Today, competitiveness = speed + accuracy. If an organization is going to move effectively to keep pace with market trends and stay competitive, it needs to quickly gather and analyze relevant facts from its value chain and use that information to make better decisions. Moreover, it needs to make this happen as cheaply as possible, especially if it is budget-constrained.

Easier said than done. To succeed in today's competitive environment, management needs real-time access to relevant information that must often be aggregated from across the business landscape. Often, the available data cannot answer management's questions such as, "What is the availability and use of a company's assets and the profitability of its activities?" Typically, getting specific answers requires making a formal request to the IT department. Then, the IT department has to search for data through disparate sources and consolidate the information into one view. The final challenge is in applying the proper analytics to the data to deliver meaningful insight. Thus, a request of this nature could take weeks or months to complete. By then, the market and business conditions have changed, and the information is irrelevant.

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