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Notion of the Intelligent Business Document

This blog post briefly explains the notion of the intelligent business document. See this PDF for more details. For even more details, follow the links in that PDF to the details in the straw man implementation of the Business Reporting Logical Model.

I wish I could take credit for the term intelligent business document.  But I can't. Like is said, "Good artists borrow, great artists steal." I have used many different terms to describe this notion: neutral format table, interactive information hypercube, pivot table, data cube, etc. This has evolve since about 2006 or 2007.

So what is an intelligent business document? It is:

  • Something that business users can create, without the help of the IT department, so that they can share business information with other business users without having to rekey the information.
  • It has unambiguous business semantics.  As such, it can reliably feed information into and generate outputs from automated processes which can then be fed into other automated processes.
  • It is 100% compliant with the XBRL syntax. But it can be serialized into any syntax because the semantics are unambiguous.
  • It leverages something like the Business Reporting Logical Model, that is what enables the unambiguous business semantics.
  • It leverages the flexibility of the multidimensional model.
  • It makes is easy for the average business user to use.
  • It is a global standard protocol, not a proprietary solution. It allows one business system to communicate with another business system effectively. (Keep in mind bullet point one; a business person achieving this integration without the help of the IT department.)
  • It is dynamic. It is "interactive data" to use the term coined by the US SEC.  I prefer "interactive information" because it is really about information, not about data. You can pivot the information to suit your needs like an Excel pivot table or a Business Intelligence application allows you to pivot information.
  • It could just be a boring form, but it is a form based on a global standard that every business system (literally, every business system) can both generate and consume.
  • It will save business users time, money, and it will make their processes more effective and efficient.  It will improve the quality of their business information because information integrity is enhanced.
  • It will allow drill down from top to bottom of an information "stack".
  • It will provide an audit trail as information moves from point to point within that information stack.
  • It works for financial reports, which are a form of business report. But non-financial information can also be expressed within an intelligent business document.

Take a look at the PDF which explains this in further detail.

Take a look at the straw man implementation which shows this is possible. I realize that is a lot of information, but it will be worth your while.

That is my vision for what XBRL could become.  You have a better vision?



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