This article is an excerpt from the book Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business by Wayne W. Eckerson, director of research and services at The Data Warehousing Institute, a worldwide association of data warehousing and business intelligence professionals. The book was published in October 2005 and can be ordered at online book dealers.

This summer I found my 11-year-old son Harry and his best pal Jake kneeling side by side in our driveway, peering intensely at the pavement. As I walked over to inspect this curious sight, I saw little puffs of smoke rising from their huddle. Each had a magnifying glass and was using it to set fire to clumps of dry grass as well as a few unfortunate ants that had wandered into their makeshift science experiment.

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