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Collaborative BI: A 411

Business intelligence is most intelligent, it turns out, when it’s applied in a collaborative fashion.

Collaborative BI is a not-that-new but still widely misunderstood approach to business intelligence and the data-driven decision-making that takes place under its umbrella.


A combination of BI software and teamwork tools, collaborative BI has emerged in response to organizations’ wide-ranging failure to meaningfully utilize reporting and analytics. Here, collaboration is identified as the key to getting more out of this abundant and increasing data stash. And as businesses have expanded globally and upped their mobile workforce, the need for effective means of working together has become even more pronounced.

Just the same, BI remains a fairly solitary undertaking. Data-rich processes and applications mostly take place in isolation of one another, and interaction between individuals and departments in pursuit of problem-solving and decision-making is not encouraged.

But collaborative BI is powered by the philosophy that anyone — anywhere and at any time — should be able to share content and contribute to discussions. By exploiting social networking’s best features, it establishes a corporate environment that facilitates group brainstorming. Specifically, it tackles complex decisions by marrying information gleaned from BI software with the latest social media collaboration tools.

In this way, collaborative BI introduces a human element — think commenting, rating, bookmarking, tagging and sharing — to an otherwise data-heavy exercise. Smart tools on this front allow users, for example, to filter the most relevant data to the most relevant eyeballs, ensuring that information is both current and smartly targeted. Better decisions are the result.

And with better decisions, goes the deal, comes improved productivity, enhanced operational efficiencies, speedier responsiveness to business threats, upped employee satisfaction, faster time to market and better ROI.

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