Most BI offerings have some level of collaborative feature sets. What this really means in many cases, is that users can email dashboards or share links, and in some cases add annotations or notes. Essentially, when it comes to capabilities that let people collaborate the way they naturally would by the water cooler or in a meeting, much is lacking in the world of BI. Whether this is because of the limitations that exist due to vendor infrastructure or a lack of imagination, most solutions are far from providing organizations with the ability to interact with their BI solutions in a way that enables broad collaboration.
Despite this lack of innovation in the area of collaboration, there are a few vendors that seem to be getting it right. The ones I think of first are Yellowfin and Lyzasoft - they both build their platform in a way that takes advantage of social media concepts and expectations. While at QlikView Qonnections, I also noticed that their view of collaboration extends to support the way in which business users interact with technology. Aside from being able to share screens and work simultaneously, there is a strong focus on the user experience and how people interact with technology and each other.
In an age where Facebook and Twitter mark the way people interact, annotations within a solution just doesn't cut it. Sending a link to a colleague is no longer enough. Now people need to be able to share their screen, work together, and create real-time conversations to help identify what is happening and how to deal with it. Until BI can do this effectively, solutions will continue to lack in overall effectively.
Obviously, until more recently, this was not the purpose of business intelligence at all. The ability to consolidate information across disparate business sources, and make sure that targets were being met provided a large part of the value add. Now, with market trends such as mobility, social media analysis, and collaboration focusing around better and immediate access to information in an easier to consume way, it makes sense that the importance of collaboration is increasing.
Overall, the fact remains that the majority of the BI market is missing the point of collaboration and what it needs to be. Where QlikView provides the ability to work simultaneously on dashboards and Lyzasoft lets people create real-time conversations around analytics, the same cannot be said for many other vendors in the marketplace. And even though many of these solution providers are working towards providing this functionality, unless these tools are provided in an easy to use and intuitive interface, their value proposition will continue to be low at best.
Posted April 29, 2012 11:31 AM
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