Though Collaborative BI is still new, it's gaining traction, with 15% of BI deployments to include collaborative elements by 2013 according to Gartner. A recent survey by author and analyst Wayne Eckerson revealed many BI professionals believe that collaboration tools have a positive impact on analysis and decision-making activities. So while some in the BI world are seeing its value, the others may appreciate our list of 5 reasons why Collaborative BI could be a practical solution for your organization if you're trying to expand the reach of BI to more users and get closer to "one version of the truth."
1) Collaborative BI solutions are designed for every type of user, even the most casual. They allow business users, executives, and managers to access the reports and dashboards created by power users and IT, which a) extends the reach of these often under-used analyses and 2) means putting information into the hands of more people in the organization who can benefit from data in their decision-making process.
2) Collaborative BI provides a sanity check for your BI content. Is it relevant and accurate? Let the wisdom of the crowd decide. Report utilization statistics help your BI Competency Center and IT department determine which reports should be kept and maintained and which can be archived. Only the best content rises to the top.
3) Collaborative BI solutions engage users in ways they are already familiar with from Web 2.0 sites (Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, etc), so they need little to no training to make use of the system. You might not think of business intelligence as interactive or engaging, but with social features like commenting, tagging, rating, and annotation, it can be. Making the system fun to use is what keeps adoption high and ensures that people continually come back to access relevant information.
4) A Collaborative BI solution worth its salt taps into multiple data sources, making it faster and easier to access information from many reporting systems, portals, and other IT systems (like e-mail). It helps eradicate "multiple versions of the truth" by bringing together the data that is often scattered and disjointed.
5) Finally, Collaborative BI is a manifestation of "self-service BI," meaning it empowers users to access, analyze, and share data without having to go through IT. They can go into the system, get what they need, make enhancement requests, and even enrich the system with their own reports and analysis (for example, users of arcplan's own solution, arcplan Engage, can add reports and dashboards from places like Salesforce.com that they think will help other users).
This list presents just a handful of reasons why Collaborative BI is practical for any organization with multiple BI and IT systems that is looking to enable users to make better decisions based on facts. As results from the early wave of adopters pours in, we're seeing Collaborative BI paving the way for improved decision making, which is "by far the no. 1 driver of BI investment" right now.
arcplan Engage, our Collaborative BI solution, facilitates interaction and decision-making around content from arcplan, other BI vendors, and IT systems you already have in place like SharePoint and e-mail. Watch this brief video to learn more or send us an email for more information!