March 2008

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Trends and Applications

In recent years, disaster recovery has garnered attention from the company boardroom to the Office of the CIO. Despite this fact, many companies have yet to implement an effective DR solution to safeguard their applications and data. This inertia is attributed to two factors - perception of the term "Disaster" ("when the disaster happens, we'll deal with it then") and shortcomings of existing solutions ("we don't have budget for machines to sit by idly").Due to the rarity of catastrophic disasters such as earthquakes, floods and fires, organizations rarely implement comprehensive disaster protection measures. However, there is another set of "technical disasters" that are caused by much more mundane events which regularly lead to significant system outages. These span faulty system components (server, network, storage, and software), data corruptions, backup/recovery of bad data, wrong batch jobs, bad installations/upgrades/patches, operator errors, and power outages, among others.

Despite efforts to "democratize" business intelligence, it has remained stubbornly confined to a chosen few within organizations. Although vendors have worked hard to convince enterprises that their BI solutions could be extended to line-of-business managers and employees, high-end analytic tools have remained confined to power users or analysts with statistical skills, while the remainder of the organization relies on spreadsheets to cobble together limited pieces of information.This disconnect was confirmed in a 2007 survey conducted by Unisphere Research for the Oracle Applications Users Group, which found that most companies are still a long way off from the ideal of BI for all. The OAUG survey found that for the most part, BI reporting remains tied up in IT departments, and is still limited to analysts or certain decision makers. The majority of survey respondents said that it takes more than three to five days to get a report out of IT. Overall, the survey found, fewer than 10 percent of employees have access to BI and corporate perĀ­formance management tools.