To operate successfully, companies are beginning to realize that business objectives, responsibilities and performance requirements must be articulated throughout the organization and must be managed not only at the executive and senior management level, but also at the grass roots line-of-business (LOB) user level. Business intelligence (BI) is a key enabling technology that can help support this corporate need, and its capabilities must, therefore, be extended to LOB users. This is not a simple task. Although BI usage continues to grow, large numbers of LOB users are still not able to exploit the benefits offered by BI technology. This is because many LOB managers and business users simply do not have the time or skills to use BI applications and tools effectively. The solution to this problem is to make BI event-driven and more automated.

Today's BI products can be examined from two key dimensions - the kinds of BI processing they provide and the types of business users they support. From a processing perspective, the three main types of BI processing to consider are strategic planning, tactical analysis and operational decision making. Within each of these three types of processing, there are additional levels of granularity, including reporting, reactive analysis (OLAP), predictive analysis, and planning and budgeting. From a BI user perspective, the four kinds of business users that need to be considered are executives, business analysts, operational LOB managers and operational LOB users.

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