Wall Street Journal (subscription required) is running an article about an attempt by several online aggregators to level the playing field in the airfare market by revealing trend information to consumers. Several sites are providing the following data for flights between two points: lowest price, average price, predicted change and a confidence level (statistical confidence) about the prediction regarding a predicted change in the price.
Two things really stuck out in my mind about these great tools for air travelers: consumers often ignore or are ignorant of business sales cycles, and a B.S. degree in business analytics or computational mathmatics (applied statistics), followed up by a top-tier MBA is a powerful business tool.
The airfare tools can be found at FareCompare, Farecast (Now defunct), and Kayak.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
“Deregulation of the chicken’s side of the road was threatening its dominant market position. The chicken was faced with significant challenges to create and develop the competencies required for the newly competitive market. Accenture, in a partnering relationship with the client, helped the chicken by rethinking its physical distribution strategy and implementation processes. Using the Poultry Integration Model (PIM), Andersen helped the chicken use its skills, methodologies, knowledge, capital and experiences to align the chicken’s people, processes and technology in support of its overall strategy within a Program Management framework. Accenture convened a diverse cross-spectrum of road analysts and best chickens along with Anderson consultants with deep skills in the transportation industry to engage in a two-day itinerary of meetings in order to leverage their personal knowledge capital, both tacit and explicit, and to enable them to synergize with each other in order to achieve the implicit goals of delivering and successfully architecting and implementing an enterprise-wide value framework across the continuum of poultry cross-median processes. The meeting was held in a park-like setting, enabling and creating an impactful environment which was strategically based, industry-focused, and built upon a consistent, clear, and unified market message and aligned with the chicken’s mission, vision, and core values. This was conducive towards the creation of a total business integration solution. Accenture helped the chicken change to become more successful.” (Source: Funny Management Consultant Jokes and Business Jokes)
Have you ever sat in a meeting and heard phrases like the aformentioned? If you have, big red flashing lights and screaming sirens should be going off in your mind. This isn’t a poke at Accenture. The joke’s author did that, not me. What I want to point out is, at the end of the day, if a consultant hasn’t added value to your organization, something more than a warm fuzzy feeling, you should fire them on the spot.