Regular business intelligence tools can give you historical data in a weekly report, but to spot problems as they are occurring, you need perpetually fresh analytics immediately. SAP Business Objects and SeeWhy -- whose clients include MasterCard -- are among the companies trying to fill that niche. "The outputs of these events are usually ... automatic initiation of immediate actions in other applications, instead of reports, which require analysis and interpretation by humans before any decision can be made," SeeWhy's CEO says.

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