In part 1 of this series, I discussed the significant sections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) with regard to data validity and transparency. Business intelligence (BI) has a significant role in meeting the compliance requirements, with four components being particularly useful. We continue this series by discussing the information technology (IT) mandates implicit in the legislation that the CIO must take advantage of.

Let's start with the current situation facing corporate executives and then look at the technological environment of many of our public corporations. SOX requires that CEOs, CFOs and other corporate executives be connected to the everyday occurrences throughout their enterprises. This means that the supporting IT infrastructures must supply a never-ending set of "real-time," quality data. But let's face it, most IT infrastructures today cannot handle real-time integrated reporting. They lack the necessary integration between data, processes and technologies. The links between systems are not robust (even undocumented in many cases) and rarely does the corporation have access to a repository of quality, current data.

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