Most senior executives, across all enterprises, are likely to agree that two of their most valuable corporate assets are their employees and their corporate data. Most will also agree that increasingly these employees need better, faster and more complete access to information in support of their daily activities, so that they can better contribute to the efficiency and profitability of the organization. Yet enabling these employees to gain easy access to corporate data is still something that many of today's businesses have failed to achieve. The Gartner Group has described this issue as the "Fact Gap," and a recent survey by the research group Find/SVP revealed that 84 percent of IT executives in large corporations have been mandated to close this gap by finding ways to provide information to workers who need it, when they need it.

Why does this "information gap" exist? An examination of the evolution of reporting solutions gives some understanding of the issues that organizations have faced in trying to deliver information to their demanding user populations.

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