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Accurate management, forecasting and strategic reporting is heavily dependent on the use of past-performance data and the ability to interpret this data to take into account current and future market conditions. In many companies obtaining accurate organisational wide information can be difficult due to the incomplete and often incompatible "silo" reporting techniques associated with traditional application focused reporting.

Common approaches to resolving this problem usually involve
the transfer of data
,
either through interfaces or direct data entry, from data entry systems into management reporting solutions. This results in inefficient use of data, staffing and IT resources and can lead to management reporting being based on out-of-date data.

A Business Intelligence (BI) solution retrieves data from the original source and makes it available to users in a timely and friendly manner. Reporting users do not need to understand the source or complexities of the data storage models within the data capture subsystems but instead are presented with a coherence, structured data source for reporting purposes.
Generally, the primary benefits a business will experience from the deployment of a BI solution are:
  • The leveraging of existing investments in packaged applications by extracting value from the data they hold within.
  • Better visibility of the organization for both executives and business managers.
  • A better understanding of the organisation's customers, and therefore a greater ability to retain them.
  • A positive impact on the company's investment in IT as users gain instant access to information, which in turn generates a fast payback.
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