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Putting It All Together

Information improves our knowledge. It also helps us evaluate alternative decisions that ultimately lead to action. The Internet has taught us to be impatient consumers of information. Data warehouses are being updated more frequently so that business intelligence technologies can report "what was?" performance trends more quickly. Often this is not fast enough, so we turn to XML-based reporting engines to provide us with "what is?" status reporting near real-time. These XML-based reporting engines can also transgress enterprise boundaries to provide status reporting throughout the trading community. Both are valuable. Up-to-the-minute reporting of performance is more useful if there is a reference point. So, although it is important to know what a stock is trading at right now, for example, it is necessary to place this information within the context of historical performance.

Bridging the gap between informing users (increasing their knowledge) and turning that knowledge into action requires predictive intelligence. The foundation for integrated predictive intelligence is a data warehouse because it is the basis for an enterprise-wide and interenterprise language standard to support collaboration from which consensus-based decisions are made. By converting the data warehouse into an active collaboration and notification system, decision-makers throughout the organization can not only be informed, but well informed. Tapping this foundation will help organizations complete the final transition from historical to current to forward-looking views of performance metric—from "what was?" to "what is?" to "what if?"

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