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…
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…
In recent months we’ve explored Collaborative BI as a growing trend and how it’s gaining popularity as an extension of traditional business intelligence solutions. Despite all the hype around this topic, it can be confusing to determine what makes Collaborative BI unique. I’ve seen the terms “Collaborative BI” and “enterprise collaboration” used interchangeably a lot lately, and while both may fall under the categories “Collaborative Decision-Making” or “Knowledge Management,” there are distinctions between the two that are important to understand.
Though enterprise collaboration and Collaborative BI share some of the same features – the ability for users to interact like they would on social media, for example, rating, tagging, and commenting on content – enterprise collaboration is less specific about the type of interaction employees have. These platforms, like SharePoint and Socialcast, enable users to chat with each other, post blogs and wikis, make announcements, view the activity streams of other users, collaborate on projects, take polls, and generally do all the things they’d do in a workplace – but online. They provide a secure place for business users to work together and eliminate some of the need for project-related e-mails, phone calls, meetings, and shared drives. This article on CMS Wire gives a great example of how enterprise collaboration can improve the work life of a manager and his project team. It’s all about workflow and process-driven decision-making (as opposed to data-driven decision-making, which Collaborative BI facilitates).
Here are two ways that enterprise collaboration may look at your company: