Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan
7May/120

Enterprise Collaboration vs. Collaborative BI: What’s the Difference?

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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.

Enterprise Collaboration
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:

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20Apr/120

Webinar Recording: Collaborative BI – From Theory to Practice

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In case you missed arcplan’s webinar on April 18th, Collaborative BI: From Theory to Practice, here’s the recording to view at your convenience:

https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/417306983

In this webinar, we discuss:

  • How Collaborative BI affects your business in practical ways
  • How it embraces even casual business users who need access to information to enhance decision-making
  • The differences between Collaborative BI and enterprise collaboration platforms (like SharePoint)
  • The criteria you should evaluate when looking for your Collaborative BI solution.

We ended with a demo of arcplan Engage, our BI search & collaboration tool. Thanks to everyone who attended, and for those who didn’t, let us know if you’d like to discuss anything you see in the recording.

16Apr/120

Top 5 Collaborative BI Solution Criteria

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Collaborative BI enables employees at every level to make meaningful decisions for their areas of responsibility, backed by easily-accessible information and analyses. With 15% of BI deployments containing collaborative elements by 2013 according to Gartner, it’s time to start evaluating the kind of Collaborative BI solution that will work for your enterprise. To help, we’ve defined the top 5 criteria you should consider:

1. Integration of disparate systems
Integration of varying systems is a challenge for most businesses, but one that can be overcome with the right Collaborative BI solution. Enterprises often have several different stand-alone solutions for BI in place as well as other decision-relevant – often unstructured – content that is disconnected from BI systems. Your Collaborative BI solution should act as a bridge between these disparate systems, connecting them with a simple search function that delivers results from multiple BI vendors, third-party systems like SharePoint or e-mail, documents, articles, and user-contributed content. It should also allow users to open and use any report, analysis, or document within the Collaborative BI interface so that switching between tools is unnecessary.

2. Flexibility & personalization
Collaborative BI systems must allow users to perform a variety of actions, from contributing content to bookmarking to knowledge sharing. The ability for users to submit content to enrich the Collaborative BI system is paramount for system affinity and adoption. Who better to contribute content than users themselves – those who are making everyday business decisions with their available data? Users must be able to upload relevant information and reports from external sources (Salesforce.com for example) as well as bookmark items as favorites. In our own Collaborative BI solution, arcplan Engage, users have BI Walls where they can pin frequently-viewed reports or snippets of dashboards. In this way, each user can configure their own personal Collaborative BI environment.

3. Availability on any device

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11Apr/120

Collaborative BI: Today & Tomorrow

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Collaboration is becoming an increasingly important facet of our business interactions. For years, research groups like Gartner , Ventana Research and the Aberdeen Group have provided insight and predictions about this phenomenon, and today we’re seeing how collaboration within the business intelligence space has moved from knowledge sharing and self-service BI to a whole new level of innovative decision-making for the business team. So let’s take a look at some of the shifting points of view about Collaborative BI and where it’s headed in the future.

Web 2.0 technologies and the social media boom have had a tremendous impact on what business users expect out of their business applications, especially in the collaborative space. Collaborating does not simply mean exchanging emails, making calls or holding meetings to facilitate decision-making (though they are the most-used ways according to Wayne Eckerson’s Collaborative BI report). These days, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube have taught us how to share, rate, like, comment on, and especially make use of user-generated, helpful information. In our work lives, business users have learned to embrace information from various data sources – both formal and informal – as well as perform ad-hoc analyses without help from IT and share this information with colleagues. Collaborative BI as it exists presently is about facilitating the innate desire of business users to collect and share the information necessary for their everyday decision-making, while at the same time preventing duplicate work and allowing colleagues to draw on each other’s strengths. Users have an expectation that social media concepts will be available to them in their business environment, and so many Collaborative BI systems, like our own arcplan Engage, incorporate rating, tagging, etc.

However, we’re seeing a shift in how analysts define Collaborative BI and they are now calling for an even higher level of engagement.

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3Apr/120

Collaborative BI On-Demand Webinar

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View-WebinarCheck out our free on-demand webinar, Collaborative BI: From Theory to Practice, presented by our SVP Dwight deVera. This webinar cuts through the hype to show you why Collaborative BI deserves to be on of the year’s hottest BI topics.

According to Gartner, improved decision making is by far the #1 driver of business intelligence investments in 2012 and beyond. Although companies continue to make significant investments in BI infrastructure, support for collaboration has been the missing component, often resulting in poor outcomes. So what can you do to ensure that your existing investments are being utilized, that adoption continues to grow, and that your BI system is contributing to improved decision-making? The answer might be Collaborative BI.

Collaborative BI is one of the hottest trends for 2012, but there’s a lot of theory floating around and not a lot of practical use cases being talked about. This webinar cuts through the hype around Collaborative BI and shows you its real-world implications.

View this webinar to learn:

  • How Collaborative BI systems differ from enterprise collaboration platforms
  • How Collaborative BI helps you decide which reports deliver valid, actionable information to aid your decision-making process and which reports are a waste of your time
  • How the “wisdom of the crowd” can fuel confidence in your existing reports and entice regular business users to actively engage with them for better decision-making
  • The main criteria you should look for in your in Collaborative BI solution

We also show a brief demo of arcplan Engage, the only Collaborative BI solution on the market that allows users to search and engage with structured and unstructured data from multiple sources, including arcplan, e-mail, SharePoint, and other BI systems.

Collaboration is the future of BI and that future is now. Watch this webinar to learn why collaboration is the key to helping knowledge workers make better business decisions based on the information that already exists in your enterprise.