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To create competitive advantage, companies of every size measure and analyze information from five areas of their business: cash, customers, sales, products, and people. As Peter Drucker wrote, "What gets measured, gets managed."
Just as important as seeing each aspect of an organization is the ability to ask—and answer—the questions that will help a business grow. For many businesses, the current economic climate adds even greater urgency to the issue, since getting insight into operations can be the difference between a robust quarter and a disappointing one.
Still, most management teams can’t quickly answer many of their most critical business questions. They are limited by the cost and complexity of using traditional business analytics software to aggregate information that resides in separate systems for finances, sales, marketing, human resources, and the supply chain. Instead, teams of information technology analysts often take months to retrieve data housed throughout their organization and present it to business users in meaningful formats.
But new technology and delivery models are changing business analytics. Companies have discovered that on-demand business analytics solutions can free the information trapped in corporate systems. On-demand business analytics convey information directly to the Web browsers of business users who can ask the right questions, see the relationship between different data, and quickly make decisions. Delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS), these new solutions make it easy to securely integrate and access data from an entire organization. Business users can now glean spectacular insights right on their desktops by tailoring the key performance indicators, dashboards, and reports they need to align their results with business goals.
Business users no longer need to endure delays accessing data, rely on generic reports that don’t address specific issues, or cut and paste within spreadsheets. Instead, with this new generation of metrics-driven business intelligence solutions, users can analyze data from multiple sources on the fly in a way that’s meaningful to their business, assuring that "what gets measured, gets managed."
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