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What a recession might mean for business intelligence

BI was made for turbulent times, wasn’t it? At least the handful of consultants think so whom I talked to this week for my TDWI article. Unlike at the gloomy economic forum in Davos, these guys have not a shred of fear among them.

BI leader Claudia Imhoff warns, “The glory days are gone,” you need BI to aim well at the right customers and products. Esteemed consultant and author Sid Adelman says, “Companies with good BI are going to kill the competition.” Jill Dyche, also a well-known consultant, tells a story about a medical-supply company that’s using BI to trump the competition. Others report similar things.

How does this season compare with the past recession? Tom Quintal at the LoganBritton consulting group in Boston says it’s unlike 2001. Then some client or other called up every day to cancel or curtail. This time, not one has.

Frankly, though, all that optimism may be great, but it’s not so much fun to write the rah-rah-rah. A story that’s all good news lacks salt.

One senior ETL architect whom I can’t name is the most fun. What troubles him is not BI’s value. It’s that the “big guys” don’t buy into it.

Just having good data doesn’t necessarily lead to good decisions. He says, “Take Enron. They knew the facts.”

I’m filing the story with the editor late Saturday, and it comes out late Tuesday Tuesday, February 5. If you have anything to add, please do. Either submit a comment or use the contact form.

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