It has become eminently apparent that most professional workers are knowledge workers whose success or failure largely depends on access to information. Yet too many companies still wall off access to business insights behind a dedicated analytics department. But now, a better understanding of advances in embedded intelligence and predictive analytics are making it possible for analysts and decision-makers to be one and the same. After years of premature declarations, the ability to create a “predict and act” enterprise has quietly emerged. The question remains whether companies have a culture that empowers team members at various levels in the organization to manage information responsibly and to make decisions in a uniform manner.

Leading software providers such as SAP and Oracle are now embedding BI in releases of their enterprise resource planning solutions, instead of just bolting it on. When transactional and analytical capabilities are integrated into a single user interface, the power of data-driven insights will be in the hands of workers on the front line of the business. While many knowledge workers will breathe easier knowing they can go to one place for both analyzing data and executing decisions, this change alone is not enough to drastically improve decision-making processes. The next step is to combine historical data with forward-looking scenario-based analysis, or predictive analytics, thereby equipping knowledge workers with a decision-making platform.

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