With the new year upon us, now is a good time to take stock of where the industry has been and where it's going. The never-ending crises of the workday often force us to spend all our time avoiding crashing into trees - rather than stepping back and noticing the evolving nature of the forest.

The business intelligence environment has changed. Fifteen years ago - when BI was in its infancy and data warehousing was just catching on - simply generating an overview report of the business was a major victory. Today, data warehouses and data marts are common, every knowledge worker has a Pentium-class PC on their desk, and mechanisms such as enterprise reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP) and dashboards quickly alert us to changes in the business.

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