Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

When Analytics and Collaboration Intersect


Fueled by the big data hype and the need to extract greater business value from data, investment in business analytics software is on the rise. Many companies have begun to tap into the potential of big data analytics and this number is predicted to increase according to recent reports by the International Data Corporation (IDC). IDC forecasts that the market will continue to grow at a 9.8% compound annual growth rate through 2016 to reach $50.7 billion. Perhaps to a less aggressive extent, interest in Collaborative BI is also on the rise, with top performing companies incorporating collaborative techniques to share knowledge throughout the enterprise according to Aberdeen’s extensive 2011 research report on Collaborative BI. The demands for agile insight and self-service are changing the landscape of BI, driving the need for Collaborative BI, which uses social functionality to improve business decision-making. Separately, the benefits of deploying analytical tools and taking advantage of collaborative techniques are appealing for any organization seeking streamlined operational success – but the payback of merging these initiatives could be even more rewarding.

Analytics is gaining traction in the BI arena due to the need to explore massive amounts of varied information (what we now call big data), extract valuable insight, and quickly deliver these insights to the users who need it. Initiatives geared toward improving analytics utilize technology that gathers and organizes data from disparate data sources and provides a platform for in-depth analysis, yielding benefits such as improved business operations and agility, increased sales, and lower IT costs. So it's no wonder that organizations are making significant investments in the analytics market.

Collaborative BI, on the other hand, seems to be the new kid on the block – not quite as popular, though still able to deliver practical returns to your BI team. Organizations are tapping in to collaborative BI initiatives to gain benefits such as organizational cohesion and the ability to increase revenue through more nimble decisions according to the Harvard Business Review, as well as the ability to tap into the extended enterprise to get timely information which can be transformed into meaningful insight, as stated in the aforementioned Aberdeen report.

Though collaborative analytics is not a new concept, it is still considered an emerging practice for business teams. Early proponents of collaborative analytics such as Dave Wells, Mohan Sawhney, and Barry Devlin (influential authors in the BI industry) have framed this initiative as one that guides business teams to make better decisions by overcoming the solitary and linear nature of traditional analysis,[1] and leverages collaborative, advanced analytical capabilities across the organization.

Furthermore, a recent study conducted by IBM of more than 4,500 managers and executives revealed that analytics leaders take advantage of an integrated analytics strategy to make the best possible decisions for their businesses and to achieve a competitive advantage. So far, we've seen that merging analytics and collaborative techniques is a value-added approach to BI which is beneficial in the following ways:

  • Sharing data and analytic results increases information visibility across the enterprise and greatly minimizes redundant information.
  • Incorporating analytic insights from partners outside the organization is a source of actionable customer data.
  • Open communication and decision coordination promotes a unified vision and alignment with business strategies.

Putting collaborative analytics to work requires the input and commitment from the entire business team in order to be successful. Top performing companies are stepping up their BI game and are already putting these techniques to work.

Has your team implemented a collaborative analytic process? We'd love to hear how it’s working for you.

arcplan Engage Collaborative BI

arcplan Engage, our Collaborative BI solution, encourages employees to interact and collaborate around BI and analytics to enable better, faster decision-making. Watch this brief video to see how the solution works.


Tiemo Winterkamp

About Tiemo Winterkamp

I'm the Senior VP of Global Marketing at arcplan and work out of our Langenfeld, Germany office. I've worked in Business Intelligence and data warehousing since 1994. You can connect with me on LinkedIn.
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