If you're looking for examples of the next generation of BI leadership, a good place to start is with category leading brand names that can afford the kind of crossover talent that understands data as well as business needs. Our last newsletter profiled Rob Carter, the CIO of FedEx, who described his company's customer-centric approach to data. Another example would be Yahoo's chief data officer Usama Fayyad who also delivered a keynote at our recent BI Forum in Phoenix. While most BI leaders lead off with the scope of their data projects, Fayyad will only reluctantly get around to the 10 terabyte data processing load Yahoo faces on a given day. He'd rather talk about where, how and why Yahoo wins and loses in the business marketplace and work back to data from there.

Talent like Carter and Fayyad (and the resources they can bring to bear) are enviable to companies who continue to grapple with the white space between business and IT. It's plainly evident that BI is meant to actually solve problems for the enterprise, yet the curtain remains partly drawn between business and IT, each with an opinion on what the other really needs.

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