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It is no secret that today's businesses thrive on data. The last century saw a dramatic surge in the desire and ability of organizations to gather and process information. Executives used the information to make decisions that helped their enterprises grow. Content became king, and businesses that had not paid attention to their numbers soon decided to follow suit.



Eventually, the ability to accumulate information far exceeded the ability to process it. This was magnified by the more recent corporate tendency to have fewer people taking on larger workloads than in the past. All the while, the need for access to content insight expanded beyond the executive level to the average worker. This established the need for a more effective way to find that insight through data visualization.

Good data visualization had been valued for quite some time by high-level executives. Their employees spent endless hours poring over reports and creating charts and graphs for their executive presentations. It did not matter that the content was already a bit outdated. It was the elegance and intuitiveness of the visual presentation that mattered.

When it comes to presentation, today's business world is no different. In this age of the self-checkout and the iPhone, anyone can recognize a graphical user interface (GUI) that is as effective as it is pleasant to look at. A great GUI provides a positive user experience and ease of interaction that result in completing the task at hand. In the realm of data visualization, a great GUI can make all the difference. If content is king, an attractive and intuitive GUI is most certainly the queen.

As any queen stands proud beside her king, a beautiful and effective GUI can go hand-in-hand with robust, real-time content. Enterprise dashboards are an invaluable resource for organizations that have evolved to the next stage of their content reporting needs. This intuitive interface design presents complex relationships and performance metrics in a format that is easily understandable and digestible -- and the business world has taken notice. A September 2007 report by the Aberdeen Group found that 89 percent of Best-in-Class companies surveyed either already have dashboards, or plan to implement dashboards to monitor their key performance indicators (KPIs). A dashboard with features of an effective GUI (positive user experience, ease of use and meaningful user interaction) is a perfect match for the rich and varied content of today's enterprises.

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