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The digital transformation of intelligence analysis

Mark Lawrence Ashwell (MLA Consultancy, Plymouth, UK)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to highlight the potential of digital transformation and innovation opportunities for intelligence analysis. Its focus is the development of individuals to exploit data and information technologies to better understand and counter organised criminal networks.


The methodology adopted consisted of an extensive literature review and interview with practitioners in digital technology and transformation focused on intelligence, crime and terrorism, plus practical experience and field study.


Phenomena including the World Wide Web, social media and interconnectedness are influencing all aspects of human activity. Effective digital transformation, focusing on data, information technologies and people bestows significant competitive advantage upon those who have transformed. Applications are making previously complex processes and tasks easier for individuals to understand and exploit. An activity-based intelligence (ABI) model provides a platform for intelligence transformation. ABI provides a foundation from which to better fuse and share data to understand and resolve complex human (wicked) problems. To counter increasingly fast-moving organised crime networks, law enforcement needs to quickly transform.


This paper serves as a guide to alert and educate law enforcement professionals of the potential of digital transformation and associated evolving intelligence processes. It offers an appreciation of the nature of organisations, and the role of innovation within those organisation, required to better appreciate and tackle complex, human network challenges such as organised crime. It reveals the emergence and importance of an increasingly applications-based culture and the potential of this culture to simplify and exploit previously complex, expert-based processes.



Ashwell, M.L. (2017), "The digital transformation of intelligence analysis", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 393-411.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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