Trends of the new BI: Collaborative BI – No man is an island

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be diving into some of the trends that are driving Business Intelligence 3.0. Let’s start off with something that’s got BI people talking. In-system BI collaboration.

So big deal. You can communicate with your colleagues about BI. Can’t you just do that with email? Or in a meeting? Or in the hallway? Of course you can. But when you collaborate inside the same environment where your enterprise intelligence is analyzed and presented, not only can you keep your eye on the ball, but you also get a richer and more accurate picture of the story that you want to develop.

Think about it. The whole point of a BI system is to collect and analyze relevant data all in one place so that you can make quick, informed decisions. But, by asking pertinent questions in an out-of-system tool like email, the answers will be out of system, too. Sure, you can dredge information from your email system and incorporate it into your data model. But why not just keep it in the loop to start with. That way, you will always know where your important human insights can be found.

It seems like such a simple idea. But there is more to BI collaboration than just talking. Let’s say you need to know performance trends for a list of departments or divisions. You get the big picture from your BI system. But then, when you drill down, the details from one division tell a story that needs further clarification. Who is better equipped to provide details and reasons than the people who live the day to day in that division? In a collaborative BI tool, you can annotate and ask and answer questions right inside the report for that division or even on a single piece of data that stands out.

But what if you don’t know which expert to consult? A collaborative BI tool should be able to recommend the best resource based on prior contributions to the system. This consultation should be shareable and trackable by other users in the system so that they can benefit from the expert insight that you initiated.

All BI tools are supposed to present large sets of data in a way that makes analysis and Discovery easier. And although there was once a prevailing view that decision making based on intuition was potentially harmful, there is unquestionably a place for intuition within a structured BI solution. It is that expert intuition, based on real experience that gives the data the human touch that makes it real.

Panorama Necto makes collaborative BI easy. Learn more here.

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