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The Increasing Role of Collaboration within BI

by Lyndsay Wise, President, WiseAnalyticsWednesday, April 21, 2010

The use of company portals such as Sharepoint to enable businesses to share data internally is nothing new.  Within business intelligence, organizations have been able to share reports via email and post analyses on the organization’s intranet or portal as a way to broadly disseminate data and gain additional insights.  Although the ability to communicate information and collaborate on projects has always been an important aspect to collecting information and making good decisions, the reality is that until recently, the ability to do so within the framework of BI was limited.  Even solutions with collaboration features were unable to sell the business value of integrating its use into daily BI functions.

As Web 2.0 aspects are starting to permeate the business, solution providers are starting to develop features and functions that make business communications easier.  For example, Lyzasoft has created a platform that combines gaining insights into date with social media.  Within their solution there is the ability to embed analytics into blogs, collaborate through message boards in real-time to communicate concerns or insights, and to share data while maintaining security integrity.  Dundas Data Visualization, on the other hand, has taken a different approach.  With their newer customer facing dashboards, users can put notes or annotations to call attention to specific data points or to address issues. 

What both of these examples have in common is the increasing trend towards more advanced data interactions.  As BI reporting, analytics, and dashboards are becoming more prevalent within organizations decision makers are now required to move beyond simply identifying trends and gaining broader data insights towards taking actions that can benefit the organization at large.  This means increasing the channels of communication and broadening general interactions between various business functions.  Now, not only does information need to be shared more broadly, but just as the data warehouse creates a more consolidated and broader view of the organization, the ability to collaborate more widely within the company enhances the ability to make better strategic business decisions.

As more organizations look to enhance their visibility through the use of BI and dashboards, the ability and desire to integrate collaboration will only continue to increase.  Collaboration creates a broader focus within the realm of organization wide decision making and allows managers to understand how their decisions affect other people within the organization.  Although collaboration has been slow to be adopted within many BI related projects, the push towards integrating BI with social media will increase adoption rates of collaboration overall.

About the Author

Lyndsay Wise is an industry analyst for business intelligence. For over seven years, she has assisted clients in business systems analysis, software selection and implementation of enterprise applications. Lyndsay is the channel expert for BI for the Mid-Market at B-eye-Network and conducts research of leading technologies, products and vendors in business intelligence, marketing performance management, master data management, and unstructured data. She can be reached at lwise@wiseanalytics.com. And please visit Lyndsay's blog at myblog.wiseanalytics.com.

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