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Collaborative Computing and BI,2015: Three Takeaways

Recently we published our fourth annual Wisdom of Crowds Collaborative Computing and Business Intelligence Market Study.

At the highest level, collaborative support for group-based analysis remains a mid-tier BI priority in 2015, behind dashboards and data warehousing, yet ahead of topics including cloud BI, big data and social media analysis. A majority consider both collaborative BI and enterprise frameworks, at minimum, important.

Collaboration is integral to most business activities. Today, organizations have more tools and channels by which to collaborate than at any time in history. Our report documents – from traditional to contemporary – the many ways individuals share business intelligence in group collaboration. We asked users and the industry to explain what they prioritize and what makes them successful. We pay special attention to collaboration features baked into BI software and the extensions and frameworks that support group projects and decision making.

Here are three takeaways to keep in mind as you evaluate collaboration and collaborative BI in your own organization

1. State the obvious. Few would dispute the observation that very successful organizations always seem to work well together, and a central finding supports this. Though adoption is low, organizations that consider themselves successful at business intelligence and able to take Action on Insight are also most likely to use collaborative features built into their BI tool. Organizations that are least successful at BI are least likely to use BI collaboration (and very unlikely to try).

The Dresner Advisory view is that collaborative BI creates organizational memory. A documented and closed-loop process that can be audited and referenced maintains decision context and improves training. If not relevant to all working processes, collaborative BI can be a foundation for establishing and sustaining best practices in core business activities

2. Utility creates users. Like the items on a desk, information workers instinctively reach for the fastest, most effective ways to do their job well with others. They use tools that seamlessly enhance annotation, co-authoring, highlighting, file sharing, storytelling and other uncomplicated upgrades. If a new tool is not an improvement on email or the phone, it will either not be adopted or old ways will die a slow hard death. Closely consider the report’s findings in industry criteria, user requirements, vendor rankings and how your existing or potential supplier compares.

3. There is no cost barrier. The number of vendors charging their customers for collaborative
capabilities within BI products fell to an all-time low of 9 percent in 2015. Many powerful collaboration frameworks and file-sharing services are also free to use. That said, establishing BI collaboration best practices is a cultural and leadership challenge that should never be underestimated. Even if old habits die hard, adopting change (because it is better) is always preferable to enforcing it.

You’ll find this and much more in our report, all free to the qualified users who filled out our survey and this is just one of over a dozen reports we’re producing this year. For those that are not a part of our research community, the report is available for purchase atwww.collaborativereport.com

Jim Ericson
Research Director
Dresner Advisory Services

Jim Ericson is a research director with Dresner Advisory Services. Jim has served as a consultant and journalist who studies end-user management practices and industry trending in the data and information management fields. From 2004 to 2013 he was the editorial director at Information Management magazine (formerly DM Review), where he created architectures for user and industry coverage for hundreds of contributors across the breadth of the data and information management industry. As lead writer he interviewed and profiled more than 100 CIOs, CTOs, and program directors in a 2010-2012 program called “25 Top Information Managers.” His related feature articles earned ASBPE national bronze and multiple Mid-Atlantic region gold and silver awards for Technical Article and for Case History feature writing.

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