The intelligence cycle is often depicted as a multistep process. The following figure, from Fleisher and Bensoussan's book Business and Competitive Analysis (FT Press, 2007), shows data collection as the second step in this process. Therefore, before you start collecting data, you need to articulate your intelligence needs (or those of your client).
"This chapter from Business and Competitive Analysis: Effective Application of New and Classic Methods, 2nd Edition introduces the concepts in the book, which will help you deliver actionable business insights and on-point recommendations that enterprise decision makers can’t and won’t ignore." [publisher's website].