Category Archives: Business Intelligence

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Before I make a decision, I ask this question – What else do I need to know?

  • What else do I need to know, before I make this decision?
  • What else do I need to know, that if I don’t know, may come back to destroy the decision?
  • What else do I need to know, that would cause me to make a different decision?
  • What else do I need to know, that would cause someone else to make a different decision?
  • What else do I need to know, that I don’t know I need to know?

I am not looking for analysis paralysis, but I am looking for a gut-check on my intuition.

Lehman R.I.P. – AIG?

Reprinted from January 14, 2008

My friends, as we look forward to 2008, understand that January 2009 will be a very different landscape. And we have twelve months to prepare. While Investor’s Business Daily proclaims we are teetering on a recession, that teetering point is still some months away. This is not a time for panic, but a time for preparation.

Lee Thayer, (Leadership 2004), speaks about necessity and its importance in the workplace. The entrepreneur, who starts a business, only puts in place that which is necessary. Only necessary equipment is purchased. Only necessary people are hired.

As time advances, and the business becomes more complex, necessity becomes more complex. And management decisions are made to bring on more infrastructure to support that complexity. Sometimes those decisions are accurate; sometimes those decisions miss the mark.

During this next year of preparation, look around. Re-think your work-flow. Re-think your personnel structure. Carefully examine what your customer wants, to make sure what you deliver is necessary.

Over the next few weeks, I will share with you economic insights to help you prepare. Those of you connected to residential housing are already working hard to survive in a recessionary climate. For those, thankfully, outside that environment, who think you have dodged a bullet, pay attention. January 2009 will be a very different landscape. -TF

Market Intelligence

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“Well, to be honest, it is very difficult to forecast revenues,” Cynthia explained. “You have to understand, we are connected to the residential housing industry and things are much different this year than they were last year.”

“But you have to make decisions based on your market. You have to make decisions about overhead, pursuit of market share, gearing your operations to meet a diminished demand. How will you make those decisions?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Things are just so different. I don’t think it’s possible to forecast this year’s revenues,” she continued to protest.

“Cynthia. If you cannot forecast revenues, then you don’t know your market. If you don’t know your market, you might as well sell the company right now.”

How does your company forecast revenues? How do you engage in Business Intelligence about your market? Post a comment. The best post will receive a copy of Real World Intelligence by Herbert Meyer (former Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence). “Ninety-five percent of what the CIA finds out about, is public information.”

Business Intelligence

“It’s really tough to find out what our competition is doing. They will roll a program out that I know takes, maybe, a year to develop. And, hell, it’s been out on the street for three months before I even hear about it. How can I do a better job of keeping up?” Bud shook his head. He still had plenty of spunk, but he was temporarily demoralized.

“Bud, first of all, if you try to do it alone, you will not only fail, but you will drive yourself crazy. One set of eyes and ears cannot keep track of everything that is going on in your market. You have to recruit your other team members, perhaps some vendors, maybe even a customer or two.”

“But, I already ask around. Nobody ever seems to know anything,” Bud was getting defensive.

“Look, Bud. Is this important to you, your company, to remain competitive?” I knew the answer, so I kept going. “Create a Business Intelligence meeting. All you need to know is out there, in the media, on the radio, in rumor mills and in formal conversation. Make some assignments. Have Joe read the Wall St. Journal. Have Fred read BusinessWeek. Have Joan report on your two key vendors supplying you with raw material. Then have that meeting every two weeks for half an hour. Get everyone to summarize what they have learned in an email and send it to a central person for compilation so you can read it looking for patterns. A Business Intelligence Briefing, just like the President.” -TF