Collaboration Tools Bring More Users into BI Fold

Ann All

While there has been much talk of making business intelligence more "democratic" by distributing reports and scorecards to folks other than analysts and other power users, there has been relatively little discussion of exactly how this broadening of the user base might occur.


eWEEK offers a possible answer, foreseeing a day in the near future when companies may have the ability to port their BI reports into collaboration tools like wikis and blogs, where users could view them, comment on them and contribute information that would enhance them. It doesn't get much more democratic than that.


A manager of social software for IBM tells eWEEK that one of Big Blue's clients uses its dogear social bookmarking tool to achieve similar results, with tech support workers using the tool to add relevant information to notes from customers.


A Burton Group analyst says this type of collaboration could improve predictive analysis by, for example, putting sales data into a wiki where multiple users could access and validate the data in real time rather than waiting for reports to be generated and distributed.


It's no coincidence that Business Objects earlier this year posted several collaborative tools on its Web site for folks to try. (The BI/collaboration marriage may need some work, judging by the less-than-enthusiastic reviews of experts like Neil Raden of the Hired Brains consulting firm.)


An analyst from the Gilbane Group thinks that "a driving motivation" of SAP's acquisition of Business Objects was to create a collaborative platform for BI. "In the next year or two, we're going to see new kinds of scorecards to get a sense of opinion in some very intuitive ways," he says.


This type of talk seems to confirm what we've been saying all along: Web 2.0 works better in the enterprise than in the world-at-large.

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