As we all know, the demand for information access and reporting is increasing. On the supply side, companies like IBM and Accenture are betting on great growth in information management services in support of ideas such as the "Now Economy," a phrase offered presciently in the 1990s by editors at The Economist. A writer for The Economist later described how GE CIO Gary Reiner was the first at his company to have his own software "dashboard" to leverage fleeting information - way back in early 2001. As Ludwig Siegele wrote in the January, 2002 issue:

"GE 's aim is to monitor everything in real time, Mr. Reiner explains, calling up a special Web page on his PC: a 'digital dashboard.' From a distance it looks like a Mondrian canvas in green, yellow and red. A closer look reveals that the colours signal the status of software applications critical to GE 's business. If one of the programs stays red or even yellow for too long, Mr. Reiner gets the system to e-mail the people in charge. He can also see when he had to intervene the last time, or how individual applications - such as programs to manage book-keeping or orders - have performed."

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