Business executives and knowledge workers need access to high-quality, succinct information delivered at the time of decision-making, and that information must help solve business problems as well as take advantage of opportunities. Time is money; delays in assimilating information used in today's real-time corporate environments are perilous. Often, decisions must be made in minutes or hours instead of days or weeks. Regardless of where an organization is with its enterprise data initiatives, there are techniques one can use to streamline the exchange of information.

Have you been involved in a conversation about a basic business question that should be easily answerable, but in reality the answer takes 30 minutes to explain? What were total sales last week? How many new customers did we acquire last month? How many products do we have? Think of the subtleties of the correct answer to a question as easy as how to define a customer. For a retailer, is the customer the individual or the household? Is the answer the number of customers entered, even potential duplicates - and, at what level of potential - small, probable, none? Is one considered a customer if he or she only bought and returned product? What about attrited customers, and how do we define that!?

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