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Cognos.com Tip: The challenge to the community of BI vendors is how to connect the universe of disparate data and information to provide a common business view of your company's operations. You've invested in tracking all of the salient transactions for sales, supply, manufacturing, and the like, yet how do you pull it together? A simplistic, though easily understood, analogy is found in the trusty spreadsheet. Old timers that started using Excel, Oracle, Lotus, or other similar software remember the early days when a sheet was just that set of information. Then came sheet linking and multi-dimensional spreadsheets. Business reporting software performs a similar function with all of your company's sources of data, but on a much faster and larger scale. Selection of the proper business reporting software can reliably lead to more value from your data investment and permit you to take advantage of emerging business opportunities with the right data, appropriate refresh timeliness and delivery characteristics.