OK, so I cannot figure this out.
In their 2008 magic matrix for BI platforms, Gartner does not mention XBRL (Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms, 2008). This was published in February 2008.
In a research publication dated in April 2008, Gartner touts XBRL (XBRL Will Enhance Corporate Disclosure and Corporate Performance Management). There are two particularly interesting statements in this publication, interesting to me at least:
By 2011, the use of XBRL to deliver real-time financial information to business managers will be cited by CEOs in management surveys as a Top 5 contributor to their organization's success in managing the business.
Perhaps more importantly, the XBRL specifications (called "taxonomies") handle the complex financial semantics (such as assets, liabilities, income, expenses, debits and credits) that cause problems when reporting financial data using business intelligence (BI) reporting tools. This means that it is easier to build sophisticated financial reports, such as a profit and loss statement, using XBRL. For example, it is estimated that the average Fortune 1000 company used more than 800 spreadsheets to prepare its financial statements for regulatory reporting. XBRL offers a solution to significantly reduce this number and improve internal controls over financial reporting.
Now, I cannot figure out if Gartner is saying that in some cases XBRL is better than BI solutions. I doubt that this is the case (that they are saying it, or that this is true).
If you search through that magic matrix, you see the term OLAP used all over the place. OLAP is a major enabler for BI, seems to me. I personally see a connection between OLAP and XBRL. OLAP is a way of organizing data/information. XBRL is a way of expressing and exchanging information.
So, there is some sort of connection between OLAP and XBRL. There is a connection between OLAP and BI. It seems to me that there is a connection between BI and XBRL.
What I am trying to figure out is two things:
- The connection between BI and XBRL.
- The connection between BI and financial information.
Be sure to check out this blog post: XBRL and OLAP.
And this is somewhat interesting also. I became aware of this blog a few weeks ago. The author of the blog stated that he was changing his focus from BI to XBRL. Maybe this is nothing, but it is a bit curious.
More to come...