Organizations everywhere are facing unrelenting pressure to attract and retain customers in an increasingly volatile and fiercely contested marketplace. Together, these factors are placing heavy demands on operational decision making. Under these conditions, business leaders must not only make the right decisions, they must also make them at the right time. Finding ways of bringing together and making sense of the vast amounts of data flowing within and across the extended enterprise is becoming a key business success factor.

CEOs no longer ask, "How well did we do last quarter?" Instead, they ask, "How well are we doing right now?" Unfortunately, the best that many organizations can do today is to answer the question, "How did we do yesterday?" This situation is similar to asking CEOs to drive their cars by looking in the rearview mirror rather than by looking through the front windshield. Yet, many organizations are forced to work in this way because their systems are unable to provide a real-time picture of how well a business is performing.

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