Business Intelligence Makes for Smart Businesses

Business Intelligence, or BI, is a concept that usually involves the delivery and integration of business information in an organization that can be useful for making decisions. Every organization has multiple departments, and each database may only contain information that is relevant to its own department.  Business Intelligence involves the use of customer information, sales data, statistics, product movement, profitability, etc. Companies use BI to detect significant events and identify and monitor business trends in order to adapt quickly to their changing environment and a scenario. If you use effective business intelligence training in your organization, you can improve the decision making processes at all levels of management and improve your tactical strategic management processes.

Regardless of whether you run an established and successful business, or a new startup, your organization needs the ability to make informed decisions through proper data analysis.

1. Boost productivity. Through traditional data gathering methods, users need to compile and analyze data and write related reports. This can be incredibly time consuming, especially for small businesses that may not have the employees to do it. With a BI program, you can pull data and create the reports at the click of a button thus freeing up time and resources allowing employees to be more productive on their own tasks.

2. To gain sales & market intelligence. A CRM is a useful tool for sales and marketing people. A CRM solution collects data about clients and presents it in a way for you to solution collects the data about your customers and tries to make sense of it. You get insights on new prospects, existing customers, and post sales services. 

3. Results closer to established goals. How many times have you established a set of seemingly reasonable goals for a project or other venture, only to end up with an outcome that is drastically different? With BI you can keep track of information, and have it accessible by parties that need it, when they need it. BI goes a long way in helping achieving what you aim for.

4. Return on Investment BI will help a company decrease operating costs and lower overhead costs. For example, if a company is looking to save on storage costs, they are able to see a visual chart of how much they have saved this year compared to previous years. Companies are able to better dictate if they are on track with their new goals and projections. 

5. Gain insights into consumer behavior. One of the main advantages of investing in BI and skilled personnel is the fact that it will boost your ability to analyze the current consumer buying trends. Once you understand what your consumers are buying, you can use this information to develop products that match the current consumption trends and consequently improve your profitability.

6. To improve visibility.  If you want to improve your control over various important processes in your organization, Business Intelligence will improve the visibility of important processes in your organization and make it possible to identify areas that could use improvement.  

7. Turn information into actionable information. A BI system is an analytical tool that can give you the insight you need to make successful strategic plans for your organization. This is because such a system would be able to identify key trends and patterns in your organization’s data and consequently make it easier for you to make important connections between different areas of your business that may otherwise seem unrelated.

Data must be configured to display trends and statistics. Data visualization makes data legible and allows the user to be able to decipher the meaning of it. Business Intelligence Dashboard displays reports on what the company is doing and it shows a breakdown of how each department is doing. Businesses are able to get a centralized view of where they are saving money, and where they are spending too much. 

There are so many important parts to a business, and even though some parts appear to be silos, every part ties into one another. It is important to understand these subtle connections and look at your organization's data from a centralized view through data analytics. It's understanding the subtle connections that can make the difference between a company that excels to the top of the market, and one that makes poor decisions due to not using its data to the fullest potential. 

 

Integrate Email Security With Your DM System

Email is the number one platform cyber criminals use for scams due to the heavy reliance on emails for business communication. According to email security services providers, 90% of security attacks begin with an email. An email security company reported that their quarterly threat summary for the first quarter of 2016 showed that there has been a 66% increase in emails containing malicious attachments and URL's compared to the previous quarter in 2015. Compared to the corresponding period in 2015. This represents a staggering 800% increase! News of security breaches have been all over the news recently, and according to reports, ransom-ware will reach $1 billion in revenue by the end of 2016. Hackers are now using whaling tactics, phishing scams targeted at high-level executives, in order to steal valuable information from their computers by issuing fake legal documents such as subpoenas or tricking them into wiring large sums of money. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whaling scams have led to over $2.3 billion in losses.

Organizations should look to integrate best-practices email security solutions for their document management systems. Although many companies already have some sort of email security feature, they do not have email features that house confidential and business critical information. Industries such as law firms are highly susceptible to leaking confidential records. Such an approach will streamline the processes and technology to create a strong security foundation in the organization. To go into more detail, integrating email security into your document management system will do the following:

·         Setup automated processes to identify suspicious words and URL's, and add them to a blacklist

·          Enforce best practices around processes and people so that in case a mistake is made manually, the software knows to intervene to protect data. 

·         Institute locations in the DM system for sensitive information, protected with features such as multi-factor authentication, and encryption at rest and in motion, to add additional security

·          Limit access to confidential information to certain members by creating privileges on projects, deals and matters

·         Replace the use of email as a collaboration tool ad limit unprotected file sharing services with auditable tools that are part of the document management system

·         Enforce corporate data retention and disposition review schedules.

·       Provide analytics to track abnormal activity

Due to the expertise that hackers have in destroying barriers, driven of course by financial gain; a comprehensive approach to security is needed. Protecting data and integrating email security with information and document management should be a key consideration as part of the overall security strategy of any organization.

Every organization is vulnerable to attacks, so it is a matter of when and not if an organization will suffer a breach.  Attacks against organizations are consistently rising across all variants – phishing, ransom-ware, and most recently, whaling.

On the bright side, the EU just recently reformed the General Data Protection Regulation in April of 2016 in response to the rise in data breaches. Regulations such as the GDPR are equally applicable to organizations of all sizes, and it’s imperative that the small and medium sized law firms don’t ignore it. Now with the much strengthened EU GDPR, organizations have a better chance of warding off cyber criminals. 

Infonomics: The Currency of the Digital Age

WHATS MORE VALUABLE: INFORMATION ASSETS OR FINANCIAL ASSETS?

Well actually, both are a large percentage of a company's overall corporate wealth. In a recent AIIM meeting, top industry thought leaders came together to ponder the issue of why organizations do not handle their information assets as seriously as they handle their financial, physical, or human assets. The way an organization manages its information assets is what can set them far above and beyond others. 

While involving the CFO in valuing your company's data may not seem like a top priority, doing so will better demonstrate your organization's overall corporate wealth to the board and investors. Even non-economic indicators of information value, quality, and performance can help IT organizations and business in managing and leveraging information. According to a presenter at the AIIM meeting, the average tangible assets of a corporation represented 83% of its actual value in 1975, however, today that number is just 20%. Organizations that are persistent on becoming information-centric, as well as those that have information-based business models, should make sure to audit the actual and potential value of their information assets.

While the meaning of information ultimately drives business processes and decisions, it is still a proxy, meaning that it is just a symbol of value. It is the increasingly efficient way in which we represent information that gives it its value. Therefore, it is both information's meaning and physical representation that combine to improve business process performance, decision making, and innovation. 

SELLING INFORMATION

Information can be directly monetized as a viable product itself. This will not only decrease storage costs and reduce risk of litigation, but it could prove to be a new source of revenue. The lumber industry used to discard wood shavings, but they have learned how valuable their byproduct is to other enterprises. Most enterprises own a lot of data that is more valuable to other organizations than it is to themselves. They can package unused data and test market leads for new buyers. As this practice continues to grow, we can predict a positive future for the information marketplace industry for commercial data assets.

For now, information assets cannot be formally recognized according to accounting standards, but in time that may change. Regardless, we believe it is a good practice for businesses to begin internally valuing their information assets so they can manage and wield them more effectively. Supplemental balance sheets that include information asset value can be an effective tool for planning, measuring and demonstrating information management maturity. They will also give CEO's a better overall picture of corporate value; give CFO's a tool for gauging investments and performance; and help CIO's to manage and help business units view information as a strategic asset.

Without accurate measurements of the difference between actual benefits generated from information assets versus their potential value, enterprises will have a difficult time trying to close the gap. Your organization will most likely pay more for inventory costs than what the economic value of the data is worth. Especially in this era of big data, the difference in benefits manifests in the budget line and represents a big opportunity to directly and indirectly improve financial assets.

6 Ways Information Governance Uncovers Valuable Data

Information governance makes a positive contribution to businesses. Businesses can leverage information governance to create new income by using big data mining techniques to acquire valuable corporate data.

The maximum value of big data is realized when the output of computing is efficient at creating new wealth. It is important to find meaningful data among a bulk of information. That way businesses can see the bottom line benefits of making the business case for big data governance.

Ultimately, information governance should be "the rules-based management of digital information that connects to the advancing, the wealth creation, and wealth preservation goals of an organization.” The key is to uncover hidden data through big data mining because this can help efficiently filter data to find what is actually worth taking a look at.

For big data analytics to be successful, information governance rules must be followed closely by every person in an organization. Think of big data analytics as a machine, where the engines are performing calculations on the numbers, but they can only do this with correct input -- the data has to qualify, it has to meet the rules that are useful for the engine to compare to find the patterns, and if the data does not qualify, it is useless.

1. Data must conform to rules

Information must be first validated. Then data needs to be compared with the rules in order to decide whether or not to pass it through to the analytics engines that are being operated.

2. Locate sources of new data

This includes warehouse data, graph data, text data and multimedia data. Event record logs, where every machine and application creates records of how they perform their function, are also an important part of information governance because they allow information governance officers to see what has happened to the data. Records can hold important information such as who used what device to type specific keystrokes, and what authentication sequences were carried out.

3. Establish rules for defining event logs

The information governance process should be seen as a front-end process rather than a back-end one. It is important for information governance experts to be involved in making the rules for governing information and handling data provenance. The systems being used today are designed and engineered without the realization of how to utilize their output -- their performance data and event logs, to create new channels of revenue.

4. Data provenance aligns with the rules you set

Data provenance is the records of the entities, people and processes involved in producing a piece of data. It is important because it allows information to be more easily identified as being what it purports to be. Understanding the data’s provenance makes the data much more valuable.

5. Provenance chains together to improve the value of data for analytics

Data provenance improves the value of information intelligence by eliminating excess validation. The validation exercise requires checking the metadata. It chains together so that the result is the net outbound data coming through systems that have been enhanced with information governance policies.

6. Effective information governance requires engineering the information life cycle

This helps with the business’s efficiency. Information governance should be a part of the engineering life cycle because this will allow for opportunities to discuss each data asset’s revenue opportunity.

 

Big Data Drives ECM Market Boom

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Researchers predict that the global ECM market will grow between 15-20% by 2020. Market growth is being largely boosted by the need for big data governance. Currently, enterprises are growing at a rate of 30%-40% every year, which makes it crucial for organizations to have effective and efficient solutions for document lifecycle management, compliance, and security.

INCREASED NEED TO COMPLY WITH REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS

One major need for ECM’s these days is the increased need for companies to comply with regulatory requirements. Organizations must follow regulatory requirements to manage corporate data. The US Government has been enforcing policies on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the US, and data breach notification laws that companies need to comply for conducting business effectively.

Since enterprises in the banking, insurance, and healthcare sectors deal with sensitive information, they should develop ECM policies that comply with external regulations. Cloud-based ECM reduces costs when compared with isolated regulation-specific compliance programs. Cloud-based ECM practices enable organizations to align their data use and communication, record management, and information security policies efficiently. To avoid the hassle of adhering to complex regulatory reforms that are constantly changing and resulting in decreased productivity, organizations are increasingly adopting ECM programs.

Although ECM sales are expected to grow, the report states that one challenge that could curtail market growth is the reluctance to adopt new systems. The following areas of ECM are expected to grow:

·         Exponential growth in data

·         Increased need to comply with regulatory requirements

·         High demand for dynamic documents

·         Increased collaboration and effectiveness

EXPONENTIAL GROWTH IN DATA

Various industries are going through positive transformations due to benefits such as improved innovations in products and services, customer service, cost savings, and enhanced capabilities in decision-making. This has also resulted in exponential growth of corporate data. For example, the healthcare industry has been generating large volumes of digital data due to rapid digitization of manual patient records, fueled by legislative regulations and the need to provide better patient care at low costs.

Organizations face pressure to store data securely with reduced costs and improved efficiency. Therefore, cloud-based information management infrastructure is a viable option for many organizations due to benefits such as low cost, with minimal IT infrastructure support, rapid and predictable implementation, automatic and seamless upgrading, and ease of leveraging cloudbased data across organizations.

INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR DYNAMIC DOCUMENTS

The increase in mobile devices and software has helped organizations create content. Organizations rely heavily on digital media for most of their work, which increases the demand for document solutions. This is driving organizations to shift from static documents to dynamic documents. Dynamic documents are more interactive and include buttons, embedded calculations, links, and content such as images, videos, drawings, embedded web pages, and forms.

INCREASED COLLABORATION AND EFFECTIVENESS

One of the most important advantages of using ECM solutions is increased collaboration and effectiveness. Improved collaboration is related to sustainability in the sense that it aids the common effort to accomplish corporate goals. It also improves social integration of corporate environments, especially across different departments and geographic locations. As every multi-national company faces problems related to fragmentation and isolation of various components, collaboration offered by ECM tools can offer a powerful remedy by means of collaboration through portal structures. Every large company deals with issues related to fragmentation and isolation of various components. Therefore, ECM tools can provide a great means for collaboration.  

Increased efficiency comes from the idea of making information available to every user in an organization in an integrated and personalized way. Integrated and personalized information factor is dependent on the job role of the user, and therefore, also helps improve job performance.