Like many of us, I've been navigating the maze of Web sites, magazines, television shows and newsletters claiming to provide the "guide to investing in 2003" or "ways to beat a bear market." The majority of these articles try to lure me in by highlighting results of various investment options that have performed quite well over five and/or 10-year periods. For a moment, I imagine the end of all my financial concerns, opportunities with guaranteed returns that are void of risk. What a relief! But my enthusiasm wanes as I notice the glaring asterisk placed adjacent to the glorious figures. Skimming down to the bottom of the page, I see the footnote that states, "Past performance is no guarantee of future results." Or, in other words, "Good luck, but you're on your own from this point forward."

IT executives face similar concerns. How can you narrow the broad range of potential projects and focus on those that deliver maximum short-term and long-term value? The good news is an investment option does exist that provides results that can be forecasted with extreme accuracy and minimal risk. Think of it as a highly rated bond, but with returns in the 200-500 percent range! For those organizations looking to reduce operating costs and/or improve analytical capabilities, the answer to high return IT investing in 2003 is data mart consolidation (DMC).

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