What is Business Intelligence?

A higher-than-average IQ doesn’t lead to success in business. Rather, it’s knowledge that helps business managers to take better-informed business decisions.

For example, if a marketing manager is able to derive insights into customer behavior patterns, it’s usually easier to develop marketing campaigns that would bring in more sales.

Some definitions of Business Intelligence—BI—focus on the tools and technologies used to gather meaningful information about business operations and environments. While tools are important, it’s the knowledge about such things as production bottlenecks, customer preferences, emerging market conditions, and so on that these tools generate that ends up being more important.

BI is better defined as the knowledge derived from analyzing an organization’s information (

How Does BI Help Business?

If you understand customer preferences better than your competitors, you can align your sales messages with these preferences. And you can get these messages to prospective customers more effectively if you know the medium—TV or newspaper or sports stadiums or online ads—that your prospects are more likely to see, considering their habits.

You can reduce your production costs if you know the specific factors that contribute to higher costs, such as poor maintenance practices leading to machine downtimes, inadequate operator training leading to poor productivity and high rejections, and so on.

The situation is the same in other business-result areas. The more insights you can get into the factors that affect performance, the better you can develop solutions to achieve greater effectiveness. It’s these insights that Business Intelligence seeks to provide.

Where Do Enterprise Content Management Systems Come In?

ECM systems have two major features that help generate better Business Intelligence.

ECM seeks to include unstructured content, like word-processed documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, audio and video files, and so on in its content repository. Each piece of content would have metadata associated with it that helps bring it up as relevant when the content repository is searched in different contexts.

Secondly, the ECM content repository is optimized for querying and analysis, as distinct from standard application databases designed for speedy transaction entry and processing.

Together, these features can help users generate relevant analytical information to help them make the right decisions in different situations, as shown by examples in the previous section.

In the ideal ECM environment, users can tap a vast enterprise knowledgebase that provides helpful pointers, if not full guidelines, for every kind of decision they have to make.

Enterprise Content Management systems also make the content available on a global scale, for access by its personnel located all over the world (or even on the road). Also, content generated all across the enterprise goes into the content repository with no major delays. It would thus be possible for a marketing executive traveling to Asia to analyze the latest market trends in a particular Asian market before reaching his or her destination.

Systematic generation and use of Business Intelligence in this manner can lead to a much higher level of business performance.


Business Intelligence is the knowledge about the business and its environment, derived by analyzing business information. Enterprise Content Management Software create a more comprehensive content repository, and also configure the repository specifically for querying and analysis. ECM thus helps to make decision-guiding information available all across the enterprise.

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