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There is a deep dark challenge that frustrates nearly every CIO and it's this: there is highly useful data that users know is in the organization and they are clamoring to access it -- but they can't.

Finding ways to make this data available has proven nearly impossible because the information comes from multiple systems and combining it has proven to be time consuming, expensive, and fraught with peril. Recent discussions prove this to be true:

  • One CIO faced with a large analytics backlog and users demanding better insight found his ERP provider unable to satisfy the demands through its business intelligence (BI) tools
  • In order to beat the problem, another CIO estimated that he would need 11 data marts and 18 months to build and deploy a new solution -- with the estimated cost of almost $3 million

Whether the economy is going up or down, companies know they need better information to succeed. The executives who are responding to this are challenged with finding the insightful data that they know exists and that will give them a competitive or cost advantage. They're asking for:

  • Better insight into customers and buying patterns from data in numerous order management systems
  • Identifying of the root cause of warranty claims and relating them back to manufacturing processes or supplier-based issues
  • Optimizing designs in engineering to maximize supplier relationships and part costs
  • Understanding the cost of quality in manufacturing

Even many successful enterprise data warehouse (EDW) or data mart implementations have proven to be too limited as result of the nature of the underlying source system deployments. The causes:

  • Too many data sources
  • Disparate data types
  • Lack of integration
  • Limited analytics
  • Messy data and missing metadata

Why make this point? Repeatedly organizations speak of having to perform brute force data acquisition and integration -- locating data and working with spreadsheets to get some visibility to the business. It would also appear that the costs for basic reporting, achieving roll-ups, or business reporting are staggering and while they are hidden from the IT budget, they are visible to the P&L.


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