Why do so many corporate investments in information technology fail to deliver their full business benefits? A recent yearlong research study from the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change, entitled "Data to Knowledge to Results: Building an Analytic Capability," concludes that organizations don't pay enough attention to the creation of the analytic capabilities to be delivered by that technology. In other words, the systems are doing just what we asked them to do – delivering optimized transaction processing – but we're not asking them to do enough. Only the right analytic capabilities enable an organization's people to draw useful insights from the data – insights that improve the bottom line or fulfill a particular mission.

If corporations are to realize a return on the millions – even billions – of dollars they've invested in new systems for the back and front office, they need to deliver the real data and information necessary to manage the business. One of the key steps in delivering that capability is an enterprise data strategy.

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