Several years ago, I was involved in a consulting engagement with the IT operations of a multibillion dollar firm. The focus was on the areas of budgets, ROI achievement, effective system use and user satisfaction. While the IT staff did a good job of managing budgets, they often struggled to deliver strategic business benefits to the users. One of their biggest problems was the inability to deliver timely information to executives and business users who needed to make ad hoc decisions. Consequently, expensive MBA types scrambled to extract data from business intelligence reports and spreadsheets in order to prepare analyses for the managers.

A recent Forrester Research survey noted that when it came to BI environments, 59 percent of the respondents indicated that users were unable to access 100 percent of the data needed for reporting and analytic work. Additionally, 78 percent of the respondents indicated that their BI environment did not enable exploration and analysis with features such as adaptive data models, unlimited dimensionality and guided analysis.

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