Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

Collaborative BI – What Does It Really Mean?


The focal point of many BI tools today is to get the right information to the right people at the right time so they can analyze company data and make well-informed decisions. The 'right people' are not only the ones at the very top of the food chain; we find that decision makers exist at all levels. Thus, the sharing and exchange of information is increasingly important in modern businesses.

Collaborative BI is a growing trend that merges business intelligence and social media tools and amounts to business users determining what the most valuable and relevant data in their organization is and sharing it to improve decision-making across the board.

Collaborative BI often goes hand-in-hand with the term "self-service BI." It makes sense, since self-service BI tools make it easy for business users to access and analyze data without having to go through IT. These trends are all about the 85% of potential users in an organization who normally don't partake in BI, but can benefit from it as much as the other 15%.

BI systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated, allowing you to organize your queries, reports, scorecards, and dashboards in ways that make sense to the organization. But sometimes queries stack up – we've seen businesses storing tens of thousands of queries without knowing which ones are being used anymore. Wouldn’t it be better to store and maintain only the reports that really matter – the information that's most relevant to you, your co-workers and your supervisors?

The beauty of collaborative BI is that it applies a human element to company information. It enables users to filter useful data from irrelevant data by rating, commenting, and sharing it so the best information rises to the top. It means decisions are made based on the latest and greatest information, as determined by the wisdom of the crowd. The participation of each team member plays a pivotal role in the success of collaborative BI.

Think about how you use social media channels such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. These are prime examples of how collaboration has taken root in how we communicate with others. We tweet, re-tweet, follow, post links, forward, like, leave comments and rate information that we find useful. Now think about the last time you made an online purchase. Many of us look at product ratings and reviews before making a purchase. Certainly collaborative intelligence is something we’re using regularly in our personal life, so why not in business as well?

Based on our own experiences with a variety of collaboration tools, we've developed a product that's right in line with social BI. arcplan Engage is our collaborative BI tool that provides users an innovative way to find, analyze and communicate information within the organization. It allows users to tap into structured and unstructured data regardless of the data source (whether it's in arcplan, SharePoint, email,, MicroStrategy, or other BI tools), "pin" favorite information to their desktop or mobile device, and ultimately make better decisions. Want to see how it works? Check out this brief video.

What kind of collaboration is used in your BI environment today?

Image by Scott Maxwell.

Michael Dieterle

About Michael Dieterle

I'm the VP of Knowledge Management at arcplan. I've been at the company almost 10 years and though I'm from Germany (where arcplan's headquarters are located), I work out of our Pennsylvania office. You can follow me on Twitter: @arccommunity.
Comments (2) Trackbacks (3)
  1. To grow a business collaboration must be needed. The main idea behind it for corporate people to work together to share data analysis. There are many other ways rather then this and that may be simple or complex.

    • John,

      Thank you for your comment. You are correct that there are many ways people in an organization can share important data analysis. However, in most cases systems are designed to give a particular user only a narrow view of their data, which they can’t easily share with their colleagues. Even if certain insights are shared between users, then this usually occurs behind closed doors (email or paper printouts) and nobody else can benefit from this interaction. We strongly believe that leveraging social tools we have at our disposal now can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of corporate decision-making.

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