Traditional BI ‘collaboration’ is one-to-many e.g. publishing infographics to a website or emailing a PDF – it’s like running a webinar where the participants are on mute (‘listen only mode’). The future of collaborative BI must evolve to ‘many-to-many’ – including abilities for co-authoring of BI content, as well as co-consumption, annotation, discussion, sharing, editing. The basis of innovation is being able to build upon the work of others, contributing to the ‘body of knowledge’. Collaborating, in other words.
Yet historically, too many people, particularly those involved in Governance of BI systems, have essentially been ‘anti-collaboration’. Which has, ironically, made the situation worse by encouraging users to find ‘work-arounds’, resulting in, for example, the proliferation of spreadsheets. As Boris Evelson of Forrester Research recently commented to me in an email on this topic, “We increasingly hear from our clients that BI silos are now proliferating. Basically these platforms are now becoming the new spreadsheets”
The combination of Enterprise Social platforms such as IBM Connections with more modern Cloud-ready, mobile enabled, self-service BI tools helps move better decision making into the line of business, moving towards an ability to see and manage outcomes in real time. Recent research from Aragon Research suggests that, by the end of 2017, 75% of business will be harnessing mobile collaboration, helping to provide real-time analytics for the team, and embrace agility in the workforce.
The key to Collaborative BI is speed. Speed to a decision. Having better, more informed, fact-based conversations with the right people. As the Irish playwright G. Bernard Shaw famously commented:
”…if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
Or, at the very least, we have one, better, idea.
And, to finish with one final thought I recently received from my favorite BI Analyst, Howard Dresner:
”One piece of advice for Collaborative BI. Stop using email!”