I consulted with a major financial services company that wanted my opinion on a dashboard they were building for their CFO. This dashboard would have a real-time tachometer showing each instance when a journal entry transaction was entered into one of their 11 general ledgers around the globe. Curious, I asked about the reasoning behind the functionality, and their answer was that the CFO wanted more up-to-date information. In reality, the CFO needed midmonth data to help understand why one system was always running behind in closing out their monthly books. The CFO was not asking for real-time data, he was asking for right-time data.

With advances in technology and the need to shorten the time to decision, organizations are moving beyond the traditional nightly or weekly load into more real-time and near real-time applications. These developments in advanced data loading and real-time integration are exciting and applicable to many business situations, but seven best practices must be applied to fully leverage the technology.

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