A few weeks ago, I was on vacation in Southern California and decided to take my two teenage kids to Six Flags, Magic Mountain. Now this is definitely a place for those who like wild rides. After getting soaked on a log ride, my wife and I found ourselves being led to a monster construction called “Goliath”. This 26 story high roller coaster is considered an “Extreme” category ride that at one point plunges at a 60 degree angle, reaching a speed of 85 mph, into a dark tunnel. Definitely not a ride for the squeamish or for sensible Business Intelligence consultants!
I sat next to my wife, tightly locked in with shoulder protectors and wondered what would happen next. Just as we climbed to the top of the 26 story peak, my wife started screaming hysterically. I turned to her just at the point that we started to plunge. As I turned back to look down, we disappeared into a dark tunnel. When we emerged, my wife started screaming again and, sure enough, a second later we were looping upside down. This pattern continued throughout the ride and when we finally stopped, I turned to my wife to see her rigidly gripping her shoulder handles and looking as though she had seen a ghost! It took a little while to pry her loose from her seat and she was shaking for a good two minutes afterwards.
While my wife certainly got her money’s worth out of Goliath, it also got me thinking about the state of the economy and Business Intelligence right now. I know, you must think I have a weirdly wired brain, but sometimes I honestly cannot control what comes into my head! So, here we are in this strange economy where one day we are diving into a recession and the next day we are emerging from a recession that never really was a recession. While the financial experts drive us crazy with their inconsistent predictions, businesses are desperately trying to adjust to both the current and future economic climate. The result is not that different to a ride on the Goliath roller coaster.
If we look too far ahead based on the predictions of the experts, we start screaming and panicking before anything has happened, just like my wife. If we base our business decisions and adjustments on solid fact then we can ride the ups and downs and twists on what we are actually experiencing. Business Intelligence takes on a whole new significance in a downward economic situation. It is more important than ever to have accurate analysis of current and historical data and a single view of the truth so that you can make informed decisions before deciding which path to take.
One example that jumps to mind is the major US airlines needing to increase passenger revenue, eliminate certain routes, ground inefficient planes all to cope with the unprecedented increase in fuel costs. A good Business Intelligence solution will help make the best decision that will impact the airline the least. Better still, it will monitor, measure and make further recommended adjustments based on the results as the new actions are put in place. I can only recommend that all businesses look to use Business Intelligence to help them ride out this current roller coaster economy and if you are still not convinced, then just take a ride on Goliath with a screamer!