Revolution? Please, Not Again!

Revolution? Please, Not Again!

Summary: I am appalled at what has been happening in the economy lately. Seems like we are moving from one crisis management to another.

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I am appalled at what has been happening in the economy lately. Seems like we are moving from one crisis management to another. First it was the oil price increase crisis, now it’s the credit markets crisis, while the oil crisis seems to have disappeared. There are revolutionary approaches to solving these crises being thrown around very lightly and carelessly these days: nationalization of certain industries, redistribution of wealth and other extremist approaches. Haven’t we learned from history? Don’t we know by now that revolutions do not work? It’s been proven time and time again in Soviet Union, China, Cuba and many other nations that revolutions only lead to disasters: terror, holocausts, starvation, turning societies and social structures upside down, and people leading miserable existence. I know. I lived in one of those countries. I do not want to live in another country going through revolution.

What happened to the good old “let’s hold the steady course” common sense? Knee jerk reactions may provide band aid short term solutions, but they always create more problems in the long term. What we need in our economy, our government, and in our Business Intelligence (BI) initiatives is a steady course. I've lived through too many ups and downs in the economic cycles to know that in the end it's the long term strategy, not short term fixes or short term knee jerk reactions that really matter and make us ultimately successful. Steady, well planned, carefully thought out evolution, vs revolution, is what differentiates a successful society and an enterprise vs. doomed ones.

Luckily, many of you out there agree with me. I know, since I asked a couple of hundred of my clients earlier this morning the following questions:

  1. Have your BI initiatives been affected (budget, priorities, staffing, requirements, etc) by the recent economic conditions?
  2. If yes, how a. Change in budget b. Change in staffing c. Change in prioritization d. Change in requirements e. Other, please elaborate
  3. Are these changes and implications more or less severe for BI initiatives as compared to other IT initiatives (infrastructure, security, ERP applications, etc)?
  4. Do you think there will now be a higher priority placed on streamlining, re-use, consolidation, centralizing BI initiatives vs. addressing new functional requirements?
  5. Would you recommend that I place higher priority on recession specific research (for example “recession proofing your BI initiatives”) vs. research that is applicable to all economic conditions such as best practices, methodologies, vendor selection, use cases, case studies, etc?

While the answers are still trickling in, the following patterns are already emerging:

  • Over 60% of you said that your BI budgets are not being cut. The other 30% are seeing BI budgets being cut, but not due to the current economic conditions, rather due to larger long term BI streamlining and consolidation initiatives.
  • Over 66% of you said that new or improved BI functionality is still at the top of your priority lists vs. consolidation and centralization initiatives.
  • Over 60% of you said that you would rather continue to see research that is applicable to any economic conditions. Those who wanted to see recession specific research were very explicit that we should attribute a relatively small portion of research to that theme.

I really thank all of you out there for soothing my heart, and restoring my confidence and belief in long term strategic planning that at least my fellow BI professionals are holding the steady course with comments like:

  • “We really need help in the Best Practices, Methodologies, Use Cases and Case Studies area…the recession alignment is really not what we need.  I think we get that”
  • “Our needs are clearly on new functionality requirements.  We strive to make BI more than just query & reporting.  We want operational/predictive BI to help our business make better decisions faster.”
  • “These are best practices that should be done regardless of economic conditions.”
  • “Focus on business case, if you have  a compelling business case that is recession proof”
  • “BI in our commercial environments is a market enabler so cost becomes less of a factor”
  • “We do see improving BI as a critical initiative across many of our business processes from sales to HR. Many groups within are company are currently undertaking or evaluating projects to improve BI for reporting and analytics to improve response time, improve supply chain, improve revenue, etc”
  • “Functionality first!”
  • “By-in-large stay the course”

I wish our government leaders were as smart as many of you! Stay the course, continue to enable your business to be efficient, agile and effective. Help them make better decisions to increase revenues and cut costs.

And, most importantly, stay away from revolutions!

Topics: Enterprise Software, CXO, Data Centers, Data Management, Software, IT Employment

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9 comments
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  • Ever heard of the American Revolution?

    Revolutions change the faces in power.
    GoPower
    • What a completely ignorant post

      Go read some history.
      frgough
  • Revolution? Please, Not Again! -- YES.. Again...

    While I'll agree that MOST revolutions are a generally bad idea, NOT all of them are. As GoPower mentioned, there was the American Revolution. That, for better or worse, worked out fairly well.

    There have been a few others - the French did ok for themselves.

    It depends largely on the characters behind the revolution and what they STAND for. NOT all revolutions are a bad thing.

    However, I will agree with you about the economy. If memory serves me correctly, it seems we have a bit of a crisis just about every 4 years or so of late. Right around the Presidential elections or so it seems. This allows the Democrats to go on their bully pulpit and proclaim that we've got the worst economy in the last 50, 60 or 70 years.

    It happened when Bush I got elected, when Clinton got elected (both times), when Bush II got elected (both times). I'm not entirely sure why this is, but I would guess it has to do with uncertainty in the future.

    At any rate, we will get through it. Hopefully a lot wiser than we were before....
    Wolfie2K3
    • The American revolution was unique

      There has never been another like it in the history of the world.
      Why? Because the American revolution focused around the
      concept of private enterprise and personal liberty grounded in
      Judeo-Christian moral restraint, and the understanding that all
      governments tend toward tyranny and that all effort must be
      made to limit the power of the state.

      The American revolution stands alone in history as the ONLY
      revolution whose stated purpose was to restrict government, not
      give government more power.
      frgough
  • RE: Revolution? Please, Not Again!

    And you seem to forget the French revolution as well... and of course our own revolution here in the good ol' USofA. The Mexican revolution... 1848 revolution... The Industrial revolution... Digital revolution... Technology revolution...

    There seems to be quite a few successful ones after all!

    AS for the government leaders and smart... they were elected... so what does that really tell you? ]:)
    Linux User 147560
    • A little history lesson is in order

      The French revolution turned into such a nightmare massacre
      that the people begged for the return of the king. The Mexican
      revolution started a chain reaction of serial revolutions over
      decades resulting in a government today that is barely
      functional.

      The economic revolutions you discuss are separate and distinct
      from political revolutions, but note that they occurred only in
      those countries where individual liberty and free enterprise was
      celebrated (Britain and USA).

      Considering that the "revolutions" being spoken of today are all
      patterning themselves after the marxist mantra of a "chicken in
      every pot" as opposed to the mantra of the American revolution
      "Government must be restrained" you will see why the blog
      author has cause for concern.
      frgough
  • Evolution is revolution

    The concept of evolution as slow, steady change has not been reflected in the fossil record. Life on Earth has gone through long periods with little change, followed by explosions of rapid change, many times brought on by some calamity. If you consider Man to be a part of nature, why should our history be any different? Perhaps it is in our "nature" for our societies to stagnate for long periods, followed by a collapse and a rapid evolution into a new order.

    Perhaps we are now approaching just such a time.
    itpro_z
    • Incorrect analysis

      The better analysis is the one given by the Founding Fathers: "All
      governments tend toward tyranny."

      As our Constitution has been increasingly ignored, and as people
      have been seduced by the "chicken in every pot" and "we'll make
      the people you envy pay" promises of statists, it is only natural
      that our government grows increasingly powerful and intrusive.
      frgough
  • RE: Revolution? Please, Not Again!

    I am so glad you are having this discussion - yet another proof that American revolution was the only one that did not suppress opinions. All others did.
    bevelson