How many times have you needed a tidbit of information, and you're cert

ain it exists, but you don't know exactly where to find the particular data point you're searching for? If you're like most people, the answer is many, many times... each day.

(At this point I stop to search for that statistic on time wasted looking for information. I know I've seen it... ah, there it is.) Gartner estimates that information workers spend up to 30 percent of their working day looking for information they need.

Frustration grows as information creation explodes - some estimates claim that the amount of information we face rises tenfold every five years. Researcher Basex claims that each year $900 billion is lost in productivity due to information overload in American companies alone.

So the challenge now becomes how to add time spent to our perception of how much we increase business value.

I've observed that the use of dashboards and data visualization continues to grow for this very reason. Executives and information workers need to be able to meter their time as well as their decisions based on the data flowing through a company at any given moment.

In our cover story this month, Bill Priakos, COO of the Dallas Cowboys Merchandising, shares how dashboards have made all the difference in how he manages mass quantities of data for the multiple operational lines of his company in short order (see page 10). With visualization and real-time metrics, Bill can quickly answer his own questions without reaching for the phone, and make informed decisions that draw directly on the powerful information management subsystems his organization has invested in.

Continuing with the information accessibility theme, Marge Breya of SAP shared her perspective of how enterprise search is changing in an interview with Jim Ericson. Marge states that if information workers need to use a search box, "we've probably already failed him or her." See page 32 to read why.

If you've figured out the perfect way to find the data tidbits you seek as you face these challenges in information accessibility, please share them in our new discussion boards at These forums are moderated by leading industry consultants, and I'm sure you'll benefit from the community input. We're pretty excited about it.

In the meantime, enjoy the issue.

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