Imagine a world where the potentials of business intelligence are more pervasive and more accessible. Thanks to an initiative that's steadily gathering steam, that reality may not be far off.

The XML for Analysis (XML/A) specification, first announced in April 2001, is a joint initiative between Microsoft, Hyperion and SAS. Representing a substantial shift in the industry, XML/A will allow open access to multidimensional databases from many providers. While still in its infancy, some think the specification may grow to be more influential than ODBC, OLE DB and ODBO.

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