In most organizations, business intelligence (BI) has always played second fiddle to transaction applications. Organizations have traditionally lavished millions of dollars on projects to implement packaged operational applications and rewarded the IT managers who supervised these projects with hefty salaries. In contrast, until recently, BI projects have always been an afterthought, viewed by executives as departmental systems or the responsibility of a few programmers who write custom reports. A career in BI was seemingly a dead-end for ambitious IT professionals.

Today, the stepchild status of BI is changing. One sign of change is the growing stature of BI Directors who oversee data warehousing and business intelligence projects. These days, BI Directors regularly manage multimillion dollar maintenance and capital budgets, oversee sizable teams of developers and contractors, and negotiate large deals with software vendors. More importantly, BI Directors now manage what their top executives consider to be a "strategic resource" that supports fact-based decision making and keeps the organizations headed in the right direction.

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