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Tom Breur

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Tom Breur, Principal with XLNT Consulting, has a background in database management and market research. For the past 10 years, he has specialized in how companies can make better use of their data. He is an accomplished teacher at universities, MBA programs and for the Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP) program. He is a regular keynoter at international conferences.  Currently,he is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Targeting, the Journal of Financial Services Management and Banking Review. He acts as an advisor for The Council of Financial Competition and the Business Banking Board and was cited among others in Harvard Management Update about state-of-the-art data analytics. His company, XLNT Consulting, helps companies align their IT resources with corporate strategy, or in plain English, he helps companies make more money with their data. For more information you can email him at or call +31646346875.


August 2009 Archives

Ronald Reagan”Facts are stupid things”, Ronald Reagan once said. But in Business Intelligence we believe that facts are just about the most important thing in the new world. Way up there, with God (Bill Inmon) and the ‘single version of the truth’. So, if facts are stupid what happens with our beloved area of expertise: BI. Let’s take a look at what Reagan meant instead of what he said. For starters, he misquoted somebody else. What he really wanted to say was: ”facts are stubborn things”. Ah, well. That we can agree on. A fact is a fact is a fact. And shall remain unchanged forever and ever, amen. But the message he tried to bring across was that facts are one thing but the way they are perceived can be completely different. This brings me to cognitive dissonance. This is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation. New facts that rock the world you already believe in and perceive as being true. One possibility is to just ignore those new facts. The simple solution is often first resistance and after that ignorance. The other position is to be open to change and explore these new facts. Interpretation of these facts is then determined by its context. With that I mean that a number – let’s say 100 – only has value if you know if it applies to meters or miles, turnover or monthly salary.  Also some facts have meaning for some but none for others. Accountants and sales people view the world differently and will therefore have different interpretations or even interest of let’s say turnover. Instead of working towards some kind of shared single version of the truth, we should write down the context or definition of each fact. With that you know if you can ignore or explore and decide if facts are really stupid.

Posted August 21, 2009 1:27 PM
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