The Information Age promised everyone unlimited access to a wealth of information. Indeed it has delivered on that promise to the tune of terabytes of data accessible by anyone with an Internet connection.
Unfortunately, that flood of data overwhelmed, confused and misinformed many who thought it would bring enlightenment. The same holds true for businesses that could now retrieve their own data in an instant from the bowels of their own files. While the speed and access were great, that data also lent little useable information.
The inherent perils of this conundrum were succinctly driven home to me when I interviewed Boris Evelson, an analyst at Forrester, for a series on business intelligence that I wrote in CRM Buyer in 2009.
|“One bank CIO recently told me, ‘We had the data, but we did not have the information,’” he said, in describing the banking industry meltdown.|
Data alone, it turns out, is just another form of ignorance.
Think of it as retrieving loose pages from several leading business books strewn on the street by the wind.
Once you have the pages in hand, how are you to make sense of such a jumble of data much less form business decisions around it?
To present true and usable information to an organization, data must be pinned to context and married to business processes.
In other words, it must be transformed from mere information to actual knowledge.
In order to accomplish that, all information within a business must converge and then be retrievable within a specific context. That means combining business process management (BPM), enterprise content management (ECM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and business intelligence (BI) into a single, highly integrated and behemoth corporate brain.
Some of this is already happening. Take BPM and ECM, for example. Many businesses are already finding the value in the combo play and leading vendors are already combining the two into a single product as a result.
|“The drivers for BPM are major corporate concerns such as productivity, efficiency, agility, and innovation, all contributing to a macroeconomic view of the enterprise and a need to demonstrate return on investment in every operation,” explains Don DePalma, chief strategy officer and founder of Common Sense Advisory, a research and consulting firm that helps companies compete globally.
“Here’s where companies will see the intersection of ECM and BPM — managing content-related processes is a major component of business process management,” he added. “In short, these two enterprise applications go hand-in-hand.”
That’s the thing, really.
Combining them is like putting puzzle pieces together; in the end, the big picture will be revealed to you.
And that’s precisely what you need is the big picture with the ability to drill down to any single piece should you need too.
Look around and you’ll see signs of a dying information age and the rise of ‘knowledge as power’ as companies shift from single systems such as BI that fall notably short of acceptable results and move towards combining systems to achieve true business intelligence.
|“The automation provided by a combined approach often completely eliminates activities and provides your knowledge workers with task based access to all the decision making factors needed when and where they are needed,” explains Steve Allen, CEO of iDatix. “This gives the knowledge worker more time to make a better decision while actually reducing their workload and the time needed to complete tasks.”|
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