Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan
9Feb/120

An Ode to Openness in Collaborative BI

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2011 brought tons of news and speculation about the rise of mobile BI, which has given way to actual deployments in 2012 (an estimated 22% of companies using BI this year plan to implement mobile BI in 2012[1]). 2012 will bring news of the next wave: Collaborative BI, with an estimated 15% of BI applications to include collaborative aspects by 2013, according to Gartner[2]. I expect that number to be even higher as companies see the value of collaborative BI throughout this year and knowledge workers start clamoring for greater access to information to improve their decision making.

I’ve pondered the impact of Collaborative BI before, but lately I’ve noticed that one aspect often left out of the conversation – open access to all BI content within an organization. Many analysts have been talking about various vendors’ Collaborative BI platforms and accepting their silo’d approach, but I believe the silo story isn’t healthy. Restricting content to one vendor’s BI reports and dashboards goes against everything that collaboration is about. To make the best decisions possible, employees require access to any and all data that can help them, regardless of whether it’s housed in arcplan or a competitor’s BI product, or even unstructured content like an e-mail or a document on an internal SharePoint portal.

Going further, user-contributed content has to be part of the “openness” mix. This means that IT has to loosen the grip on what is considered relevant BI content and allow users themselves to enrich the collaboration database with reports from the Web – like a Salesforce.com lead dashboard for example.

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2Feb/120

Collaboration – the Future of Decision Making?

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Perhaps every generation says this at least once, but I believe we’re in the midst of a very interesting time. The world is getting more social everyday with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, where we can find old friends, colleagues and even relatives online with a single click. We may even find new people to follow through social media tools’ recommendations and can form relationships online and offline with them. Hundreds of millions of users are making decisions online all the time – who to follow, what content seems interesting, what topics to promote.

Our social media feeds make it obvious who to engage with about a particular topic – a friend may post frequently about sports and you can go to him with thoughts or questions – but that type of insight is not widely available at the place where we spent most of our time: work. We lack intelligence when it comes to the enterprise decision making process. It follows that we should apply the same principles of social media in our corporate environments to identify which colleague can help us make decisions. Applying social media functions that allow users to rate, tag, and comment about corporate content is the answer. Enterprises gain insight into the most used reports and dashboards at the company, report authors get instant feedback and enhancement requests from users, and users gain from the existing expertise of colleagues.

This idea has led to a new category of business intelligence software that Gartner describes as Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) and Collaborative BI. Gartner considers such platforms an emerging trend to fill the gap in decision support for tactical and strategic decisions most often made by knowledge workers.

“By 2013, 15% of BI and analytic applications will combine BI, collaboration and social software in decision-making environments.” – Gartner Group

BI vendors are following this path, creating matching solutions that serve as an interface to your wealth of corporate data. Is the market ready to deploy these solutions?

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24Aug/110

Web 2.0 & Business Intelligence – BI Gets Personal

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Today’s TDWI newsletter, BI This Week, featured an interview I had with writer Linda Briggs on how Web 2.0 functions boost the power of BI. I thought our readers might like to check it out, so here’s an excerpt and a link to the full text. Enjoy, and if you have additional questions for me beyond what’s answered in the Q&A, leave a comment!

Q&A: Web 2.0 Functions Boost BI’s Power by Linda Briggs

Bringing search and Web 2.0 into next-generation BI improves user access and the decision-making process.

Combining BI with simple search capabilities and Web 2.0 functions such as user-contributed content can make it more powerful and pervasive — leading to the era of BI 2.0. “BI users should be able to create an iGoogle or myYahoo,” says Tiemo Winterkamp, senior VP of global marketing at arcplan, a company that offers BI analytics and search tools that access multiple data sources in their native environments.

“That’s when BI gets personal, because it has your own content,” Winterkamp adds, “and if you can share the content and make it searchable for others, you close the loop. That’s BI 2.0.”

BI This Week: When we talk about bringing Web 2.0 functionality into business intelligence, what sort of functionality do you mean?

Tiemo Winterkamp: Primarily, I mean the functions that all of us already know how to use from Google, Amazon.com, Ebay, Facebook and other Web 2.0 sites. First, it’s search — most of the things we do on the Internet today start, more or less, with an unstructured search. Then it’s commenting — usually by writing text, but lately we’ve seen the addition of audio and video commentary becoming more popular. Rating is another quick feedback option, represented by stars, +1’s, or Likes. Perhaps the best part about these Web 2.0 functions is that nearly everyone knows how to use them by this point, so no education is required.

The idea of bringing Web 2.0 into BI is important because it allows employees to use these already acquired skills to enhance the business information they use every day. It encourages them to interact with the data in new ways and share information amongst themselves so the best data rises to the top, investments are made in keeping the best and most-used systems and reports, and decision makers better understand the value of their overall BI investments.

Click here to continue reading this interview on TDWI.org >>

29Jun/111

Next-Generation Business Intelligence: Search & Collaboration

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It’s our belief at arcplan that next-generation BI tools should incorporate Web 2.0 functionality – the ability to search, rate, tag, and comment on information; things that we’re used to from social media sites and e-commerce sites like Amazon.com. Aren’t you used to checking a product’s ratings before making a purchase? Why should BI be any different?

Specifically what I mean is that users should have the ability (1) to find the information they need to do their jobs more effectively and (2) to make their feelings known about BI reports, dashboards, and other business information (like data stored on SharePoint or email systems that may be relevant to decision-making). If the best information rises to the top, users begin to rely on only the best reports and admins can delete old information that isn’t useful anymore.

This is why we developed arcplan Engage. We’re in the “first customer shipment” phase of its release right now, but pretty soon, it will be widely available and will change the way BI is thought of and accessed at many of our customers’ organizations. It’s all about empowering end users, making business information more pervasive and accessible to the large majority of business users, and ensuring that their organizations perform better.

More and more, we’re going to see BI systems that have been designed with the regular business user in mind, not just BI experts or power users. That’s what arcplan Engage is all about. Take a look at this short video about it and tell us your thoughts!

9Jun/110

Event Recap: arc|planet Korea 2011

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arc|planet KoreaOn June 2nd, more than 200 participants came together for arc|planet Korea 2011. I was lucky enough to attend the event, our second in South Korea, and see terrific presentations from our customers in the finance, manufacturing, and retail industries. We were kindly hosted by our partner, Zalesia, who showed off arcplan Mobile on 5 different mobile phones and tablet PCs, which were never out of attendees’ hands.

Like arc|planet Germany, this event gathered arcplan users together for a day of best practice sharing, networking, and learning about arcplan’s vision and product strategy. There was a lot of excitement about our newest product, arcplan Engage, our BI search and collaboration tool, which gathers data, reports, and dashboards wherever they reside arc|planet Korea(whether they’re in SharePoint, Salesforce.com, email, arcplan, SAP, or other BI systems) and makes them available for rating and commenting so the best data rises to the top. Our Korean customers are early adopters of new technologies, so naturally arcplan Engage was a hot topic.

Also a hot topic – self-service analytics. There was a lot of interest around web pivoting and drag-and-drop functionality, both available in arcplan Enterprise 7.

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