Cipher partners with Mercyhurst Intel

Aaron Qaio, Contributing writer

On Aug. 30, international provider of technology solutions and competitive intelligence, Cipher, partnered with Mercyhurst University to provide Ridge College Intelligence students with access to Knowledge360, a competitive intelligence software.

The software has been endorsed by the executive director of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) and has been widely used in major universities such as Purdue.

“Hands-on experience using a purpose-built intelligence platform like Knowledge360 will further enhance Mercyhurst graduates’ attractiveness to prospective employers,” Peter Grimm, CEO of Cipher Systems, said in an article by Cision PRWeb.

Shelly L. Freyn, D.B.A, assistant professor/program director of Business and Competitive Intelligence Studies, described how Cipher came to partner with Mercyhurst.

The company first started its relations with Mercyhurst after it requested some students for internships, Freyn said. When those students got hired into full-time positions, Cipher was impressed with the ability and work ethics in the students and wanted a more permanent relationship with the university.

“Mercyhurst University is a perfect fit for our university partners program,” Grimm said. “Within the competitive intelligence industry, Mercyhurst University has an established, and outstanding, reputation for producing talented and capable competitive and marketing intelligence practitioners through their Business & Competitive Intelligence degree program.”

The partnership between Mercyhurst and Cipher has already been put in motion this semester in the RIAP 448 Market Research and Primary Intelligence class. The course is a unique pilot class that is offered to undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to work with Knowledge360. In the class, students work with real companies to learn about market research and primary intelligence.

Students in these classes study important subject matters such as the development of an effective online survey and using IBM SPSS Statistics software for statistical analysis and evaluation. SPSS is essential to Business and Competitive Intelligence majors because it gives students experience in using a software that is widely recognized in any business setting.

Freyn’s hope for this partnership is that the software will be made available to all of the students who take competitive intelligence.

Senior Intelligence Studies major Brandon McKenna, is a student in the Market Research and Primary Intelligence class. He sees the partnership as a positive asset for students who want to get into the field of research and intelligence.

McKenna described Knowledge360 as a “super Google” that personalizes pages that have everything one needs in front of them. In addition, some of the many features include financial analysis, market research and competitive research on different companies. The software even has the ability to send students daily alerts about their companies and market trends.

McKenna described the major positives of the program as having large databases, a great research engine, subscription sites and the ability to be compared to Jane 360 database. He encourages any Business and Competitive Intelligence Students to take the course and test the program out.