Thursday, March 13, 2008

The R-Word Chronicles, Vol. 4


A quick shout-out back to the always-worth-reading Mr. Tony Baer of OnStrategies, who has just blogged in response to my most recent Network World column, incorporated into Vol. 1 of this thread, on BI as a tool for weathering recessions.

OK, I’ve had a bit too much caffeine and I hyperlinked that last sentence to kingdom come. But there really is a point to this shout-back, above and beyond me finally beginning to respond directly to my peers across the blogosphere.

With all due respect, Tony, I didn’t argue that, per your interpretation, that “BI provides tools that are not likely to be sacrificed in a downturn.” Don’t think I’m hair-splitting on this. Please hang with me a sec while I clarify.

As you noted, I assumed, in writing that article, was that there are no sacred cows in a business downturn. But I also assumed that that every investment--including BI--is a likely candidate for chopping.

In that article, what I issued was a challenge to IT professionals to safeguard their companies’ investments in BI, data warehousing, etc in the face of fiscal austerity. Here’s the core thesis of the piece:
  • “For IT professionals, the greatest test may be in how well they safeguard their organizations' core analytics assets from budget cuts during down economic times. The core issue is: How can you optimize your end-to-end analytic environment -- such as, control costs of your business intelligence applications, predictive analytics applications, enterprise data warehouses and other key infrastructure -- without impairing service levels or limiting your company's ability to leverage analytics into new business opportunities?”
By the way, yes, I do cover BI for Forrester (as I noted in an earlier post: Boris Evelson is our lead analyst on BI; I’m lead on data warehousing, plus partner-in-crime with Boris in what amounts to a Forrester dynamic duo on all things BI, a space so broad and deep that one analyst alone can barely do it justice). But, be that as it may, I’m under no illusion that this technology’s value proposition is so cinch-tight that corporate investments in BI can’t get swept out to sea in a perfect business storm.

While I’m on the topic of my Forrester coverage areas, check out our Information and Knowledge Management Blog. I post to the Forrester I&KM blog too, of course, along with all of my colleagues. FYI, in terms of upcoming BI research we’ll be publishing in coming months, Boris is taking the lead on our latest BI Wave, and I’m lead on our forthcoming BI market sizing study.

Back now to the topic of the r-word and its impact on I&KM. Check out Kyle McNabb’s recent post on the impact of recession on enterprise adoption of enterprise content management (ECM) solutions.

If you’re a Forrester customer, you should also look at Andrew Bartel and Merv Adrian’s recent teleconferences, “Vendor Market Strategists: How To Prepare For A Downturn” and “CIOs: How To Prepare For A Recession.” Also, Connie Moore did a teleconference entitled, “Information & Knowledge Management Professionals: How To Survive (And Even Thrive) In Times Of Economic Uncertainty.”

Another bread-and-butter plug: Role-focused competitive, market, and best-practices intelligence are always essential, in all economic climates. That’s where industry analysts fit into the IT world’s food chain. Deep feeds of intelligence from leading industry analysts--that should be sacrosanct, if nothing else is, in all enterprise and vendor budgets.

Got that? Role--that’s an R-word. Research--another one. Relevance--a third. This could go on forever but won’t.

Thanks for your indulgence.