3 Ways to Dig Out Your Business Intelligence with ECM

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“In a digital economy, information is becoming the competitive asset to drive business advantage, and it’s the critical connection that links the value chain of organizations.” -Gartner Group

Are you leaving valuable information out of your business processes that could help you gain insight and improve performance?

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Enterprise content management (ECM) systems are only as good as the data you put into it. Businesses often underutilize the collective knowledge they have acquired simply because it resides in too many places and seems impossible to manage.

Traditionally, enterprise data is stored in silos – files stored in cabinets or on hard drives/ corporate networks. It can be securely accessed and managed by one or more departments, but it is typically static.

What intelligence could you gain from this data if you could actually access and analyze the data? What could you learn if you could extract the information you needed to better understand business trends and forecasts?

The discipline of exploiting the various types of information created and managed inside and outside organizations is called enterprise information management (EIM). It enables people across an organization to share, manage and reuse information that was created in different applications and stored in different databases and repositories.

What businesses need to understand now is how easy it is to harvest and integrate this data. The answer lies in Enterprise Content Management or ECM. By taking unstructured data – like spreadsheets, word documents, web content, email, billing and other documents from multiple applications and file systems.

Importing unstructured data into a central location that can be accessed from anywhere across the globe allows businesses to leverage existing data and expand/ improve access to a business’s untapped spring of information.

So how is this done cost-effectively for your business? By focusing on these 3 areas, you can finally free your data from the confines of data silos and use it to your advantage:

Identify
Take the time to get stakeholders in each department to identify the data that is buried in the sandbox. It could be paper invoices that need to be manually circulated, sales data trapped in a CRM system or financial reports locked in a spreadsheet. What information would be most useful to each department, and across departments? Where does that information stay – and which pieces do we need to retrieve to help better run the business?

Import
ECM systems today can import data from virtually any input device in any location, from multiple applications and file systems. Content can be stored, indexed, searched, and accessed from one centralized location – giving everyone the power of the information that is most important to them. Whether it is an in-house or cloud based ECM, powerful tools exist to help you find, organize, store and report from your businesses knowledge base – across your enterprise.

Integrate
Integrating new data with current business intelligence systems that you are invested in will allow you to realize the full potential of both. Make sure to look for an ECM that will complement your existing business applications and technologies.

Talk with your current technology vendors about the type of data you can utilize in a system, and the best way to leverage the information in your current system.

Gartner analysts have recently confirmed that “at present, over three-quarters of individual information management initiatives are isolated from each other within the same organization. This leads to EIM not being realized, sustained or fully exploited.”

Don’t get left behind while your competition gains new ground in the digital age. Find the right tools and start digging.

Want to learn more? Download a free Aberdeen white paper (a $399 value) to learn how to unlock your data in the digital age.