Monday, March 4, 2013

The ECM Glossary: Letter B

Today, we’d like to bring you a new entry for our Document Management and ECM Glossary. This installment will deal with terms that begin with the letter “B”.

Remember that this path to understanding the world of Enterprise Content Management is accomplished by teamwork, which means that you can direct any questions or inquiries to us via our contact page.

We’d like to send our warmest regards to our readers.


Letter A.

Letter B.

Bar Code
The bar code has been with us for an amazing sixty years, when three American inventors registered the patent.

These days, bar codes are present on almost everything that we touch, almost everything that is sold by human beings. But what, really, is a bar code? A bar code is composed of a series of vertical lines of distinct thicknesses and with different space widths between them. These lines, together with the spaces between them, represent characters, generally alphanumeric ones. These chains, or groupings of characters, guarantee that the object carrying the bar code can be unequivocally distinguished throughout the world.

And now, you’re asking yourselves, what could bar codes have to do with document management? To which we would say, without fear of lying to you, that almost everything is related to document management, but let’s give you a more precise answer. Some businesses, when faced with the power of the system, implement bar codes to manage files or documents. Bar codes allow the system to recognize and distinguish between documents; but they also allow users to be able to follow the flow of a document throughout a business. Bar codes even allow the system to safely recognize the document when, in its processing, the document has had to be taken out of the business. The truth is that this is just one example; the importance and the functioning of bar codes depend directly on the processes that each business carries out. Document management – and, more concretely, the IT systems behind document management, provide organizations with the possibility to efficiently and automatically manage their documentation based on bar codes. (In this case, we’re thinking of documentation being any and all kinds of content, whose role as documentation makes it important for the business to process information and to function.)

Athento, our ECM platform, is fully prepared to manage document flow based on bar cords. Users only need to upload a document and our OCR analyzes the information contained in the code so that we can recognize what the code has been assigned to (a product, an object or a file, for example). It is even capable of searching the internet to find an image of the thing that has the bar code.

Business Intelligence
The ultimate goal of Business Intelligence is to perfect the process of making decisions by generating data that allows businesses to make smarter and more accurate decisions. To reach this objective, Business Intelligence uses unconstructed data collected around the external and internal functions of a business, processes them, and converts them into information and, afterwards, into knowledge that helps managers to reach more accurate business decisions.

Business Intelligence comes from using five sequential questions:
  • What’s happening in my business?
  • Why is it happening this way?
  • What could happen tomorrow?
  • What should our team do?
- and, finally:
  • What path should we take?

Some of the elements or tools included in Business Intelligence are:

Enterprise Content Management is vital to Business Intelligence because the process of extracting and processing data that leads up to knowledge is going to largely depend on being able to structure all the information contained in the business’s documents. All of that cannot be carried out without an intelligent analysis of the document flow.

Athento actually contains “KPI Dashboard” which allows users to monitor the current state of the system, especially tasks which have to be resolved, work flows to begin and documents to be modified, work spaces, etc.

Another important tool that Athento has developed for Business Intelligence is the Classification and Organization Chart frame. This module allows users to classify documents by following the standards of document management (15.489:2.001), which is, without a doubt, a key factor in structuring the information which circulates throughout the business.

"Business Process Management" is an entrepreneurial methodology that seeks to optimize and coordinate the flow of processes and tasks, the access to resources and the interchange of information between an organization’s internal and external clients.

To understand the concept of BPM, it’s necessary to first understand the concept of business processes. A business process is a sequence of structured actions. Within that process, various areas of the organization can become involved, with the aim of achieving a common goal. Every business has processes; the problem is that, for most business, the processes have been constructed on the fly and they haven’t been evaluated, analyzed and designed to obtain better results while using fewer resources. Applying BPM means redesigning, re-thinking and re-imagining a better way of doing things and focusing each process within a global business strategy. In other words, all of the processes and all of the individuals are heading together towards one common goal.

Businesses implement BPM because it reduces costs and eliminates waste. Currently, many business are looking to become certified by carrying out this methodology.

We can say that, generally, BPM provides businesses with the following advantages:

  • Eliminating unnecessary tasks
  • Avoiding repeating tasks which can be suppressed 
  • Prevent and eliminate errors which frequently happen within a process
  • Make processes more agile
  • Guarantee that there is no ambiguity in the execution of processes and tasks.
  • Allow the business to control and follow processes 
  • Make continual change possible
  • Provide real instruments that can measure the productivity of processes.

Defining intelligent workflows is one of the pillars of BPM. A workflow allows users to identify the way in which tasks associated with a work activity are structured. The design of a workflow allows the business to capture the way that information flows so that the information can be used to support tasks. In order to implement concepts such as workflows, BPM relies on the use of IT tools. In that way, BPM is closely connected to information technologies because it requires latest-generation tools that permit automating and monitoring the processes carried out by the business.

Athento offers solutions created to make business methodologies, such as Business Process Management, possible. Among those, the Work Flow Module stands out; this Module allows users to create workflows for document revisions, serial and parallel work flows and approvals. This module has been designed with norms such as ISO in mind.

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