The success of BI over the past two decades has led to the demand for a wider range of data-analysis tools. Twenty years ago, a business analyst asked to create a report could spend weeks, even months, compiling data from multiple sources—pulling data from spreadsheets, paper forms, annual reports, multiple databases, slips of paper, and napkins. The opportunity for human error was (and in many cases, still is) enormous. You would often see numbers transposed, entered multiple times, or missed entirely. The techniques used in BI have helped to reduce the time required to create reports and increased the reliability of those reports.
Not long ago, a client of ours was responsible for producing a quarterly sales and ...