ShiftCentral / Bells and whistles don’t equal quality market intelligence

Bells and whistles don’t equal quality market intelligence

Growing up suburban in the ‘80s, boom boxes – big, bass-heavy portable stereos – were all the rage. To elicit maximum covetousness among one’s peers, a boom box had to be loud, it had to be at least the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, and its “want factor” was greatly enhanced by the presence of a confounding array of knobs, levers, switches, and lights.

Often though, one would drop $200 on one of these behemoths only to discover that its dozen or so EQ levers didn’t actually do much of anything, and that maybe its on-board strobe light was contributing to the $20 in D-cells it was going through every few days. Inconvenient and expensive, most boom boxes were consigned to the dump after a couple of years.

Which brings us to products that attempt to automate the information gathering and data crunching essential to producing quality market intelligence. There are plenty of vendors that would have you believe it is easier to automate information management than to hire the work out to people.

However, the end result of automating the process of information gathering, interpretation and curation mostly involves filling the user’s screen with an impressive but impractical smorgasbord of charts, graphs and other widgets.

In order to be effective, market intelligence requires information to be carefully curated every step of the way, from gathering through to decision-making. It is challenging and time-consuming work that requires the critical thinking, flexibility and creativity that only people can provide. Automated MI tools may have a lot of bells and whistles, but at the end of the day they are the boom boxes of the industry. Information curation requires the human touch to provide actionable results.