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Stripping Down to Essentials in a Financial Crisis

So in the middle of the worst financial meltdown in my lifetime, I find myself on a plane to London, UK to visit some partners and customers.  I am on a British Airways flight and they hand out a British newspaper and I start reading about how they are dealing with the situation.

You must remember that it is the British that brought us “Monty Python” and the “Pink Panther” and they tend to look at the world and life a little differently.

I was therefore not surprised to find this big article about how the financial crisis and economic recession will actually be good for the British people because they will eat less, drink less, smoke less, drive less, conserve energy and help the environment. All this, according to the newspaper, will result in healthier Brits and a cleaner planet! So the conclusion of the piece was “Bring it on – we will not be depressed and keep our heads low through all this, we will embrace it and turn it into something positive”.

As I was pondering this intriguing British trait of both being eccentric and humorously optimistic, I looked up to see a passenger on the plane step out of his seat into the aisle and proceed to remove his pants. He very neatly folded them and took a pair of striped pajama bottoms from his bag which he put on. He did the same with his top and then sat back in his seat and closed his eyes to sleep. I was quite shocked at first but then it dawned on me, he must be British!

As  I visited companies in the UK, it was business as usual and both the need, plus impetus to implement Business Intelligence solutions, are as strong as ever. While budgets may be reduced, companies may cut back on hardware, software and contract staff but they will still look to move ahead with projects that can both strategically improve revenues and reduce costs. Business Intelligence becomes more important than ever in a depressed economy for analyzing what works and what does not. If something works, then we will be more inclined to continue to do it, just like I am sure that the man who put his pajamas on did so because he sleeps better when he is wearing them. Maybe it is not conventional to change in an aisle on a plane, but I am sure he was not thinking about that and was simply focused on his desired objective of sleeping.

Likewise, if your desired objective is to get accurate and strategic business intelligence out of your data, then use the tried and tested methods of designing and building a multi-dimensional data mart and using proper ETL tools and processes . I was pleased to see the customers I visited in the U.K. doing this and being successful at it.

The news last week of the British Government taking major financial stakes in the top UK banks had the U.S. and several  other Western Governments following their lead. Maybe we can also follow their lead in implementing  effective business intelligence solutions to help spur a financial recovery, but I think we should stop short on copying their methods of sleeping on planes!

About Paul

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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