unfamiliarity with,
how, when, where, and which IA’s were in play, and

• those IA’s were not acted on (executed, exploited, leveraged) effectively,
lucratively, or competitively,

– nor were risks to the IA’s in play, which can undermine their competitiveness, revenue generation, and/or value) identified, mitigated, or the assets safeguarded accordingly.

Failure on either of these levels, leaves asset value and competitiveness ‘on the table’ and out of the business initiative-transaction equation.

Unfortunately, such post-transaction analysis conducted by IA strategists and risk specialists are far too routine. In other words, a significant percentage of business leaders remain dismissive of the necessity to distinguish – measure the contributory role, value, and performance of IA’s in play for each (often nuanced) transaction and circumstance they elect to undertake. That’s often in addition to mistakenly ‘lumping’ all IA issues into the non-denominational bucket of referred to as ‘goodwill’.

Similarly, some business leaders, at least initially, find it challenging to recognize and commence resolution of business issues that stem from – are rooted in their IA’s, e.g., value, revenue, performance, and competitive advantage, etc. Therefore, in numerous instances, those in leadership roles accustomed to recognizing – measuring business activities in (tangible) ‘bottom line’ outcomes, the practical realities associated with the now overwhelmingly dominant and contributory role and value of IA’s, presents challenges to translate anew or cross-reference.

Still, in numerous instances (business) problem awareness and identification initially emerges from analysis of financial statements and balance sheets. The position conveyed throughout this book however, is that reliance on periodic financial statements and balance sheets which are absent essential data describing IA performance and value, business problem-issue resolution will likely be arbitrary and unsystematic. That is, until leadership achieves operational level familiarity with and acknowledge IA’s are almost always in play and are absolutely essential to painting a complete value-competitive-revenue portrait of a company’s circumstance.

It would be imprudent for the author to imply that all business operating challenges are rooted in leadership exhibiting dismissiveness toward or mishandling of IA’s in play. However, given IA’s increasingly significant and lucrative role in most every facet of business operability, stewardship, oversight, and management, safeguarding and mitigating risk to IA’s indeed warrants operational level familiarity.

This book respectfully and comprehensively engages business-company problem identification and resolution from the standpoint of accommodating a range of industry sectors prospective reader interests, insofar as…

• elevating reader awareness and operational familiarity with their IA’s, irrespective of sector, and whether they operate in domestic and/or global environments.
• to fill problematic voids relative to utilizing, commercializing, safeguarding, and mitigating risks to IA’s effectively, lucratively, and competitively.

Intangible Asset Book…forthcoming!

April 10th, 2017. Published under New Intangible Asset Book. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly April 10, 2017 ‘A blog where attention span really matters’. (PART I)

Introduction: The following represents a snippet of my forthcoming (second) book on matters related intangible assets. The first book titled, ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’ was published by Elsevier in July, 2014. In my new, yet to be published book, readers will be presented with multiple and various ‘solution sets’ to address real, current, and recurring challenges related to developing, unraveling, and exploiting their IA’s.

In large part, this is objective is achieved by describing lucrative, competitive, durable, and cross (industry) sector rationales, methodologies, and strategies (solution sets) for business leadership and company management teams to exercise relative to recognizing how…

• naturally occurring IA’s originate, can be acquired, developed, and produce internally.

• when, where, and why particular IA’s are in play relative to their contributory role, value, and competitive advantages brought to any (business) transaction or initiative.

• to consistently and objectively engage businesses IA’s resolve – mitigate challenges, and maximize and exploit IA’s contributory role, value and competitive advantages, i.e., intellectual, relationship, and structural capital.

• to be aggressively and objectively engaged in mitigating risks to IA’s, which when, not if, the risks materialize, can-will undermine, if not wholly negate, IA value and competitive advantage with respect to transactions or initiatives considered or being undertaken.

Also, my forthcoming book addresses the always present (fiduciary) responsibilities held by business/company management teams and senior personnel charged with…

• designing and executing practical and defensible IA safeguards.

• anticipating and mitigating risks to IA’s for each business circumstance they are in play.

• creating asymmetric processes to achieve and sustain organizational resilience for IA’s which includes consistency in monitoring (IA) presence, utilization, and changes in value and/or materiality.

• recognizing which, when, and for what purpose should particular (new, additional, updated, or more nuanced) IA’s be acquired, developed, integrated, i.e., lucratively, strategically, and competitively exploited.

Another, underlying challenge to recognizing, safeguarding, exploiting, and otherwise using (a company’s IA’s) lies embedded in the global IA business space, wherein there remain a significant percentage of the leadership of companies-organizations beginning, in my judgement with university (undergrad, and graduate) business, marketing, and economics (major) students whom I routinely find are definitionally and operationally unfamiliar with IA’s. That is, they lack familiarity with IA’s and are unable to distinguish, assess, and recognize – measure IA performance, contributory role, functionality, materiality, and/or value to a specific project, initiative, or transaction.

One potential rationale for this absence of (IA) familiarity is embedded in this book’s (proposed) title, i.e., IA’s are the ‘introvert’ of all business assets.

Numerous university (departmental) leadership appear convey their own reluctance to pursue-secure consensus for distinguishing, developing, and incorporating IA’s in relevant (major) curricula, whereby (business, finance, marketing, and economics) students would be introduced to – immersed in the irreversible business reality and globally relevant economic fact that ‘80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, reputation, competitiveness, and sustainability lie in – emerge directly from IA’s’!

Thus, the absence, or trivialization of IA’s role and contributory value, gleaned from a university curriculum, to draw upon and apply in the various business-related employment graduating students undertake, will unnecessarily and adversely influence the perspectives held about IA’s.