Dear Readers,

According to a recent survey conducted by DM Review, business intelligence/data warehousing projects are at the top of the list of key initiatives for most of our readers. This development is a result of the need for better information to make critical and timely business decisions to increase revenue and profits which have been severely impacted by the recession.

In this issue, one of our feature articles, "Integrated Analytics," explores the ways to gain increased value from enterprise resource planning systems. Integrated analytics allow a company to react more quickly to a changing business environment by better integrating a company's information assets across the value chain, delivering role-based business intelligence to the information consumer in a personalized manner and allowing for the incorporation of advanced analytical models focused on decision making.

Also in this issue, we look at the current status of "XML Standards for Global Customer Information Management." The greatest benefit of XML lies in its ability to manage islands of data using a common data format that is understandable to any processes/systems/businesses that use it for data representation, data exchange/interchange and application integration. The author asserts that the best solution would be to develop an open, vendor- neutral, application-independent, industry-standard XML language to describe global customers ­ which is going to be a very difficult task.

Another high-priority initiative for our readers is high availability and disaster recovery, which is addressed in the feature "Improving Business Continuity Through Distributed Data Management." The article also explores storage solutions and replication options.

Speaking of initiatives, take the initiative to read the interesting real-world example of "Data Stewardship in Action," as well as "Universal Data Models for Health Care," an explanation of how generic or template data models save time and effort by providing proven reusable data constructs and additional perspectives that may not be apparent during information requirements-gathering.

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