It wasn't supposed to be this way. The promise of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and the emergence of enterprise application integration (EAI), data warehousing (DW) and business intelligence (BI) technologies was supposed to revolutionize the way business was conducted, or at least the way systems supported streamlined business processes. Why, to a large degree, has the promise of these technologies gone unfulfilled? Why do so many organizations have so much trouble accessing, coalescing and understanding their corporate data in a timely manner? In short, why is data management and analysis still such an intractable problem?

It's not the fault of the technologies; it's the way they're being used. The concepts of data integration and BI are still viable, but not in the way you might think. It's not applications that need to be integrated or centralized, per se. It's the information contained within those applications - the information used to support business processes, analyze performance and predict the future - that needs to be integrated and made available, as it is needed, to knowledge-workers and decision-makers.

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