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.

The data industry thrives on conversation. Please submit a comment.

Other recent posts

Bohemian Grove a la BI

The Bohemian Grove of the BI industry convenes for the fifteenth time in just three weeks. Naturally, you ask the obvious question: Are you serious? The Grove? A summit? The answer begins with a fond recollection of the Grove. If you’ve never attended the Bohemian Grove yourself — I haven’t, though I live in the… Continue Reading

Favorite Star Trek, a data story

This story shows how elemental data stories really are. Humans come ready to tell and hear them, requiring no plug-ins at all. This young person can do a good job of it. There was a question, followed by data, then questions and answers, and and finally a conclusion. It’s all there. It’s elementary. Sure, this… Continue Reading

Bad stories stop good data at the water cooler

We agree by now that data’s a good compass. One neglected question is tougher: Which map? Everyone’s known the kind of “grouchy guy” TDWI instructor Kellee M. Franklin, Ph.D tells about. This guy knew better than most of his co-workers about how their Washington, D.C. defense agency worked. And he was frustrated. Over the years,… Continue Reading